3.05. Chess in the movies

Chess in the movies 


The Miracle of the Chess Business


By dramatising the fictional fate of a young chess prodigy in conservative 1960s America, Netflix has not only smashed its audience records. “The Queen’s Game” has become the best ally of the makers of the 64-square board.

“For the past three weeks, we can talk about an explosion of orders”, says a manager of a chess shop.

The single season (seven episodes in total) has been seen by over 62 million households worldwide and is the most popular series in 63 countries.


 “It’s a good time and a great introduction to the world of chess even if the series has some inaccuracies or shortcuts inherent in fiction. In reality, the tempo is much slower, the moves do not follow each other with the same speed. Chess is the possibility to settle down, to play in a reflective way”, says the shopkeeper affiliated to a chess circle.


An advisor named Kasparov


For the sake of realism and in order not to make any mistakes that would have made the “wood pushers” jump, the production has surrounded itself with the former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, from whom the main actress borrows her gestures down to the smallest detail. A professionalism that is not surprising from the big American studios, which know the entertainment business better than anyone. 


But the platform with 200 million subscribers has not only broken audience records, it has also succeeded in arousing interest in a game that is reputedly demanding and that most viewers know nothing about.

On Gifts-custopolis.com you will find an assortment of chess sets, wooden chess game that will appeal to young and old, to enthusiasts but also to amateurs, to experts and beginners, to travellers or sedentary players 

An unexpected feat that delighted retailers. 

“I found myself out of stock very quickly after the series went online,” says the manager of a chess shop.

All generations


The rush to play checkerboard involves all generations, beginners or not. 

“There are also customers who played at one time and want to get back into the game. I see older people who want to introduce their grandchildren to the game, but also young couples, teenagers or parents who come with their young children.


People are not only interested in the object, but also in the advice and learning methods. 

“The sector has a plethora of books, from the most basic to the most learned. According to the American research firm, NPD Group, sales of chess books rose by 603% in the three weeks following the broadcast of the episodes.


On the web, the tornado hit with the same intensity. Chess.com, the leading online chess site with 47 million members, has registered a fivefold increase in registrations since the arrival of the providential saga. More than 100.000 new members have been joining every day since mid-November. Chess aficionados can even play against a bot of Beth Harmon, the heroine of the series.


A side effect of COVID.


However, the craze is not only due to the VOD mirage. The population, deprived of its usual leisure activities since the health crisis, has naturally turned to indoor games, which are experiencing a significant increase. Puzzle, Mikado, chess: same battle. 

For the FEFB, the French-speaking chess federation of Belgium, the benefits of this globalised craze are still difficult to measure. The clubs closed because of the spread of the Coronavirus have not yet been able to benefit from the media phenomenon. However, the association would not be opposed to a ray of sunshine that would warm up the statistics, which have been stable for years. The Belgian federation has 5,400 members for the whole country, two thirds of whom are Dutch-speaking. Flanders also has the highest number of circles, with four times as many as in Wallonia. Like the successful fiction, the place of women remains very much in the minority. Barely 4% of adult chess players are women. Is this a reflection of the prevailing sexism that discourages the most ambitious? “Female players deplore a certain machismo but in the milieu, no one will dare to speak frankly about it, confides an arbiter. For some players, being beaten by a woman is felt as a humiliation.


Belgian Grandmasters


In this universe where kings have ousted queens, Belgium is ranked 45th in the world according to the FIDE, the international chess federation. An honourable score which places us ahead of Finland but far behind Armenia which, despite its 3 million inhabitants, is a real factory of virtuosos.


“In Belgium, there are eight grandmasters,” says Christian Henrotte, the FEFB president.

Grand Master? The most prestigious of distinctions that rewards world-class competitors.


At the international level, it is the Russian federations that assert their domination. A tradition that dates back to the Cold War, as Netflix suggests? Not really. It was precisely in 1924, when the Soviet party took control of chess organisations, that the USSR transformed the game into an ideological battle. Every good communist will henceforth be a good chess player.


