The headline of a recent Forbes article proclaimed, “Chess: The 1,500-Year-Old Startup Sport Aiming for Global Dominance.”

The game that has its roots in 6th-century India has been revolutionized by technology. Ilya Merenzon, chief executive of World Chess, told Forbes, “Chess was never really developed until the internet came along.” Now, the game is ubiquitous on smartphone apps, making the online community, in the words of Merenzon, “as big as Facebook.”

The average player age in the last chess championship was 23, compared to 40 just a few years ago. Merenzon attributes this change to technology, both in terms of the smartphone culture and also the fact that today’s tech-savvy demographic appreciates the mental gymnastics afforded by the game. He told Forbes, “Smart is the new sexy, so it is phenomenally popular in Silicon Valley and within Google and Facebook.”

With this growth in chess aficionados has come a new opportunity: the chance to productize the game and find new ways to monetize the interest. The Forbes piece details some of the avenues World Chess is pursuing, and proves an interesting read about how established industries must react to technological changes.

Technology has leveled the playing field, and new opportunities will continue to arise as machine learning, IoT, and other emerging disciplines mature.

If a 1,500-year-old concept can be reborn in the 21st century, what can technology innovations do for your business?

For more interesting articles on the evolution of chess, read here and here.

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