Millionaire Chess Tournament Announced: Las Vegas, October 2014

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 19.12.2013, 09:59.

Earlier this week GM Maurice Ashley announced a ground-breaking event set for October 2014 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas: Millionaire Chess. The event will feature a million dollars in guaranteed prizes including a $100,000 first prize in the open section and $40,000 in various "Under sections." Early birds enjoy special prices and a chance at free hotel and airline tickets. Press release.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK--(Marketwired - Dec 19, 2013) - In 1972, Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 'The Match of the Century,' a battle recounted on television sets and newspaper covers around the world. Next October, the Millionaire Chess Open hopes to garner similar attention by offering competitors the wealthiest prize in Open chess history.

The Millionaire Chess Open will be held over Columbus Day weekend October 9-13, 2014 at exciting Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada, and boasts a total of a million dollars in prizes - a record payout for an open chess tournament. The tournament is the brainchild of International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, a world-famous chess commentator often called on to be the voice of some of the biggest chess matches in the world. Mr. Ashley also served as the organizer for HB Global Chess Challenge in 2005, a $500,000 Open that - until now - claimed the record title.

Ashley is excited to finally announce the Millionaire Chess Open after months of preparation, and invites chess players of all levels to join him in Las Vegas for an event that will make chess history. "I am thrilled to be a part of this exhilarating tournament," states Ashley. "To offer players a chance of winning part of our million dollar prize pool in one the most exciting cities in the world has always been a dream of mine to organize."

Mr. Ashley will be assisted by Millionaire Chess Open co-partner Amy Lee, an entrepreneur helping to back the event, and the technological creativity of the MIT Media Lab, where Mr. Ashley serves as a Director's Fellow. The Media Lab will be represented at the tournament by MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Slavin and members of his Playful Systems research group.

"We are inviting up to 3,000 participants to a tournament that will electrify both fans and media around the world," stated Mr. Ashley. "The technological innovativeness that the MIT Media Lab brings will also allow us to present chess in ways never seen before. Hundreds of thousands of fans will be able to witness the top chess players from around the world in action live and online. We fully intend to make this an event like no other."

"The Millionaire Chess Open aims to place competitive chess beneath a global spotlight," stated Ms. Lee. "We want to bring a sense of luxury into the game, and we believe that nothing adds as much excitement as setting record stakes!"

The tournament will take place in Las Vegas Nevada at Planet Hollywood October 9-13, 2014 and boast the record for the highest stakes in chess. Entry is $1000 with a chance to win up to $100,000 for a total of $1,000,000. Registration:

This is where the press release ends. The tournament website further reveals that there will be some interesting prize incentives. One will be a “bounty” placed on the top five players of each section and a $1,000 award to anyone who beats them.

And there is also a “Millionaire Monday” on which four finalists, who qualify after seven rounds of play, will move on to play two knock-out rounds to determine who wins the top prize. The last two rounds of the open section will also be played on this day.

The big question, of course, is whether chess players are willing to spend $1,000 to play in a chess tournament. On The Chess Drum Maurice Ashley explained his ideas behind this tournament in great detail and about the entry fee he said:

Of course, I knew chess players aren’t used to paying that sort of entry fee, but I was also well aware that poker players have been paying much, much more for the chance to win big prizes at the World Series of Poker. So the fundamental question the entire idea hinged on was whether or not chess players believed enough in their sport and in its potential to support an event that required them to pay more than they’re used to, to have a chance to realize their deepest dream of seeing chess recognized for the great game that it is. We didn’t have the answer to that question and we spent weeks studying the idea from all angles before deciding it was time to go all in or, as Amy loves to say, “Go big or go home.”

Early birds enjoy special prices and a chance at free hotel and airline tickets. But to what extent are people running a risk there? Ashley said that people will get their money back if it's not working:

We are looking to players to sign up by March 31st to make the Millionaire Chess Open definitely happen. 

The tournament has some interesting rules as well. Some exampes:

No food or opening of food wrappings allowed at the tables. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed in the tournament room.

Boorish, uncouth, rude, and inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. The organizers reserve the right to deny entry into our tournament.

In the interest of presenting the best possible image of chess to the public, the organizers strongly request that players dress in casual business attire at a minimum (slacks, shirt, and jacket). For those choosing not to do so for the entire tournament, then we ask that they wear a collared shirt (polo shirts allowed). We strongly urge players not to wear tank tops, shorts, or old T-shirts while playing. We wish players to be as comfortable as possible while still presenting a proper face to the public.

