“Clutch Chess” features America’s top brass in online battle!

For Immediate Release

Clutch Chess!
New Online Tournament May 26-29

Top Four American Grandmasters Will Compete For A $100,000 Prize Fund

SAINT LOUIS, May 13, 2020 – The top four American chess superstars are set to battle online from Tuesday, May 26 – Friday, May 29, 2020 in a brand new and exciting knockout format called “Clutch Chess,” created by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, commentator, author, and chess innovator. With $100K in prize money up for grabs, the competitors will prove their mettle under mounting pressure as the tension builds towards the end of each match.

This format promises to keep fans glued to their screens by making it impossible for any match to lose steam – even if one player takes a big lead. This unique online tournament will be a prelude to an even larger event, adding four of the world’s best international Grandmasters June 6-14, 2020 with additional tournament details coming soon.

“Clutch Chess will be exciting, fast-paced and guaranteed to leave blood on the board,” said Ashley. “This format will keep the players, commentators and especially the fans engaged until the very last move.”

The four confirmed Grandmasters are Fabiano Caruana (World number 2), Wesley So (World number 8), Leinier Dominguez (World number 6 in Rapid) and Hikaru Nakamura (World number 1 in Blitz). This quartet recently led Team USA to a silver medal in the prestigious Online Nations Cup, and is one of the favorites to win gold at the next chess Olympiad.

Clutch Chess will begin with two semifinal matches of twelve games played over two days, with the winners advancing to the finals. Games 1-4 and 7-10 of the matches will be scored using the traditional method of 1 point for a win and half a point for a draw. Games 5, 6, 11 and 12 – the final two games each day – are worth extra points and bonus prize money for a decisive result. The new scoring system means that a match isn’t over until the very end; with six points available in the last two games, anything can happen.

Games 01-04: Win=1 Draw=½ Loss=0
Games 05-06: Win=2 Draw=1 Loss=0
Games 07-10: Win=1 Draw=½ Loss=0
Games 11-12: Win=3 Draw=1½ Loss=0

Total Match Points Possible 18

“We are excited to showcase this new chess tournament format, and the prize money has also been divided in a way guaranteed to keep the matches even more nerve-wracking,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

While 1st to 4th places will feature a normal prize breakdown, bonus money will be awarded to players who deliver a victory in the clutch games, totaling $10,000 per match. Any drawn clutch games roll the clutch prizes to the end of the match. If game 12 of the semifinals is drawn, accumulated clutch money will roll over into games 11 and 12 of the finals. Ultimately the clutch money on the last day could be as much as the actual first place prize.

Semifinals (WINNER advances to finals; loser gets $10,000)

  • Clutch Games 05&06 ($2,000/game)
  • Clutch Games 11&12 ($3,000/game)
  • Finals (WINNER $30,000; 2nd $20,000)

  • Clutch Games 05&06 ($2,000/game)
  • Clutch Games 11&12 ($3,000/game)
  • The rounds will be streamed live daily on uschesschamps.com from May 26-29 with expert commentary featuring GM’s Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade.


    About The Saint Louis Chess Club

    The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

    Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.

    “Chess is a sign there is still some intelligent life left on this planet.”

    Video by St. Louis Chess Club

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