Forthcoming online chess tournament FTX Crypto Cup is slated to pit the world’s top ten players against each other, allowing the global chess elite to compete for USD 100,000 worth of bitcoin (BTC), provided by the event’s sponsor and crypto derivatives exchange FTX, and USD 220,000 in cash.
Some of the grandmasters that are to take part in the cup, which is described as the world’s first bitcoin prize chess tournament, include Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, the world’s highest-ranked chess player, and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, the global number four. The event will precede their 14-game world title match which is scheduled to take place this November-December in Dubai.
The event, which is part of this year’s Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, will be held between May 23 and 31, enabling fans to track the prize’s pot value in real-time and its fluctuations, the organizers said in a statement.
FTX has also entered into a long-term agreement with Play Magnus Group, which is the cup’s organizer, to become its official crypto exchange partner.
“Both online chess and digital finance are growing rapidly,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO and Founder of FTX.
Should Carlsen secure the crypto bonus, it would allow the player to further diversify his budding investment portfolio. In an April 29 tweet, the grandmaster admitted to venturing into online trading six months earlier.
“Strategic planning and research are the keys here as well. No shortcuts!” Carlsen said.
Specialist publication Chess24.com claims the upcoming cup “may be the strongest chess tournament of all time, with the 16-player field including the complete Top 10 on the May 2021 FIDE classical rating list,” making a reference to the International Chess Federation’s (FIDE) global ranking.
The event, which will be broadcast on television and online streaming platforms Twitch and YouTube, will guarantee its winner a spot in the tour’s final in San Francisco this September.
In another example of how the worlds of crypto and chess are intersecting, last November, Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin took part in a live-streamed faceoff versus Alexandra Botez, a FIDE-recognized Woman FIDE Master and a five-time Canadian National Girls Champion. Buterin, who is an amateur chess player, was checkmated in over a minute.
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