Derrick Rose hosting “Chesstival” in Las Vegas

Chess is an ultimate battle of the mind. Chicago’s own Derrick Rose is now hosting a “Chesstival” event in Las Vegas. As a product of the hard-scrabble courts of Englewood, Rose knows a thing or two about battling. In the 2010-2011 season, he became the youngest MVP in history while helping to rejuvenate the Chicago Bulls franchise. While injuries derailed his career, he has continued to be active in other pursuits. He made an interesting chess analogy dealing with a rash of injuries and how he fought back.

Derrick Rose elevating during his peak years for the Chicago Bulls. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Derrick Rose elevating during his peak years for the Chicago Bulls.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I don’t dunk or jump high anymore. I’m not killing u with speed nor am I a one man fastbreak anymore. I don’t even shoot my reverse layups lol. I’m a totally different player. I love chess so I would put it this way… I lost my Queen early in the game but I fought my fuckin way back to get one of my pawns down the board to get her back. If you know chess… that’s a very hard process to achieve and if you really know how to play you know even the master games are won with few pieces on the board and it’s about strategy, heart and skill.

~Derrick Rose, NBA 2011 Most Valuable Player

The latest revelation is that Rose has a passion for chess. He is hosting a chess tournament with a $7,500 entry fee in the city known for high stakes. Either he has had the passion or he is simply licensing his name and attempting to attract celebrities and athletes to put chess on a grand stage. Initial reactions were skeptical as chess players did not recognize any of the people involved. However, don’t be surprised if some chess heads find their way in the inner circles.

According to news reports, the “Chesstival” tournament will be held July 7-8 at Resorts World Las Vegas and will “feature celebrities, professional athletes, musicians, and amateur chess players “competing in a high-stakes series chess tournament.” It costs $7,500 to register for the event.

The numbers are enticing and will most likely capture the interest of professional players, but it is most likely going to be by special invitation. According to the Chesstival website, there will be a prize fund of $147,500. The winner receives a $50,000 prize, while the runner-up walks away with $20,000. Third and fourth place gets $10,000 each, 5th-8th gets $7,500 and 9th-6th gets $5,000.

We remember Maurice Ashley’s Millionaire Chess Open tournaments. Maybe we have found a potential partner for future high stakes chess events. One interesting revelation came out late last year in an interview with veteran journalist K.C. Johnson.

And he’s reminded of his basketball mortality, even mentioning how he’s contemplating joining a chess league or entering vertical farming when he’s done playing.

~K.C. Johnson in an interview with Rose in December 2022

Apparently Rose has been into chess since he was at Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy. That is interesting since Simeon had never been known as an active school in scholastic chess tournaments. Nevertheless, he is continuining his competitive nature by hosting this tournament and it will be interesting to see which celebrities will show up. Will the Wu-Tang Clan get that phone call? We shall see!

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