The Queen's Gambit has become Netflix's biggest ever scripted limited series

The Queen's Gambit
(Image credit: Netflix)

When The Queen's Gambit first became available on Netflix, analysts questioned whether a series about a young woman who plays chess professionally would attract viewers. Well, the show quickly shot to the top of the Netflix charts and remained there for weeks on end. 

The streaming service has now revealed that The Queen's Gambit has become the most-watched limited series on Netflix to date. That means the Anya Taylor-Joy-starring show has beaten Jonah Hill and Emma Stone's Maniac, the Western series Godless, and the Toni Collette-led Unbelievable. Checkmate.

How did The Queen's Gambit manage such a feat? Well, Netflix is playing coy with their data. The streamer revealed that 63 million households watched the show within its first 28 days of being available. A play is when an account watches over 2 minutes worth of the first episode – so that's not necessarily the number of people who have finished it.

However, just to show the impact of the new series, the search term "How To Play Chess" has hit a nine-year peak, while the source material – Walter Tevis' novel of the same name – has launched back into The New York Times bestseller list, 37 years after its initial release.

We should note that Netflix carefully said that The Queen's Gambit is the most-watched "limited series" which means that the show will only last one season. Stranger Things, The Crown, and other big-hitters are not included here and have bigger audiences. Still, The Queen's Gambit has proven once and for all that chess can be cool. Kinda.

If you've finished The Queen's Gambit on Netflix, be sure to check out the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies available right now.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.