Chess: The Gaming Elite Compete for Bitcoin in the Most Powerful Online Tournament Yet

The marriage seems odd, but it makes sense to the sponsors of the FTX Crypto Cup Online and the very strong group of elite grandmasters who will be competing May 23-31. Its all-time high online price of $320,000 includes $100,000 in bitcoins. Fans watching will be able to follow the value of the prize pool in real time to see how it fluctuates. The event is part of the Meltwater Champions Tour, and its winner will qualify for the Tour over the board final in San Francisco in September.

The confirmed entry is exceptionally strong, even by the high standards of online chess, including each of the current world’s top 10 in the live ratings live. Such an elite field contains the potential for a memorable contest.

Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi will participate ahead of their €2m, 14-match world title match in Dubai in November-December. Convention dictates that the two competitors in a world championship series visit purdah for several months before the start to prepare new opening strategies with their teams of assistants.

This year, however, the preparation time will be shorter for Carlsen, who leads the Tour and will be favorite for the final. Nepomniachtchi’s position is more equivocal, as he expressed doubts about continuing to play so close to the Dubai game.

The FTX Crypto Cup begins at 4:00 p.m. BST on Sunday, May 23, with three days of all-terrain rounds followed by a top-eight knockout. It’s free and live to watch, with grandmaster and computer commentary, on and other major chess websites.


Peter Svidler vs. Dmitry Andreikin, St. Petersburg 2018. How did black (to move) win brilliantly?

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