The chess world is still reeling from the death of its most beloved grandmaster, Garry Kasparov, and it’s hard to see how the sport will ever recover from his passing.
But there are reasons to be optimistic about chess’s future.
The game has been in a prolonged slump since its 2010 peak, when it surpassed the popularity of football and baseball.
Many people have started to take chess seriously again, and the number of new chess tournaments is on the rise.
And it’s become easier to find online chess tournaments than ever before.
The chess-playing population has rebounded from a record low of just under 9 million in 2013 to 11.4 million in 2018.
That’s still well below the peak of around 22 million in 2011, but it’s a huge increase from a decade ago, when the sport was barely in the news.
This is a trend that’s going to continue, because it’s so much fun to play chess, says Chris Sorensen, CEO of Chessbase, a global chess platform that connects players and fans.
The platform connects players, hosts online tournaments and allows viewers to vote for their favorite players.
For many people, it’s the first step in getting into the game, says Sorenesen, who says chess was the first sport to embrace social media.
The next step, he says, will be to make the game more accessible to people who don’t play.
“We’re at a point where if you’re not playing the game professionally, it may not be something that you think about.
I’m not talking about professional tournaments,” he says.
“I’m talking about just casual games, where you’re playing chess in the park, or in a coffee shop or wherever.
The next step is to make chess accessible to everyone.”
That will require more social networking sites.
The sport has had plenty of social-media buzz recently.
In September, the World Chess Federation announced it would start allowing chess fans to follow each other on Twitter and Facebook.
And in December, the European Chess Federation launched a program that allows fans to vote in competitions and even vote on the finalist.
“It’s a good sign for the future,” says Sirensen.
“But we’re still in the early days.”
In the meantime, Chessbase offers online tournaments where spectators can vote for a tournament’s champion and players, and can watch live videos of the games.
The company also has a dedicated chess section on Facebook, where fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at tournaments and other events.
It also hosts weekly tournaments on the site.
For Soreysen, the biggest change chess has made in the past 10 years is the move toward online tournaments.
The first online tournament took place in 2011 and attracted an estimated 2 million spectators.
That number dropped to just 3.3 million in 2015.
Soren says the popularity has continued to rise, though, with tournaments in more than 50 countries.
“The internet is a big part of chess,” he adds.
“It’s one of the key pieces that keeps the game going.
And the more people can play the game online, the more they’ll want to.”
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