Popularity of Chess on the Internet

The rise of the internet has caused widespread sharing of information and trends that had traditionally been centered in certain areas. Chess is no exception. Though chess has maintained a constant popularity worldwide for the last several centuries, the always helpful Google Trends gives as an interesting, and perhaps unexpected, look at the number of chess queries over the past six years or so. One of the most surprising things about these searches is the inclusion or exclusion of certain countries. Russia, for instance, who dominated the chess field for several decades in the twentieth century, isn’t even on the top ten list of countries where “chess” is most commonly searched, while the Russian language is only ninth on the list of languages in which “chess” is most commonly searched, though there is certainly a good representation in the Nordic and Slavic areas. There are a few explanations for this trend however: it is quite possible that the popularity in internet trends reflects more a popularity among a younger generation, excluding popularity among older generations, or that the exclusion of some countries could reflect higher accessibility to chess clubs where chess is played in person, and less accessibility to internet chess resources. Overall, however, Google Trends shows an undeniable drop over the past six years in searches relating to chess, with just a few spikes along the way. The most recent data shows that chess queries are the most unpopular they’ve ever been, for as long as Google Trends has been keeping records. That said, there are clearly a number of countries who are still gaga for chess, and their dominance is chess queries on Google is clearly shown.

1. Philippines

With the fifth highest population of countries in the world, the Philippines only narrowly edged out India for the number one country where the most “chess” searches come from. Additionally, Tagalog, one of the more common languages of the Philippines, is the number one language in which said chess inquiries are entered.

2. India

India has the second highest number of chess related queries of any country, while Delhi, India holds the top place as city with the highest number of chess searches. Because of the wide variety of languages spoken in India, no exclusively Indian language makes the top ten languages in which chess is most commonly searched, though Arabic is a distant eighth.

3. Norway

Norway is the third highest country in terms of the number of chess searches, while Oslo is the second highest city. Norwegian also takes second in languages in which chess queries are most commonly made.

4. United States

While the United States actually comes in ninth in terms of countries from which chess queries come, English is the third most commonly used language to search chess. This could be because of the wide number of English speaking countries (South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand also make the top ten list), but it is important to know that five of the top ten cities from which chess queries most commonly come are in the United States.

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