Will Chess Ever Be as Popular as Poker?

Definitely, says Anatoly Karpov, if marketed correctly. That’s why the Russian grandmaster wants to run FIDE, the World Chess Federation.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: How popular can chess become?

Anatoly Karpov: First I can say that 20 years ago, chess was much more popular than poker, and so if poker can make such progress we can’t deny that chess could make also progress and become popular as it was before.

Question:
Why should children play chess?
 

Anatoly Karpov: Chess can develop very important characteristics, individual characteristics.  First of all, chess develops logic, memory, and then with chess you can easily understand the necessity of plan.  then you can learn how to make strategy, which is important for normal life, for any profession and that’s why chess is entering school programs in many countries because teachers realize that with help of chess you can give this knowledge much easier than with the help of other subjects.

Question:
Why do you want to lead the World Chess Federation?
 

Anatoly Karpov: So this is a unique opportunity now to change the, change the situation. And chess is in danger as profession and so federation which is lacking now in leadership and so they made many mistakes and so now we have feeling that professional chess players have difficulties in financing and such prizes going down and then it’s difficult to keep this profession.  And, internationally, we have a very good situation now because we have grandmaster, Magus Carson from Norway who is one of the best chess players and most probably he will be next world champion, and then we have, we have American player, Hikaru Nakamura, who is also on the top, and then we have Sergey Karjakin in Russia, and then we have good players in China, in Holland, in India, and so it... and then Indian grandmaster, Vishy Anand, he just defended his title in match in Sofia against Bulgarian player, Topalov, and so he’s world champion for many years already and then this is very international view.  And chess, from a time it was just privilege of mostly Soviet players, and later Russian players, but now it became very international so it gives a lot of opportunities.  And these opportunities could be used with new team and I will have top professional team representing, of course different parts of the world.

Recorded on May 17, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman