Shropshire Star

How a Netflix series has led to a 'boom' in young chess players in Shropshire

The organiser of a new chess tournament for young people has said interest in the game has "boomed" thanks to hit Netflix mini-series The Queen's Gambit.

The Queen's Gambit was released in 2020

Christopher Lewis, head of junior chess for the Shropshire Chess Association, is launching a new county championship for primary schools.

He says that chess is currently "booming" among young people across Shropshire - all thanks due to The Queen's Gambit.

The series, which was released in 2020, stars Anya Taylor-Joy as an orphaned chess prodigy who is on a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.

And it is spurring lots of young people to take up the cerebral board game, said Christopher.

"At the moment, chess is absolutely booming," he said Christopher.

"It is all coming off the back of The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. That is why there is so many new players getting interested in the game. It has had an unbelievable impact."

Christopher, who plays for Newport Chess Club and runs clubs and tournaments across Shropshire, is starting a new tournament this month thanks to the renewed interest in the game.

The Shropshire Primary Schools Chess Championship is open to all primary schools in the county.

He said the tournament will feature four "zonal" heats in four areas of Shropshire, with the first being held in Telford's Hadley Learning Centre on Tuesday, November 28 between 2pm and 5pm.

Similar heats are set to be held in Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire with the winners invited to take part in a grand final after Christmas.

"Entries are still open," said Mr Christopher. "And any primary school can enter. Each team consists of four players and schools may enter more than one team.

"There will be a trophy for the gran final winner," he added. "It is actually quite special as it is from Alan Shaw, my old chess teacher who inspired me 20 years ago to play. He taught me and many other juniors so I am picking up where he left off."

Any school interested in entering the Shropshire Primary Schools Chess Championship should visit

* In chess, The Queen's Gambit is a move designed to secure control of the centre of the board. It involves white sacrificing a queen-side pawn, hence the name.