The great masters include: Botvinnik, Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky…


Anatoli Karpov and Garry Kasparov became the new masters of the chessboard in the mid-1980s. The enemy brothers (USA-USSR) are the first chess stars whose fame equals that of NBA basketball players. A golden age which naturally saw the prize money soar. In 1990, the 2 Ks shared a prize money of 3 million dollars during the world championship held in New York. This sum has never been reached again and is now limited to 1 million dollars.

“In Belgium, beyond the five or six players in the ranking, one cannot live from one’s passion”, regrets a chess specialist. What is missing in this discipline to seduce brands? Certainly a posture, a “cool attitude”.  The 64 squares would be reserved for an elite with an IQ well above the average.


A cliché that should be discarded like a bishop discards a pawn. “Chess is often portrayed as a hyper-cerebral activity. This is not false, but I have met many seven or eight year olds who play chess with great pleasure and who do not see the austerity that people want to attribute to this game,” says Laurent Lienart. But to progress, it requires, at some point, perseverance. This is what the series shows.


Buy a chess game, chess games gifts, chess gift ideas, funny chess gifts you will find many chess sets at different prices that will please the youngest as well as the oldest on our sales site Gifts-custopolis.com





Trends-tendances: le miracle du “chess business” 10-12-2020



Denis Hanchar Original and classic gifts during every event of the year

  • Travel chess games – €6.90
    on 3 December 2023 at 21 h 06 min

    Progressively the movement of certain pieces is modified and, with a few details, all the really significant rules of the game (in particular the optional advance of the P, the prise en passant, the promotion and the castling) are acquired at the end of the XVth century. From Spain, the chess scepter passed to Italy (16th and 17th centuries), then to France (18th century), Great Britain and Germany (19th and early 20th century).  Since the Second World War, for men, it has been the almost permanent property of the Soviet Union and then of Russia, whose supremacy, over a period of sixty years, was only really broken by the American Bobby Fischer (1972-1975). Before the Second World War, the best player in the world, Vera Menchik-Stevenson, was British. From the creation of a women’s world championship in 1949 until the disappearance of the USSR, the crowned champions (L. Rudenko, E. Bykova, O. Rubtsova, N. Gaprindashvili, M. Tchibourdanitzé and their rivals, K. Zvorikina, N. Alexandria, N. Iosséliani and E. Akhmilovskaya) were all Soviets. In the following years, players of other origins, such as the Chinese Xie Jun, Zhu Chen, Xuhua, the Hungarian-American Susan Polgar, the Bulgarian Antonoeta Stefanova, would appear. A list of famous men interested and sometimes passionate about chess would include hundreds of names. We can only quote those of whom we have very good games: J.-J. Rousseau, A. de Musset, Tolstoy, Meyrinck, Lewis Carroll, Lenin, Piatigorsky, D. Oistrakh, S. Prokofiev, M. Duchamp, V. Nabokov, John Paul II.

  • Giant Wooden Dice Set – €8.90
    on 3 December 2023 at 21 h 06 min

    Dice are used in many games. The best known are played with 2 dice like Craps, with 3 dice like 421 or with 5 dice like Yahtzee or Yams. Reiner Knizia, a world-renowned German game designer, reports that he has found 150 different dice games, which he explains in his book Dice Games Properly. Dice were found in the Indus civilisation in 2400 BC. Dice identical to those we know today have been found, with 6 sides and 6 small holes. Generally cubic with 6 sides usually numbered from 1 to 6 and therefore the values of the opposite sides is equal to 7. Dice have also been used as objects of divination. The Greeks claimed to be the originators of dice. According to Sophocles, the dice were invented by Palamedes, a Greek hero in Troy during the siege. Archaeologists have found dice in Troy. Ancient Greek vases also show Trojan war heroes playing dice. However, the dice we offer are larger than usual. These giant dice will please many players, both young and old. These dice are therefore perfect as birthday presents or as gifts for a party with friends. An original wooden game gift, to learn many dice games and have hours of fun.

