The other day a thought randomly came to my mind, who is the greatest current chess player in the world? I had no idea, and the last great chess player I could even remember was Garry Kasparov, mostly because of his famous match against the computer Deep Blue in the 90s. However, since then I hadn’t paid much attention to chess and assumed the current greatest chess player was most likely a middle-aged man from some former Soviet country. I was pleasently suprised to learn the top ranked Grandmaster is actually a brash 22 year old Norwegian named Magnus Carlsen. He apparently is rather famous, making over a million dollars in winnings and endorsements, and being featured in the New York Times and 60 Minutes. Going by pure statistics, he is the greatest Grandmaster of all-time with a rating of 2872. He is also the first player from a Western country to be ranked number one since Bobby Fischer.
While Carlsen is currently the top ranked Grandmaster, he is not the World Champion. That title is held by a 43 year old Indian player named Viswanathan Anand. Anand is nicknamed the ‘Tiger of Madras’ and has held the championship for six years. Recently, Carlsen won a tournament that will allow him to play Anand for the World Championship in the fall. This match-up is gigantic in the chess world, and various world cities are bidding for the chance to hold the match, including New York, Miami, Paris, Tromso, and Chennai. Tromso is in Norway and Chennai is in India, so might give one of the players a distinct home field advatage.
I don’t usually follow chess matches, but this match-up actually interests me. I personally would love for it to happen in New York, and hopefully expose more Americans to the world of chess. It should also definitively answer the question of who is the greatest current chess player in the world.