Who could have predicted this before 2020, de chess queen What about the resurgence of chess as esports? Chess.com, the world’s number one online chess platform, was named to Time’s 2023 list of the 100 Most Influential Companies.
The site, founded in 2005 by college friends Eric Elbest and Jay Severson, has found its way into an impressive list, available here. Chess.com is included in the “disruptive” list along with Nvidia, Canva, Duolingo, Open AI, and Discord. Kim Kardashian on the cover:
Inside, Quote praises Chess.com for its “clever and often humorous marketing strategy” and notes how much the site has grown into the youth market.
About this accolade Eric put it this way: “Over the past 17 years we have been focused on our mission of serving to grow the chess community. To be recognized this much is a huge and flattering honor. It has the power to change and improve lives, and I’m so happy to see that Time has recognized that.”
Chess has the power to change and improve lives, and I am very pleased to see that Time has recognized this.
-Eric Elbest, CEO of Chess.com.
Chess.com, and chess in general, has had a surprising surge in popularity this year that has propelled the game right up the app charts.
Chess.com has been ranked #1 on both Google Play and the iOS App Store for the United States multiple times. In May, the number of Chess.com users exceeded 140 million worldwide, a 355% increase from January 2020, with approximately 150,000 new users registering per day. The platform maintained over 57 million monthly active users and approximately 840 million monthly games, a 550% increase from January 2020. Chess.com is the 114th most visited site on the Internet.
As indicated by every single metric, the numbers are skyrocketing – they even caused an embarrassing outage earlier this year when Chess.com’s servers were overwhelmed with traffic.
The list of chess-loving celebrities who have recently said they play it is practically a litmus test of popular culture. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Howard Stern, Will Smith, Ben Affleck, Woody Harrelson…the list goes on.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is very serious about chess, and his son-in-law Chris Pratt has yet to beat him! ♟ https://t.co/Y4xHwSq2dp
– Xtra TV (@extratv, May 21, 2023
Translation: Arnold Schwarzenegger is very serious about chess, and his son-in-law Chris Pratt still hasn’t beat him! – Xtra TV
The game of chess has apparently become so popular in school classrooms that some Utah school districts have even banned the use of Chess.com. The New York Times also wrote about Chess.com, The Stealth Campaign That’s Getting Your Kids Hooked on Chess.
“We can’t apologize for trying to make chess so popular!” Eric said. “This is what we have always aimed for and we work hard every day to develop the game.”
Two college mates, Eric and Jay, purchased the Chess.com domain for $55,000 in 2005 with the goal of creating the best online chess community in the world. Following the acquisition of Play Magnus Group last year, Chess.com now has over 650 remote employees.
Its ecosystem includes CheesKid, a site dedicated to children; Learn chess with Dr Wolf, ChessBase, Chess24, AIMchess, the entire Play Magnus App group and Magnus Chess Academy.