There are many reasons for the popularity of chess. I depicted them in depth in the blog post 76 and 77 on my website. Here now a very, very short version. Chess is so popular, because it is a multidimensional phenomenon, which caters to all kinds of different people with different interests. Of course it is a game or entertainment, but also a sport or a competition. Then, it is a science, a quest for the truth. But it is also an art, where creativity and aesthetics play an important role.
Here, the question arises: What is aesthetic in chess? My brief answer: Everything what is good and therefore obeys the laws of chess, as this is what art is about: the manifestation or objectification of abstract natural principles. As we are natural beings, everything which is pure, undistorted and in line with nature resonates in us and creates a feeling of harmony and well-being.
My next question would be: What is extraordinarily aesthetic in chess? Answer: Sublime harmony. Or in other words: Moves, which on the surface violate the laws of chess, but celebrate them on a higher level. This is how artists compose their creations. First there has to be some kind tension or dissonance, caused by rule-breaking of some sorts. When the tension finally gets released or misconception explained, the aesthetic pleasure is immense, as the distance from negative to positive is bigger than from neutral to positive. In chess there are all kinds of special moves and tricks which are easily overlooked in games and pleasant to look at when presented. One of these moves is the fantastic Bh6 trick.