Near Future of Chess and Why should Magnus Carlsen retain World Chess Title
No favourites here. Fabiano Caruana seems to be a great guy, a really kind person, one of the great chess players of our time. Surely, he would be an exemplary ambassador of our royal game, a true gentleman of the chess world. But that’s not enough. Not now.
Mr Magnus Carlsen has achieved what no other player could since the myth of Robert James Fischer. The Norwegian has stretched the fame of chess over the world more than anyone in the last five decades. And this is not a small fact.
World Chess Match organizer Ilya Merenzon has claimed that over 600 million people play chess regularly.
Maybe, just maybe, this is an exaggeration. Sure, I don’t have THE numbers. But no matter where you go it’s not that easy to stumble upon a guy who enjoys a couple of fresh beers and a fairly good game of chess. Let’s just put that number in the middle and assume that 300 million human beings know how to move those wooden pieces. That’s a big number.
Indeed, 300 million people it’s the kind of market you would enjoy for your business. Well, I’m certain that if there’s one guy able to stoke all those hot souls that’s the golden boy Magnus Carlsen (don’t forget he’s just a half-half-century old). He has amply proven this being image of important brands, showing up in great TV shows, offering exciting exhibitions all over the world and more than all showing off his unmatchable desire to be the best and only one.
Not that Mr Caruana couldn’t fulfil all this. Maybe he splendidly can, but in my opinion, he hasn’t got the personality capable of building a bigger chess world over his shoulders. I’m aware this is a really big statement, but I invite you to consider some aspects.
If you’re still reading this you’re quite engaged in chess. Let me ask you some questions. How many grandmaster websites do you know? How many apps belonging to Grandmasters? Do you remember famous interviews between chess players and world-famed personalities? All these answers invoke the name of Magnus Carlsen and through him millions watching.
Sure, nowadays there are many chess masters posting on Twitch or YouTube. Many many more than a few years ago. Have you considered the possibility that this chess bloom is due to more people joining the pleasure of the royal game? All of these chess newbies are not here because of Merenzon or the Chessbrahs, they’re here because they heard about chess on a TV show or they saw a beautiful woman on a chess-related campaign —haven’t you?
Magnus Carlsen has increased the popularity of chess and that’s the reason why many more masters are broadcasting online. Of course, this is all good news. The quality of some publications are really high and that only reinforces the publicity of our game.
OK, it’s not all just about those cold numbers. Chess is a marvellous art (game, sport?). Two great players are going to fight tooth and nail for the title and we spectators have our tickets secured.
Just like you, I’m anxious to see how it all this match issue goes. Undeniably, Caruana won his spot with a spectacular performance at the Candidates. I believe he’s a timely contender, not the favourite let me say, but a great contender, a tough one.
Definitely, the World Champion has hard work in the days to come. But for the overall good of chess, I suggest Magnus Carlsen retain World Chess Title and improve even more his own publicity. All in all, that’s just good enough for both: the Norwegian and Chess.