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DL Townes v Beth Harmon, Queen’s Gambit, 2020 (See diagram)

Chess-playing websites all credit a pair of factors for the phenomenal growth in activity over the last two years: the worldwide pandemic and the popularity of The Queen’s Gambit series on Netflix.

The world’s most active site,, has more than 75 million members, including 2.3 million in Canada. Every day about four million people sign in.

White has just played 1.Rxh6. What does Beth Harmon as Black do?The Globe and Mail

“More than half our members have joined just this last year,” says Laura Nystrom, spokesperson for the Los Angeles-based website. While one quarter of all its members are in the U.S., India accounts for eight per cent followed by the U.K. at five per cent, Brazil at 3.5 and Canada at 3.2.

Nystrom says that at its peak, the site featured more than 11 million games a day with as many as 600,000 concurrent players.

Another interesting trend is that female participation has gone from 24 per cent pre-pandemic, to 34 per cent.

Millions of other players are engaging every day on a variety of other platforms, including Lichess, Chess24, Playchess and many more. That’s not surprising, since even in pre-pandemic days it was estimated that more than 600 million people worldwide played chess.

Answer: 1. … Kg7! 2.Rh5 Kg6 and no matter where the Rook goes, it is lost.