Netflix's The Queen's Gambit became one of the biggest hits of 2020 clocking in at 1.4 billion minutes viewed globally, no doubt probably the best television series about chess of all time. The limited series created by Scott Frank and Allan Scott follows the life of Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, an orphan who grows up to be a prodigy taking the chess world by storm during the Cold War since its premiere in October. Due to the show's popularity, interest in chess surged and according to Chess.com, so has cheating according to a report found in The Wall Street Journal via Business Insider.
Chess.com, which tracks algorithms for fair play, closed over 18,000 accounts. "The recent wave of new players who have discovered their passion for chess on Chess.com since The Queen's Gambit's release has been truly humbling for us," wrote Nick Barton, Director of Business Development at Chess.com, in an email to Business Insider. "We will continue to evolve our fair play technology to ensure that Chess.com remains the top destination to play and learn chess for players of all skill levels."
Goliath Games, which supplies chess sets to Wal-mart saw sales increase over 1,000 percent, according to NPR. Chess.com also reported record signups every day in November. The craze behind the game even caught the New York Times, which published a guide to creating an origami set to use at home. The algorithms used in Chess.com locate patterns from players and isolates them from what popular chess bots recommend to make sure users are consistent. "Developing effective fair play detection methods is a complicated process. Chess.com uses proprietary technology combined with many years of expertise as well as a significant investment of time and resources to create a safe and fair playing environment for our members," Barton said. The Queen's Gambit, which also stars Chloe Pirrie, Bill Camp, Marcin Dorocinski, and Marielle Heller, is available to stream on Netflix.