Chess-board maker reports brisk sales after Queen's Gambit cameo

Anya Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit.
Anya Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit. PHOTO: NETFLIX

LA GARRIGA (Spain) •A Spanish chess-board maker discovered by chance that its products played a cameo role in hit Netflix series The Queen's Gambit (2020) and its sales have since soared.

"One day, I came into work and a colleague, Miguel, told me that Netflix had released a new series, The Queen's Gambit, and some Rechapados Ferrer boards appeared in the trailer," said Mr David Ferrer, 30, who runs Rechapados Ferrer.

The series, based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, debuted in October last year and fast became a hit.

It follows orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon as she takes on the male-dominated world of chess.

A triumphant finale takes her to Moscow to play one of the Soviet Union's star players. It is in this pivotal scene that the distinctive chess board takes centre stage.

Viewers have been keen to buy a piece of the action, boosting sales which were already on the rise due to demand linked to strict Covid-19 lockdowns.

The company based in La Garriga, near Barcelona, has already doubled its annual orders from about 22,000 last year to 45,000 this year and has now moved further orders to next year.

"Orders of chess boards have skyrocketed," said Mr Ferrer, whose grandfather founded the company in the 1950s.

"This year is full in terms of production."

He told Reuters the board that appears in the finale has become one of the most requested, but is so far available only through one German distributor.

It was through it that the series - much of which was filmed in Berlin - got the boards.

But with demand booming and chess more popular than ever, Mr Ferrer said the company might try to sell the board through other channels too.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2021, with the headline Chess-board maker reports brisk sales after Queen's Gambit cameo. Subscribe