Millionaire Chess… it’s a go!

GM Maurice Ashley has quelled the suspense surrounding the Millionaire Chess Open by posting the shortest, but most authoritative announcement. After the announcement of the initial 65 players registered by March 31, there was some speculation to whether the tournament would happen. In his letter to the public Ashley stated that,

For us, that moment will be Monday morning, April 7, when we will announce our final decision to the public. Will Millionaire Chess take flight or be left in the hangar to sit idly by? Should we leave this battle to others as chess continues to struggle for relevance in a bleak American landscape? Is this all worth the risk?

That question has been answered and certainly a follow-up is forthcoming. The Chess Drum will be contacting Millionaire Chess for further details. Amy Lee has just released a statement on why the Millionaire Chess organization has decided to move forth.

The Millionaire Chess Open may be seen as “just” a tournament, but there’s a business side to it and, despite all odds, I still believe there’s enormous potential to be tapped. I view this as an exciting new venture, and I know I am in it for the long term. My ambition is way beyond one Open Tournament a year, and my target area is not just the USA. I consider the money I put in as a long term investment in an enterprise that I see potential in on top of being passionate about. I am totally prepared to take the financial risk, just I have in the other businesses I’ve been involved in.

Read Amy Lee’s
MC Decides To Move Ahead!

Millionaire Chess’ Official Announcement

17 Comments

  1. I hope this tournament succeeds – or, at least, doesn’t lose so much that the MC partners pack it in after one edition.

    I have always felt that a “super-open” like this (or HB Global) has to have multiple editions to determine whether they can fail or succeed. Many players will take a “wait-and-see” attitude the first time around. However, if the event goes off as planned and prizes are paid as promised, the players will come for future editions.

    Thanks to Maurice Ashley, Amy Lee and Millionaire Chess for having faith. Now, let’s see if the chess community will too.

    1. Looking forward to it. This was the first step. Having the courage to execute the vision. I will try all I can to promote the event.

      I agree that the “pulling of the plug” of the HB Global was premature. There was an excitement about that event, but of course Maurice had to agree to the terms of the sponsor which included having it in Minnesota. Even still, it was a rousing success from a player standpoint and the next year would have gotten 2000 players.

      Hopefully, players will see this step in faith as a show of confidence and register for the event. Maurice and Amy must keep the optimism going… and we have to do our parts!

  2. Amazing decision by Maurice & Amy. I’m really excited now. By taking the gutsy move of committing to the event, and guaranteeing the $1M prize fund, the low number of entries actually becomes an attraction – I order no more Class A players to enter. lol

    Seriously – I’m encouraging everyone to get on board, recruit your friends, your students, currently inactive players, etc. It’s going to be an event to remember.

  3. RJT, I agree with you on the low numbers being a reason I feel MORE people will sign up to play. I think it’s going to snowball into a success.
    Trust me, even some of the “haters” are going to sign up to get a chance to win some of that nice prize fund . 🙂

  4. REMARKABLE NEWS! In terms of monetary reward, chess needs a remake. It’s certainly one of the primary reasons why many young chess talents have stopped playing right after H.S. and in some cases even earlier. Ask them why they stop playing and they will tell you, there’s no money in chess. Can you blame them? It’s about time that a well-known chess personality has decided that it’s time to confront that opinion. However, we know that change is something that people tend to warm up to gradually, but it’s necessary if we want to exterminate the old cliché that there’s no career in chess. Let’s support GM Ashley and Company!

  5. Let me put things into perspective for those who are worried about the 70+ players that are currently signed up for this tournament. Chess players are notorious for signing up late or just prior to the last deadline. To give you a perfect example of this, currently there are only 52 players signed for the World Open which takes place in early July. And yet come tournament time, there’s always over 1,000 players who end up entering.

    I play in lots of tournaments and will play in this one but won’t sign up until a day before the first deadline. Why? It’s just the way I always do it…as do the vast majority of tournament players.

  6. Million Chess announces the tournament is officially a go! We’re so excited and social media was the first to find out about the announcement. For media and anyone else interested in reading our press release, please find our “Million Dollar Chess Tournament Makes First Move” publication here. We encourage you to share it on your social media channels!

    For Immediate Release: April 7, 2014

    Million Dollar Chess Tournament Makes First Move

    Launching the Highest Stakes Open Tournament in History on October 9-13

    Las Vegas, Nevada – The Millionaire Chess Open, a groundbreaking chess tournament offering the biggest prize fund in chess history for an Open event, will checkmate the competition October 9th at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

    The very first event, which boasts a million dollars in prizes, is being billed as a game-changer for a sport that has been struggling to capitalize on its huge fan base of amateur players.

    “Chess is ready for this kind of bold undertaking,” says Maurice Ashley, an International Grandmaster and a partner at Millionaire Chess, the company hosting the event. “The game has seen a dramatic uptick in interest recently, and this tournament is designed to ride that wave. With the incredible explosion of scholastic chess as well as the massive increase in the number of online players, we believe there is an opportunity to capture huge market share.”

    The tournament will feature the use of many high-tech novelties, never before seen at a chess competition. Some of these innovations, currently being worked on by the Playful Systems Lab at MIT’s Media Lab, include algorithms that predict moves by a specific player, in essence hacking the mind of a grandmaster. Organizers expect the technologies to find wider applications in the areas of neuroscience, psychology, stress management, and human performance.