Having an “objectively” drawn or equal position does NOT allow you to agree to a draw. If this is the case, then you must play until at least move 30.

The TD can deem that players are not making a serious effort to play a real game. For example, some unacceptable situations would be:

  • If two players on the top boards make a quick draw using some well known theoretical opening that forces a three-fold repetition.
  • If the two players play an intentionally lifeless opening with the object of steering the game towards a dead draw as soon as possible. For example, playing the exchange French defense and immediately trading off all the pieces is not acceptable.
  • Continuous repetitions in order to get to the time control will be considered an infraction of the rules.

Czytano 31532 razy 81 komentarze
7 głosów


  • 3 lat temu


    It's very sad that many of you are so close minded.  You are going to miss out on being a part of chess history. 

    I find it funny that a lot of people think he's going to pocket 2 million dollars lol.  This event took several years to put together.  Time, effort, marketing, advertising, security, player ammenities, venue fees, media coverage etc.  Those things are not free people.

    Oh well it is your choice so I respect that.  I do hope to see you guys in future tournaments and here's to the beginning of a new era in chess.  Cheers!!

  • 3 lat temu


    @thrillerfan: I believe those rules are made by the organizers, in order to grab also the money of the prizes, if they like it.

    After all they are already grabbing 2 million dollars and give only 1 to the players who paid such huge amount of money for 1 tournament.

  • 3 lat temu


    I definitely lack the funds for this tournament.

    That said, I doubt I'd go anyway with some of the corny rules that are written.  My goal is to play the best moves.  For example, let's just say I were a French player (I was from 1997 to 2007, but don't play it any more).  If White decides to play the Exchange Variation, and Black's best way to defend the position is to trade off all the pieces, then so be it.  I absolutely REFUSE to play second-rate moves just to please the organizer, and ESPECIALLY AS BLACK!

    In essence, what they are saying is that you are prohibited from playing drawish openings.  Well, with my repertoire being 1...c6, 1...e5, and 1...g6 against 1.e4, what you are telling me is that I must play 1...g6 because there exist drawish lines against the Caro-Kann and 1...e5, and that if I proceed to play one of those other two, and White plays a drawish line, then I must avoid trying to draw with Black?  Does that also prohibit me from playing the Zaitsev because White can take a quick draw?  What if I'm White and Black plays the Zaitsev and he's 400 rating points higher than me, does that make the move 11.Ng5 illegal?  Maybe I want to try to make Black play Qd7, and if he insists on Re8, I'd take the draw!

    I wish there were more tournaments like the World Open.  $300 to $400 entry fee, maybe 4 times a year, where EVERYBODY plays 9 rounds, not just the top section.  $1000 with bullsh*t rules is too steep in my book.

  • 3 lat temu


    If he had done that then the prizes would have to be much smaller since there would be so many sections.  I like it how it is.

  • 3 lat temu


    Within rating classes, luck plays a much larger role. What I think Ashley should have done was to make the sections at only 100-point intervals to increase the luck factor.

  • 3 lat temu


    I don't think the goal is to acheive the same size playing field as poker touurnaments.  But, despite the obvious differences, there's no reason that chess can't receive the same exposure as poker.

    On a side note, I just visited the website and saw a video of what to expect for the tournament.  I'm very excited and can't wait till October.  It's going to be an amazing experience.

  • 3 lat temu


    I think the model for this tournament ignores two, related, fundamental differences between chess and poker: the luck and ego factors. Almost anyone can win a poker tournament, and, partially because of this, most poker players overate their chances of winning tournaments; this creates the environment for lots of entrants prepared to play big entry fees for a shot at a big prize. In the chess arena, the better player wins much more often - a GM will beat a non-GM virtually every time - and the rating system prevents people from over-estimating their own ability. 

    You won't achieve close to major poker tournament sized fields of punters for chess events given the above.

  • 3 lat temu


    Zazen you need to relax on Vegas.One of the best tournaments of the year is held there, the National Open.It's fun and the two times I went I didn't gamble but had a great time.What do expect them to have it in Vancouver or something ??

