A recent survey, conducted by YouGov and World Chess, examining the popularity of chess, found that only 3% of Germans could correctly identify the current Chess World Champion.
Despite an estimated 19 million regular and casual players in Germany, the survey showed that only 3% of those surveyed could correctly name China’s Ding Liren as the current champion after he took the title from Norway’s Magnus Carlsen earlier this year. The survey also observed that 10% believed that Carlsen still held the world champion title.
At the same time, a staggering 65% of survey participants stated that they simply did not know the current champion’s name, a further indication that elite-level chess still carries a relatively low profile compared to other sports.
The survey by research company YouGov and World Chess found that awareness in the UK was even lower, with only 2% able to correctly identify the current World Chess Champion, whilst, similarly to in Germany, 9% thought it was Magnus Carlsen.
Similar trends were observed when respondents were asked about the Champion’s country of origin. Only 7% of respondents in the UK and 3% in Germany correctly identified China as the Champion’s home country, while 16% in the UK and 11% in Germany erroneously believed the current Champion was from Russia. Norway followed closely, with 8% of respondents in the UK and 10% in Germany incorrectly assuming the Champion hailed from there. These findings indicate a persistent misconception among a growing percentage of individuals who continue to associate the World Champion with Magnus Carlsen.
Another finding in the survey suggests that chess appears to be more popular among the younger generation of both the UK and Germany. Notably, 7% of respondents aged 18 to 24 correctly named the World Chess Champion, compared to only 1% among those aged 55 and above.
Commenting on the findings, Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive Officer of World Chess, said: “The data shows that chess, despite its popularity, is still a startup and is phenomenally promising for us and other chess companies.
‘We are focused on reinventing the sport for the lifestyle audience, investing in educational initiatives, engaging with communities, and celebrating all things chess. Our goal is to create an inclusive environment where every player, regardless of their experience, can find enjoyment in this centuries-old sport. We are also excited to establish environments, both online and offline, where chess fans can come together and enjoy each other’s company. ‘