Sports Round-Up: Netflix series sparks women’s chess boom … but not in Denmark

Meanwhile, Danish golfers excel and dropped footballers find new clubs

Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy, is the fictional lead in Netflix’s new miniseries ‘The Queen’s Gambit’.

Based on a short story by Walter Tevis, the show has been a hit around the world, sparking a meteoric rise in interest in the sport.

Surge in interest
The number of users on sites like and have increased seven-fold since the show was released at the end of October, according to the Guardian.

Increased figures are also due in part to the prominence of Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, who frequently streams his online games to fans across the world.

In more traditional forms, the International Chess Federation reports a 273 percent increase in eBay searches for chess boards.

Women wanted
With a female lead, there are hopes it might inspire more women to take up the sport, but it is here that Denmark lags behind.

Just 2 percent of the Danish Chess Union are women, and chair Poul Jacobsen struggles to understand how other countries support much higher participation rates.

“I simply do not know what they do differently. Maybe it’s about the mentality. Perhaps the Germans are more competitive. I do not know,” he told DR Sporten.

Dominated by men
Ellen Fredericia Nilssen is one of fewer than 100 Danish women who are active chess members – and also one of the most successful. She won the Danish Championship aged 15 and then last year’s U20 Nordic Championship.

She admits it is a shame more women aren’t involved in the sport, but stated to DR Sporten that “whether there are many men or many women does not really matter to me that much. I play chess to play chess.”

For Nilssen, the social side is just as important. In May she planned a women’s chess camp that was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, but she plans to hold it soon and believes that such initiatives are the key to encouraging more women into the sport.

Pedersen clinches second golfing victory in a week 
After years of crisis and disappointment, 24-year-old Emily Kristine Pedersen claimed victory in the Saudi Ladies Team International just days after winning the individual tournament. It marks her third win on the Ladies European Tour this year, making her a strong favourite to become the tour’s overall winner this year.

Danish NFL player not dropped for long
Just two days after being released by the New England Patriots, offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt has been picked up by the Houston Texans. At the weekend, his new team defeated his old club 27-20. Froholdt could make his debut as early as Thursday when the Texans play the Detroit Lions.

Strong finish secures victory in South Africa 
With nine holes to play, Danish golfer Joachim B Hansen was some way behind the leader at the Joburg Open in South Africa, but three birdies secured a fantastic comeback and the first European Tour title of his career on Sunday. “It’s very emotional. This is what I work for, and I know that the family has followed me from home,” he said in the aftermath.

Dalby wins gruelling UFC duel
After a close three rounds, Danish MMA fighter Nicolas ‘Lokomotivo’ Dalby was declared the winner, landing a unanimous decision in his fight against American fighter Daniel Rodriguez. It is the Dane’s 19th victory, with the fight appearing on the undercard before the night’s main showdown between Figueiredo and Perez.

Premier League beckons for clubless Dane
Arman Taranis played just two games for Sønderjyske before his contract was terminated six weeks ago by mutual agreement. Now, after a successful trial period, English top-flight club Burnley has signed the 19-year-old. Initially the striker will be registered for the club’s under-23 squad.

Government backs Denmark’s hosting of European Handball Championship
After lengthy discussions between the health authorities and the Danish Handball Federation over how a tournament can go ahead safely in coronavirus times, the government has agreed to lend its support to the event. Among other measures, all those involved in the tournament will have to isolate from the outside world from two weeks before the tournament starts until its very end.