$1,000,000 Open Tournament announced

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/9/2014 – GM Maurice Ashley and his partner Amy Lee have given confirmation that the Millionaire Chess Open, with a prize fund of one million dollars, will take place in Las Vegas in October later this year. The tournament hopes to attract amateurs from around the world, as well as top grandmasters, as they battle for huge category prizes. Will you be the next big winner from chess?

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Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and his partner Amy Lee have recently announced that the Millionaire Chess tournament will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 9 to October 13, 2014.

The driving forces behind this tournament, Amy Lee and Maurice Ashley

The tournament is very unique in that its prize fund is amazingly high, especially for an open event. As opposed to many tournaments this event will not be providing conditions to the top players, quite the contrary - the event has a whopping $1,000 entry fee and everyone from the lowest rated to the top grandmasters will have to shell out the money to participate. However, the prizes are certainly not only for the top-tiered players. The goal of the event is to attract as many amateurs as possible as many of them will be raking huge profits in this event:

Prize fund: $1,000,000

Open section

1st place – $100,000
2nd place – $50,000
3rd place – $25,000
4th – $14,000
5th – $8,000
6th – $4,000
7th to 20th – each $2,000
21st to 50th – each $1,000

1st place – $40,000
2nd place – $20,000
3rd place – $10,000
4th place – $5,000

Under 2350
1st place – $40,000
2nd place – $20,000
3rd place – $10,000
4th place – $5,000

Under 2200, U2000,
U1800, U1600

1st place – $40,000
2nd place – $20,000
3rd place – $10,000
4th place – $5,000
5th place – $3,000
6th place – $2,000
7th to 20th – each $1,000
21st to 50th – each $600

Under 1400 Section
1st place – $24,000
2nd place – $12,000
3rd place – $6,000
4th place – $4,000
5th place – $3,000
6th place – $2,000
7th to 20th – each $1,000
21st to 50th – each $600
Top Under 1200

1st place – $20,000
2nd place – $10,000
3rd place – $6,000
4th place – $4,000
5th place – $2,000

Top Under 1000
1st place – $8,000
2nd place – $4,000
3rd place – $2,000
4th place – $2,000
5th place – $2,000

The ratings listed above are USCF (United States Chess Federation) ratings and there will be special conversion rules for people that do not have a USCF rating, for example for international players their USCF rating will be their FIDE + 100.

The venue of the tournament will be the famous Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas

Located in the heart of the Las Vegas strip, Planet Hollywood offers visitors just about anything they could ask for. The Miracle Mile Shops is next door and is home to more than 170 stores and 15 restaurants.

The organizers had reserved the right to cancel the event if there weren't enough registrations by March 31st, and although so far there are less than 100 people registered on the official website (they would need 1000 to break even on the prize fund alone) they feel confident enough that they have announced that the tournament will occur. The press release is as follows:

"Las Vegas, Nevada – The Millionaire Chess Open, a groundbreaking chess tournament offering the biggest prize fund in chess history for an Open event, will checkmate the competition October 9th at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

The very first event, which boasts a million dollars in prizes, is being billed as a game-changer for a sport that has been struggling to capitalize on its huge fan base of amateur players.

“Chess is ready for this kind of bold undertaking,” says Maurice Ashley, an International Grandmaster and a partner at Millionaire Chess, the company hosting the event. “The game has seen a dramatic uptick in interest recently, and this tournament is designed to ride that wave. With the incredible explosion of scholastic chess as well as the massive increase in the number of online players, we believe there is an opportunity to capture huge market share.”

The tournament will feature the use of many high-tech novelties, never before seen at a chess competition. Some of these innovations, currently being worked on by the Playful Systems Lab at MIT’s Media Lab, include algorithms that predict moves by a specific player, in essence hacking the mind of a grandmaster. Organizers expect the technologies to find wider applications in the areas of neuroscience, psychology, stress management, and human performance.

Millionaire Chess intends to revolutionize the chess world and while seven Grandmasters have already registered early, the tournament hopes to bring in thousands of amateurs from around the world and of all ages.

We understand that chess suffers from a perception problem,” says Ashley. “Most people think the game is just too difficult or too slow to capture the public’s attention. But chess has been around for over 1500 years for a reason. It’s that enduring fascination that we believe our company can tap into, and we expect this tournament will help take chess to the next level.”

Amy Lee, an entrepreneur who is a partner at Millionaire Chess, sees the project as a launching point for other undertakings.

The Millionaire Chess Open is just the first step in our business branding itself as a global events and PR company,” she said in a recent interview. “We’re thrilled by the enthusiastic response we have gotten so far. It makes us confident that our vision to change a game like chess is an idea whose time has come.”

About Millionaire Chess

Founded in 2013 by International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and Entrepreneur Amy Lee, Millionaire Chess is the highest-stakes open tournament worldwide with a record setting prize fund. On October 9-13, 2014, thousands of participants will come to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada to play and hundreds of thousands will watch online. This unprecedented tournament will electrify chess fans worldwide."

A series of videos have been released to showcase what the tournament will offer as well as to entice people to sign up for the event:

Currently the rating list is being topped by grandmaster Parimarjan Negi from India, but with such a huge prize fund and with the attractiveness of the beautiful playing site it is certain that many strong, and weak, players will sign up for the event. Will you be taking the $40,000 class prize or even the $100,000 main prize? Sign up and find out more information at the official webiste or follow their news at their facebook page.

Topics: Millionaire

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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andyo4you@yahoo.com andyo4you@yahoo.com 4/10/2014 03:14
hmm what if I dont even have a rating with uscf or FIDE? in what category will I be?
MarriedRhombus MarriedRhombus 4/9/2014 09:51
2 things I don't like about this tournament:

1) The bulk of the entry fees go to the open section. The prizes should be allocated in proportion to the number of participants of the particular section.
2) There'll be very likely cheating in any form.

That said, I honestly and sincerely wish this tournament to succeed.