As I write this, Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik are playing for the World Chess Championship in Bonn, Germany, with little mention or fanfare in the U.S. media.
It's a far cry from the Fischer-Spassky and Kasparov-Karpov matches of yore. Each of those events had two ingredients not present today: political conflict and players of super-extraordinary ability.
Although the Kasparov-Karpov matches involved two nominally Soviet players, their political allegiances were disparate. Karpov was a darling of the Kremlin, while Kasparov was an Azerbaijanian outsider who questioned the tenets of the Soviet system.
Kramnik and Anand are great players. But three of the others – Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov – rank among the top players ever.
What most distinguished them was their extraordinary ambition and will to win.
Kasparov and Fischer also worked harder at the game than anyone before.