Interest in chess tournaments is somewhat like that of watching a Wagnerian opera; level activity for quite a while and then a big bang. After World War II, the choice of a world champion attracted special interest in America when Sammy Reshevsky tried in vain to unseat the Russians. Bobby Fischer, of course, created the most thrilling occurrence for the game when he renewed the Reshevsky challenge as a symbol of the Cold War. The computer versus human matches, a vain and hopeless struggle from the beginning, gave the public interest in rooting for the human race.
Now there is a special interest once again, created by the appearance of Magnus Carlsen, the highest-rated player in history, only 22 years old, who seemingly represents a high mark of human intelligence.