  • Tile coaster with adult birthday label for personalization – €9.90
    on 3 December 2023 at 21 h 06 min

    Please note: the dimensions of the tiles may vary slightly from the product presentation images. Tiles Buy unusual and original kdo tiles, incomparable and unique personalized surprises, funny or unique gifts all is possible from Gifts-custopolis-gifts.com  The term “tiling” originally referred to the laying of tiles and then, by metonymy, to the result of this act. It then refers to a floor or wall covering made of ceramic tiles – terracotta tiles, earthenware tiles, stoneware tiles (often called porcelain stoneware) – or marble or cement tiles or vinyl tiles. These different types of tiles are laid side by side and then glued or sealed. Tiles are commonly used to finish and decorate floors and walls in homes and other buildings, both indoors and outdoors. In construction, tiling is done by the tiler. Tiles are usually thin, square or rectangular tiles made of durable materials such as ceramic, stone, metal, terracotta or even glass. They are usually set in a grid to cover roofs, floors, walls, edges or other objects such as table tops.  A tile to personalise is smart and on Gifts-custopolis.com. Personalise with a photo, a work of art, or a Mother’s Day label, a Father’s Day label, … so it’s unique.

  • Mask to personalise with tribal design – €9.90
    on 3 December 2023 at 21 h 06 min

    In Europe, just a few months ago, wearing masks in Japan seemed very exotic. At the beginning of the pandemic in Europe, when masks were scarce and were available at prohibitive prices, many of the citizens, generally the most agile with their hands, made protective masks in a very artisanal way. They were often made with whatever they could get their hands on, without really being sure they had the right technique, nor the right fabric, and the motifs of the masks were of little importance. Sometimes fanciful or even plain without a soul. Today, the price of masks has fallen sharply. With the mask we offer you at a democratic price you will have an authentic protective mask and a design that brings out your personality, your identity, thanks to a graphic like a tribal tattoo. Behind its abstract designs and complex lines the tribal motifs were created thousands of years ago.  They evoke the elements of nature (earth, fire, water, air, ocean, sun), animals (turtles, lizards, shark teeth), each with its own symbolism. Power, eternity, purity, immunity, fertility, the values carried by these tattoos are numerous. Ancestral and religious practice at the beginning to become today a fashion phenomenon through the subjects of the tattoos. Ideal gift to emphasize or bring out the ornaments, the motives which enthuse you..

  • Mask to personalise with an animal muzzle – €9.90
    on 3 December 2023 at 21 h 06 min

    Throughout history, masks made of pig bladders with crow heads have been seen during major pandemics. Today you can personalise the mask you buy with the muzzle of a pet or why not a tiger. During periods of plague, masks with the shape of a bird’s beak were made for doctors with medicinal plants that were supposed to kill the various infections attributed to the epidemics. The models of the masks have never ceased to be revisited in an attempt to improve them. Archive photos show that the miners wore masks to protect them from all the flying and suspended dust during their activities at the bottom of the mine. Around 1850, medical masks appeared. Charles Urbain Bricogne, a French engineer, developed a mask to protect against dust, dust which was dangerous to the health of railway employees.  At the dawn of the 20th century, the occupants of the tanks were obliged to put on a mask to protect themselves from the paint and iron debris coming from the walls due to the consequences of shell and bullet impacts.  Today, multiple means of protection are used: visor or face screen. These are systems already in use in various sectors of activity whose common aim is to protect against all types of projections. Visor used in metallurgy, welding, etc. Masks to be personalised with the muzzle of an animal, dog, cat, tiger, an indispensable gift for those who care about the health of their loved ones. Gift for him, gift for her, gift for mum, gift for dad fun gift     

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