Only 7% of people know the name of the current world chess champion

Magnus Carlsen, the current world chess champion, stunned fans earlier this week when he announced that he will not be defending his title in the next game and will effectively retire from the championship cycle (but not from chess).

Photo: World Chess

YouGov, the leading research company and FIDE Online Arena, the official gaming platform of the International Chess Federation, conducted a survey in the United States and United Kingdom to determine how many people know the name of the world champion and what country he is from. The survey results were surprising, only 7% of respondents in the UK (9% in the US) could correctly choose the name of the world champion from 10 options. 4% of all respondents incorrectly said the title was still held by Garry Kasparov, who retired from competitive chess in 2005, while 77% said they didn’t know the name of the current one world champion.

The results were similar when asked where the champion was from, with 6% of respondents correctly stating that the champion was from Norway, while 15% incorrectly thought the current champion was from Russia and 5% thought that the champion came from the United States. United States (the last American world chess champion was Bobby Fischer in 1972).

The survey also offered remarkable insight into the demographics of chess; 14% of young adults (18-24) correctly named the World Chess Champion compared to 4% among older respondents (55+). According to these results, chess is apparently more popular among young people in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The inaugural report, the first official barometer of chess awareness, will be released annually to measure the awareness and popularity of elite chess players and the world chess champion.

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