  • 3 lat temu


    There exists many different viewpoints of this tournament.  Having the tournament if it does proceed as planned gives exposure to the game of chess.  That is valuable.  The location?  Vegas to some is something they want to see.  Conversely Vegas is seedy with a high suicide rate and a town originally established by Mormons and then turned loose to gamblers.  The town has no intrinsic classiness of its own.  Its a mirage.  Additionally to hold chess in a city associated with gambling?  There is a reason why poker is linked to big money gaining and losing.  The game itself of poker is much of a grind.  Smart players dont play many hands, spend much time waiting and posturing and often lose repeatedly even when doing the correct actions for correct play.  And somehow poker is supposed to be fun?  For me to play other than the occasional distraction, someone would need to pay me for the loss of time and gain/lose of chips/money from a game that has no sense of logic.  So now you have a chess championship in a place founded on deceit and false hopes?  Why?  Is it because it is warm in Las Vegas?  What is there to see there?  Desert?  Bogus scenery?  Perhaps this location will bring more people to see and recognize chess as another option of which to spend their time, and for this reason the location is valuable.  However to attract true chess players, Las Vegas doesnt seem classy at all.  I certainly wouldnt be drawn to this although there are some that would.  I can think of the Canadians I work with at the hospital that are deluded into thinking that Vegas is some kind of vacation and should be visited after a long boring plane flight to be filled with more long and boring nights in a casino.  I hope this event does work out for those organizing it and those choosing to participate.  I consider that chess is profitable in its own right because it teaches how to think and protect yourself and that is worth more than any amount of prize money.

  • 3 lat temu


    Interview with Maurice Ashley about The Millionaire Chess Open:

  • 3 lat temu


    ya .it's good

  • 3 lat temu


    @mobidi what you meant is not clear.Is billion dollars chess game played in vegas ? I could have been cheered if some org had arranged a 1 million prize instead players' fees add up to million!, It's look like i can arrange that too, right? everybody could.

  • 3 lat temu


    it's nice. but ,i think - one million is little money for chess, if You agree with me , You can to play in Big GAME ( for one BILLION ) , just send me You message- LAS VEGAS is history....Tongue Out.(old history..)

  • 3 lat temu


    As long as the satellite's go acording to sections it's a great idea.  But if it's winner take all, it only benefits the highest rated player of the area.  I'm going to be entering the U1600 section, but I wouldn't play in a satellite where I have to play against someone rated like 2000.

    But, if there were 10 players rated U1600 that want to put in $100 each and play winner take all I would do that.

  • 3 lat temu

    NM e4Najdorf

    Satellite Tournaments would be a great Idea, That Would really probably attract more players to the tournament. Maybe run like 20 of them, 4 in 5 different parts of the us. Break them into sections and limit the entry fee down to 100 bucks, which is much more doable.

  • 3 lat temu


    I find a little sad that so many players don't want to see chess on a larger scale.  If I could make a living just playing chess that would be fantastic.  Currently that is impossible unless you're among the top chess players in the world.  Here's an opportunity for average players to do just that!  Why more players don't see the potential in this is beyond me. 

    This event will put chess in front of the world and will create an abundance of new players joining the game.  How is that such a bad thinng?

  • 3 lat temu

    NM dcremisi

    i wont go as a matter of principle, if you are paying that much its not for the love of the game. Also, regarding the shakespere quote,  what is the benefit of playing in a "millionaire chess event" rather than in a local club tournemant where you can play 10 times as much? Assuming a 90% return in prizes (very generous and unlikely, I might add), the cost of the tournemant on average is 100$, including the possibility of prizes, plus travel costs. That's neither for the love of the game (you could play 90 games locally for half that price), nor really even for money (if youre rational). I dont see the point. 

  • 3 lat temu


    Lets be positive you don't have to be a GM to win a large prize, $40,000 sound pretty good and you pay only $1000 for it. Oh Yes, you to play well to win first prize.

  • 3 lat temu



    Well the HB event was held in Minnesota.  Vegas obviously draws people in better than MN.  I think the reason it's announced 10 months in advance is because of the cost.  This is something that people who love chess won't want to miss and 10 months is more than enough time to put the money together.  It's just a question of how bad you want it.

    There was a poker player that spent an entire year recycling cans to get the $10,000 entry fee to the World Series of Poker.  If there's a will, there's  a way.

  • 3 lat temu


    Just common sense. Ashley's HB Tournament was a disaster that was held but never repeated either. If this tournament is relying on a thousand entry fees just to pay prizes excluding other costs like director fees, advertising, it will be a money pit. Tournament chess is primarily for teens and twenty somethings and most of them don't have a thousand dollars laying around. Don't get me wrong I hope the tournament is a success but I wouldn't bet on it. The only reason why I can possibly think of for announcing it almost 10 months in advance, is to give the financial backers time to cut short their losses, when they realize people just aren't going to show.

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