An obvious measure of the growth of chess is the dollar value placed on it.
In the throes of the Great Depression it was difficult to cash in on what were consummate chess skills.
If you were a strong player you might play an amateur eager for a challenge for as little as 10 cents or 25 cents a game on the boardwalk of Coney Island or at number of Brooklyn or Manhattan chess clubs. A couple of wins and you had your next meal!
The coming of Bobby Fischer caused a significant change.
In his last year before becoming champion, Fischer earned $30,000, a welcome improvement but hardly worthy of his superstar status.
The fortunes of top players have improved today with reigning star Magnus Carlsen earning several million a year.
Imagine a not so distant future when 5 billion humans are interconnected Facebook-style and a chess world, which has been growing astonishingly fast, lags not far behind.
Reminiscent of the superpower Fischer-Spassky match of 1972, a Chinese and U.S. contest with a ten-game match for the championship of the world.
With hundreds of thousands of aficionados wired in at a viewer’s fee of $1 per game, a billion dollar purse may be a modest projection.
Outlandish, impossible! No less so than 10 cents a game in Coney Island seven decades ago.
Below is a win by Viswanathan Anand against Peter Svidler from the FIDE Candidates tournament in Moscow.