There Shouldn’t Be a World Champion for Chess

Harry Yang, Opinion Writer

In Astana, Kazakhstan, the 2023 World Chess Championship is being held. A grueling twenty-one-day marathon of chess with only your opponent and the bright flashes of reporters’ cameras in the room where the games are being played. This event is supposed to be for the best of the best. The winner will be crowned as the World Chess Champion. However, I believe that the title of World Chess Champion is redundant and deceiving.

The word “champion” is a term for the best player in their specific expertise. Despite this, the World Chess Championship is not being played by the best player in chess. Instead, it is being played by two of the top players in the world. The two players, Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi, are among the top five highest-ranked players; but, the current best player and arguably the best player in history, Magnus Carlson, is leagues ahead of any player. 

In chess, players compete to see who can checkmate the other player. It can be played with many different times on the clock, which can range from less than five minutes to over two hours. Due to this varying amount of time, there are many tournaments that feature different durations for which players can play the game in which players can play chess. 

One of the most important tournaments is the Candidates Tournament. Each game in the tournament is up to three hours long. In this tournament, eight players who have qualified through winning other tournaments compete against each other to challenge the current World Chess Championship. However, this is not the only tournament that is both prestigious and challenging. Tournaments such as the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, World Bullet Chess Championship(one minute), and the World Blitz Chess Championship(three minutes) are equally as challenging but do not get the recognition that the World Chess Championships do. Winners of these tournaments do not get lauded as the best chess player in the world but only receive a slight recognition for their wins. 

This is why I think the World Chess Championship should not be played anymore; otherwise,  it should be reconfigured into something like the World Bullet Chess Championship or the World Blitz Chess Championship. In fact, there could be a three-way championship title between Bullet which gives players one minute, Blitz which gives players five minutes, and Classical which gives players two hours.