More than half-a-million Norwegians were glued to their televisions this week when their home-grown chess sensation Magnus Carlsen battled to retain his title as World Chess Champion. The viewer numbers set a new record for Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
The state broadcaster registered around 557,000 viewers when Carlsen went into overtime action against challenger Fabiano Caruana, while an average of 517,000 watched NRK’s earlier live play-by-play coverage of the action at the World Chess Championships in London.
All told, around 3 million watched at least portions of the chess matches that ran over a nearly two-week period, a lot for a country with a population of just over 5 million. Carlsen won the title of World Champion for the four time in a row Wednesday night, but was already claiming that he thinks he needs to become even better before the next world championships in 2020.