“On the Beat” with MC’s Amy Lee

Amy Lee

The Chess Drum was able to catch up with Amy Lee who is busy strategizing for the Millionaire Chess Open to be held from October 8th-12th, 2015. Leading up to the March 31st $1,000.00 deadline, there is quite a bit of optimism about the numbers and there are rumblings that a number of players will join including some headliners.

In recent news, MIT Media Labs has released a promotional video on their work to make chess more marketable. This presentation of chess was rolled out in MC#1 with “analytics” and will be on full blast at MC#2. It provides excitement and allows fans and even non-chess onlookers to understand the flow of the game. The quest to make chess more marketable continues and Grandmaster Maurice Ashley is certainly the right person to weigh in on the debate. This is one of the main missions of Millionaire Chess.

“Anyone who plays in our event should expect first class service.”
~Amy Lee

Ms. Lee answered a few questions for The Chess Drum audience about the progress and the second edition. She reports that there are more than 350 entries compared to 126 last year at this point. Top players have joined the fray such as Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Wang Hao, Yu Yangyi, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Le Quang Liem, Alexey Dreev and Evgeny Najer (European Champion). While Samuel Sevian is the latest GM to enter he will join a cadre of talented young stars in the field such as GMs Ray Robson (runner-up MC#1), Sam Shankland and Illya Nyzhnyk. There have not been any headlining women besides Grandmaster Irina Krush, but there are prizes for “top female” in five of the sections.

“Analytics” are used in most major sports. Is this the future in chess?

When asked about the satellite tournaments, she mentioned that the tournaments have been slow to build, but there are three scheduled for Africa… Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Ms. Lee believes that such an idea will take time to take hold, but has confidence that it will become an important feature in drawing more interest. One of the other developments that may draw interest are some of the new prize categories.


Biggest upset prize $1,000
Tie Break Consolation $6,000
Mixed Double $2,000
Best dress for man $100 per day x 4 days
Best dress for woman $100 per day x 4 days
Best dress for child under 18 $100 per day x 4 days
Top female Prize (OPEN) $1,000
Top female Prize (U2200) $500
Top female Prize (U2000) $500
Top female Prize (U1800) $500
Top female Prize (U1600) $500
Top senior prize (65+) – OPEN $1,000
Top senior prize (65+) – U2200 $500
Top senior prize (65+) – U2000 $500
Top senior prize (65+) – U1800 $500
Top senior prize (65+) – U1600 $500
Best child under 13 yrs old (OPEN) $1,000
Best child under 13 yrs old (U2200) $500
Best child under 13 yrs old (U2000) $500
Best child under 13 yrs old (U1800) $500
Best child under 13 yrs old (U1600) $500

The MC franchise has started an affiliate program designed to give websites a chance to publicize the event while also giving a chance at revenue-generating opportunity.

While we expect lots of people have already heard about our event, we wanted to give various websites the opportunity to spread the word about the tournament. Going global has always been our vision, and our affiliates will help maximize the reach of MC.

(More about the affiliate program here.)

As far as the entertainment value, Ms. Lee wasn’t ready to reveal any new ideas, but she guaranteed first class service with the same flair that made the first edition such a success. When asked if she was going to begin playing in chess tournaments, she said, “Maybe this year!” She quickly retracted with, “Of course, I’m kidding. No one wants to see me play. I’ll keep doing all I can to promote this great game and leave the playing up to the stars.”

The 2015 Millionaire Chess Open

Thursday, October 8th through Monday, October 12th 2015


email address: contact@millionairechess.com
website: https://millionairechess.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HighStakesChess
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millionairechess
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MillionaireChess


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  1. Until organizers figure out how to get sponsorship, television deals and the attention of the many people who doesn’t play chess (MIT-lab is working on that), it may never be solved. Relying on the chess players to fund the needed revenue has proven to be an unreliable strategy. No other sport that I could think of depends on their players to generate income. However, if there’s any partnership that will figure it out, it looks like Team Amy & Maurice might do it.

    1. Sponsorships are difficult in board sports (i.e., chess, go, draughts) and not even FIDE has figured it out. I believe the conversation is being had, but of course before sponsors sign up, they will need to see the support of chess by their own. If chess players are not supportive of chess, then sponsors will not invest a penny. Chess has massive potential in its reach and demographics. Trying to find a formula to package chess as a viewer-friendly is quite a task, but I like some of the developments I see. As software and apps become more sophisticated, chess will beneficiary. Chess is made for mass media.

  2. With MIT tech brains getting involve who knows what will happens few years down the road. We know that technology is a real game changer. Chess will never be a game where you have fans like in a football game come down to a stadium to watch. But, I believe you will eventually have just as many if not more fans that will support the game via the internet. You make it interesting enough, as MIT is working on, people will pay to get a piece of the action and slowly sponsorship will starts to trickle in and before long, things will starts to look more encouraging for chess.

    1. I believe it has the potential to be viewer-friendly to the public, but we haven’t found the formula yet. The key is grassroots support. This is needed for overall success. I’m not sure if MC or MIT will totally figure it out in its run of tournaments, but we will be a lot closer for having supported this initiative. It is amazing how certain sports changed demographics. It may take the rise of a chess personality to help draw sponsorship to chess. None of the world champions since Fischer have been able to create a sensation in the eyes of the sponsors.

  3. Certainly chess can be solved, it is a matter of time and resources. Will we ever see the game solved from the historic starting position? It’s possible that we will destroy our ability to live on this planet first!

    1. HAha, RJT ur probably right! UM JUST CHECKIN IN FROM THE BUFFALO PUBLIC LIBRARY , BRO! lol good point!!!

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