A BMW i8 super-car for Sergey Karjakin

by Frederic Friedel
4/1/2016 – As you have probably registered by now, Sergey Karjakin won the Candidates Tournament in Moscow, and went home richer by €95,000. But he also received a special prize from the car manufacturer (and Candidates transport sponsor) BMW: the super sports car BMW, a plug-in hybrid that sells at around $140,000 and has a top speed of 250 kmh (= 155 mph). He can use it to cruise the Russian highways.

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The 2016 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament was a 14-round event, which determined the next Challenger to Magnus Carlsen's title. It took place in Moscow from March 10–30. Eight players, including six of the World's top-ten rated grandmasters. The prize fund was US $420,000.

A BMW i8 super-car for Sergey Karjakin

BMW Russia was the transportation partner of the tournament and offered special guests of the Candidates the opportunity to use the latest BMW Seven Series cars ("which are progressive, unique and smart") as VIP shuttles. At the closing ceremony the Development Director of the BMW Group in Russia, Hans de Visser, awarded a special prize. This is what he had to say:

Chess is one of the most intellectual games in the world, and our brand, BMW, is known all around the world for our intellectual engineering and our innovations. So for us it is a perfect match. On behalf of BMW Russia I am happy to congratulate Sergey for winning the tournament. For us it was not difficult to find the right award for this great achievement. We thought about driving our most progressive sports car in the world: the BMW i8. So, Sergey, a car that drives up to 250 kilometers an hour, from zero to one hundred in four seconds, carbon fibre body and a fuel consumption of only 2.1 liters for 100 kilometers [translates to 112 miles per gallon]. I think perfect figures. What do you think? [Sergey: "That's my dream"]

You can watch Hans de Visser's speech 47 min 10 sec in the video of the closing ceremony

Read all about the BMW i8 or watch this video. It is a plug-in hybrid sports car with a
7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers an all-electric range of 37 km (23 miles)
using a small amount of gasoline. Sergey can drive the BMW i8 around for a month.

Sergey can now cruise the Russian highways at 250 kmh (= 155 mph)

Incidentally Magnus Carlsen, whom Sergey challenges for the World Championship title in November this year, owns a top-of-the-range electric Tesla car that can match the speed of Sergey's i8. So how about a drag race between the two in Russia or Norway?

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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yesenadam yesenadam 4/8/2016 02:39
I repeat:

Why on earth suggest (except in some easy-to-miss and misunderstand fine print) that he's been given a car?

He's merely been loaned it for a month.