    Millionaire Chess intends to revolutionize the chess world and while seven Grandmasters have already registered early, the tournament hopes to bring in thousands of amateurs from around the world and of all ages.

    “We understand that chess suffers from a perception problem,” says Ashley. “Most people think the game is just too difficult or too slow to capture the public’s attention. But chess has been around for over 1500 years for a reason. It’s that enduring fascination that we believe our company can tap into, and we expect this tournament will help take chess to the next level.”

    Amy Lee, an entrepreneur who is a partner at Millionaire Chess, sees the project as a launching point for other undertakings.

    “The Millionaire Chess Open is just the first step in our business branding itself as a global events and PR company,” she said in a recent interview. “We’re thrilled by the enthusiastic response we have gotten so far. It makes us confident that our vision to change a game like chess is an idea whose time has come.”

    About Millionaire Chess

    Founded in 2013 by International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and Entrepreneur Amy Lee, Millionaire Chess is the highest-stakes open tournament worldwide with a record setting prize fund. On October 9-13, 2014, thousands of participants will come to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada to play and hundreds of thousands will watch online. This unprecedented tournament will electrify chess fans worldwide. To learn more about Millionaire Chess, visit http://www.millionairechess.com. To receive updates on the event, join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/millionairechess or on Twitter at: @highstakeschess

    Contact:
    Karla Shannon – PR Manager
    contact@millionairechess.com
    604-999-8562

  7. While GM Ashley must be commended for his bold approach to chess events, I simply see the event as a potential disaster from a financial perspective if players are frugal. With most of the U2200 to below sections, realistically only 25% of the players have a shot of obtaining money at the event. Those 25% comprise underrated juniors, potential sandbaggers or inactive players, and foreign players. For the adult stuck at the same rating for the last 10 years, the event is simply too costly with no real potential of a monetary return. One could play for an entire year locally for the cost of one event. In addition, when one figures in entry fee, food, lodging and travel, one could be talking $1,500 or more. Chess players typically are not big earners in society thus the entry may be too high. In addition, it creates a massive incentive for foreign GM’s over 2730 FIDE to join. That amount is a very large amount. Someone will indeed win the giant prize but if players realize their chance to do so is limited, the entries simply will not cover the prizes. I think it is a bold concept but one likely to be short-lived.

  8. I THINK PLAYING THE LOTTERY OR THE SLOT MACHINE IS ALMOST ALWAYS A FINANCIAL DISASTER. YET, IT IS A MONEY-MAKING BUSINESS THAT IS NOT ABOUT TO GO BASNKRUPT. CHESS PLAYERS KNOW THAT WHEN YOU ENTER IN AN OPEN CHESS TOURNMENT, ONLY A SMALL FRACTION OF THE PLAYERS WILL MAKE SOME MONEY. I THINK IT IS THE SAME AS IN GOLF OR TENNIS. SO, THERE’S GOT TO BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN CASHING -IN THAT KEEPS THESE PLAYERS COMING BACK YEAR AFTER YEAR. WE SIMPLY PLAY CHESS BECAUSE WE EXPERIENCE AN ADDICTIVE SATISFACTION THAT CANNOT BE FULLY DESCRIBED IN WORDS; IT IS A FEELING YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE YOURSELF. EVERY YEAR THE TURN OUT FOR THE WORLD OPEN AVERAGES ABOUT THE SAME AND ONLY A FRACTION OF THE PLAYERS GETS DIVIDEND FOR THEIR HARD WORK. You would think the players who didn’t make anything from the previous year would not return. The fact is they do come back. IT WILL TAKE TIME, BUT IF THEY’RE WILLING TO TAKE A HIT FOR the first two years, LIKE ANY other START-UP, I BELIEVE IT WILL EVENTUALLY WORK OUT.

  9. The MC prizes are the best deal for the entry fee.
    Let’s compare:
    MC 100,000/1000=100X, 50 players with prizes.

    World Open 20,000/305=65X, 10 players with prizes.
    Chicago Open 10,000/205=48X, 10 players with prizes.
    Philadelphia Open 7,000/225=31X, 10 players with prizes.
    Even the lower sections in the MC has 40x return and 50 players with prizes.

    I hope this will help players make a good decision.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Guy’s response in all capital letters. If most players were wise, they would allocate their money to smaller events with peers, but unfortunately most people believe they are underrated and see the dollar signs. As with the lottery which you quoted, they say it is a tax on those who do not understand statistics as is the same with big money tournaments in general. I wish all the competitors the best of luck.

  11. Even when you’re thinking about making an investment, there’s a certain amount of risk that you have to be prepared to accept, but at least the intent is to get back more than you invest (capital Gain). In this case, I have to agree that you need to exercise good (wise) judgment in making that decision. But if I like a certain type of ice scream that happens to be overpriced to some consumers, whether I decide to buy it or not, has no correlation with having to be wise. The intent here is personal gratification which is unique to each individual. A lot of players will not make the sacrifice to pay 1k for a tournament, simply because they think its absurd. That’s fine, but can we say that unwilling participants are wiser than the players who are willing to make the sacrifice for the purpose of self-gratification? I am not so sure. Anyway, this argument may be futile since MC will go on with or without cynics. Keyboard is working now (~_ ~)

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