"Chess in America is having a crisis. There were no American contenders in the recent world chess championship tournament in San Luis, Argentina, which was limited to the world's top eight players. The closest American candidate for the tournament was Hikaru Nakamura -- a 17-year-old who is ranked 42nd in the world. But Nakamura -- who at 15 became the youngest American grandmaster, breaking Bobby Fischer's record -- says that he might give up pro chess because there is so little money in it. Losing Nakamura would be devastating for American chess.
How can American chess save itself? No doubt it would make purists protest, but chess should steal a few moves from poker. After all, in the past few years, poker has lured away many chess masters who realized that the analytical skills they've learned from chess would pay off in online card rooms.
And that's a shame. There are plenty of smart people playing poker (and I love playing it myself), but there's no denying that when it comes to developing mental acuity, chess wins hands down, so to speak. Dan Harrington, a former world poker champion who quit chess because there wasn't enough money in it, laments that poker is thin and ephemeral in comparison."
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