A show about an orphaned chess prodigy living with addiction doesn’t exactly have all the hallmarks of a breakout hit, but The Queen’s Gambit has been watched by 62 million accounts.
Netflix’s breakout hit about chess, The Queen’s Gambit, is the service’s most watched limited series ever, the company said Monday. Based on Netflix’s own yardstick for measuring popularity (see below…), The Queen’s Gambit has been watched by 62 million households in its first four weeks of release. A limited series is a show that typically has only one season.
By comparison, that’s nearly as many as The Irishman, Netflix’s $159 million period epic about the Mafia directed by Martin Scorsese, and Tiger King, its viral docuseries this spring.
Netflix attributed the sensation around The Queen’s Gambit for other viral chess trends, according to Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s vice president of original series, in a blog post. The novel that’s the basis for the show is on the The New York Times bestseller list 37 years after its release; Google searches for chess have doubled, and searches for “how to play chess” have hit a nine-year peak; interest in chess sets on eBay is up 250%, and Goliath Games said its chess sales have increased over 170%; and the number of new players on chess.com has increased five-fold.