This is deliberately misleading.
Cocolisso Cocolisso 4/4/2016 03:28
especially those in a worldchampionship.
Cocolisso Cocolisso 4/4/2016 03:26
chess players should win more !! they deserve it !!! period.
Bojan KG Bojan KG 4/4/2016 12:27
I am talking about elite chess player, not any chess player. Having finished football career anyone could stay involved in football whether as coach, assistant, manager or simply invest money into private business. What to say about gymnasts? Their career ends in mid 20's at most, risk of injuries is extremely high and still their payment is not worth mentioning. There are so many sports more demanding and injury-prone than football but athletes there are underpaid and they are poor people compared to average footballer. I have to correct myself, BMW was given to Karjakin only for few weeks so he was awarded with 95 000 eur for winning Candidates. My final comment is NO COMMENT.
RustyBlob RustyBlob 4/3/2016 10:46
Well, its kinda funny. Repairs and insurance will cost him pretty penny, so at the end it seems like a pure marketing move. Chess pros have similar fate to poker pros, eventually they have to sell it all, including their bracelets and trophies.
Offramp Offramp 4/3/2016 01:05
You cannot compare chess players' earnings to those of a professional footballer. A footballer might enjoy sky-high earnings from age 20 to 30. He might then have 40-50 years of life with little or no earnings. A chess player might earn good wages from 16 right up to 56 or so, in a completely danger-free sport.
Bojan KG Bojan KG 4/2/2016 05:57
This is, among many others, sad proof what world we live in. Any average soccer player in some of leading leagues earns 250 000 eur in half a year in worst case (I assume almost anyone there earns 500 000 eur/year). At the moment we can consider Karjakin at least second best player (by form if not by rating) in the game so complicated and so popular world-wide. Being GM alone is great achievement, only chess professionals know amount of hard work needed to master chess. In my opinion top chess players are one of the most underpaid "athletes". On the other hand these guys play chess whole life and I think they are in love with chess. Because of that fact money is not on their mind as some priority. Nowadays any mental work is considered less demanding than physical work which is complete rubbish. Sheer number of openings, variants, positions in chess is staggering and anyone who mastered chess in great depth can be considered chess genius. And guys at least over 2700 belong to them. If they do not deserve to earn large amounts of money then chess future does not look good. In the end, number of very strong chess players in any era is very limited regardless of chess rating inflation which happened in last 20 years thus total prize money per year is negligible in comparison with other sports. If being top GM is piece of cake and being top soccer player is very very hard than something is wrong in this world and saddly it has been the case for a long time.
enanos7 enanos7 4/2/2016 04:17
One month is plenty of time to crash the car. 37km autonomy does not get you far enough to find a desert area and reach 250 km/hour
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 4/2/2016 03:50
BMW i8? Useless. One had wished it was a computer with i8 instead...
SteveinDallas SteveinDallas 4/2/2016 08:43
This is crazy! They have never even given such prize to World Champion and they give this to a qualifier!?? Also the car is much slower ( about 1.2 seconds) slower than top line Tesla Model SP85D which can do it in about 2.5!!! Anyhow, whatever. Best of luck to Karjakin. He will need every ounce to beat Magnus.
thlai80 thlai80 4/2/2016 04:09
Can Karjakin or BMW sue? :P
yesenadam yesenadam 4/2/2016 12:53
What an amazingly odd story. It seems to exist, as did the BMW announcement in the first place, merely to deceptively suggest K had been given a car. The same super-vague language, trying to neither confirm nor deny, etc.
Oh well, the main thing, as Dylan McClain might remind us, is that chess has exciting BMW sponsorship now. Come to think of it, this story seems like an ad...
Queenslander Queenslander 4/2/2016 12:40
Francis Pogi Francis Pogi 4/2/2016 12:20
Do a little math., 100km/2.1L= 47.6km per liter!? So how much liter to full tank this car? Enough to drive Russian highways or around for 1 month without filling it up again!? That's how I understand it!? When you win e.g. $1,000,000.00, representative giving you a life size check just to easily be seen by people, that doesn't mean that you gonna use it to withdraw your cash at the bank., of course in this time the actual car doesn't fit at the stage, so they just give him look a like toy symbolizing the real car!? People reading here supposedly have high intellectual property!? OMG! They shoul've read otherwise.
gmwdim gmwdim 4/1/2016 09:24
Joke aside, I saw one of these in my local dealership the other day. Seems like it would be a lot of fun to drive, but not very practical for day-to-day use. More like a cool toy for rich people.
Rational Rational 4/1/2016 09:20
Magnus has a Tesla , Sergey Has a BMW......Beats Magnus's Wheels

johnmk johnmk 4/1/2016 09:04
That's great. Can you say materialism? Think of how many kids will now be inspired to study chess, hoping to win a new BMW some day.
bonnie charles bonnie charles 4/1/2016 08:58
Every single year Chessbase produces a prank on 1 April. Karyakin a very good chess player but he has nothing to do with a sports car like this. I remember when the other players were playing football he went smelling roses with his wife. This car would be a death warrant for him.
fightingchess fightingchess 4/1/2016 07:55
i just don't understand why they have to give him an expensive car. he already got around 100000$ as his prize. this car alone is worth more than his prize.
dkindle dkindle 4/1/2016 07:34
This has to be the April Fool's joke..
NiceChappie NiceChappie 4/1/2016 06:55
Is it true that he has to return this "gift" after a couple of week?
Not sure that will have the PR effect BMW envisaged.
It makes the company look mean calculating and cynical.
NMcrazyim5 NMcrazyim5 4/1/2016 06:35
Must be April Fools prank
Petrosianic Petrosianic 4/1/2016 06:27
As runner-up, Fabian got a Rolls Canardly (Rolls down one hill and canardly get up the next).
Petrosianic Petrosianic 4/1/2016 06:26
He'll look great on the dirt roads of Russia in that.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 4/1/2016 03:33
So did BMW give him an i8 or just let him drive one around for one month?? This article isn't entirely clear. Also, in the second pic Sergey is just holding up a small toy model. I'm confused.
craniotomy craniotomy 4/1/2016 03:09
stephen brady stephen brady 4/1/2016 02:28
Good thought, Derek. Chessbase usually pulls out a couple of good fake stories every year on this date.

However, they did provide video evidence of this one, from the press conference :)
FabriceWantiez FabriceWantiez 4/1/2016 02:25
Only for one month is an insult for a great champion like Karjakin.
This kind of prize is only enough for an amateur tournament.
This is a equivalent of around 2000 eur.
Don't forget that Karjakin won more than 500 000 USD in 2013. He is not a poor or an average man!

This is not, unfortunately, an April fool and I don't undertsand why ChessBase does a nice publicity for BMW after such behaviour.
stephen brady stephen brady 4/1/2016 02:24
What is a Teslar car? Must be Norwegian if Magnus is driving it. Is it anything like Elon Musk's Tesla?
Derek McGill Derek McGill 4/1/2016 02:16
Is this an April fools joke ?. He gets to drive it for two weeks ( He plays in Norway then )