Magnus Carlsen Is Not Saving Chess

Miami-born challenger Fabiano Caruana during a press conference after the first round of the World Chess Championship in London.Fredrik Varfjell/Bildbyran via ZUMA

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The World Chess Championship is currently being played in London, pitting Magnus Carlsen, the three-time defending champion from Norway, against Fabiano Caruana, the challenger from the United States. The fourth game ended in a draw a couple of hours ago, just like all the games so far. The tournament score is 2-2.

Right now chess has a lot going for it. Carlsen is an affable, young, insanely talented prodigy. Caruana is even younger and is the first American to play for the world championship since you-know-who. But that doesn’t seem to be doing it any good.

Google Trends is hardly the final statement on what people do and don’t care about, but it sure seems to suggest that chess is becoming even less popular than it used to be:

Worldwide, interest in chess is perhaps eroding even more quickly than it is in the United States. Even in Norway interest has slackened since Carlsen won his first world championship in 2013. In Russia, interest has cratered since the era of endless Russian dominance ended about a decade ago. The only country where it seems to be on an upswing is China, for reasons that escape me.

Anyway, the fifth game will be played Thursday at 10 am Eastern if you want to watch over the internet. Caruana will be playing white.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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