The biggest chess showdown on the planet is generating a lot of interest in St. Louis, even though the games are being played half-a-world away.
St. Louis resident Fabiano Caruana is challenging defending champion Magnus Carlsen in the world championship match. The event started Friday and the two will play at least 12 games through Nov. 28.
“It’s really a big deal,” Tony Rich, St. Louis Chess Club executive director, said. “This is the first time an American has played for the undisputed world championship title in the past 40 years.”
Bobby Fischer claimed that title in the 1970s, and Rich thinks Caruana could make a similar impact, if he wins.
“Whenever you have an American that actually holds the World Championship crown, I think you’ll notice a lot more school children playing the game,” he said. “Our hope is that one day that chess will become a conversation that everybody can have and everybody can recognize the world champion.”
The local club is jumping on the Fabiano bandwagon, so to speak.
It is producing a live, online broadcast during every game and includes analysis from experts in a St. Louis studio. It’s part of an effort to make chess more popular, while filling a need many chess fans have to follow the action in real-time.
Both Carlsen and Caruana have plenty of St. Louis matches on their resumes.
The Norwegian won the prestigious Sinquefield Cup in 2013, while the local favorite won the St. Louis-based competition in 2014.
The two were among three players who shared the tournament title this year.
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