The richest open tournament in chess history

by ChessBase
9/18/2004 – Welcome to the HB Global Chess Challenge, to be held in Minneapolis from May 18–22, 2005. It is the brain-child of GM Maurice Ashley, who revealed yesterday that the prize fund would be an unprecedented US $500,000 ($50,000 in cash for the winner). You can register today. We bring you all the details...

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HB Global Chess Challenge

With a total prize fund of US $500,000 the HB Global Chess Challenge is arguably the richest open tournament in the history of chess. It is certainly the largest ever open chess tournament in the US. It will be held from May 18–22, 2005, and the venue is the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The event is expected to draw more than 4000 participants.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, venue of the richest chess open in history

The Global Chess Challenge is a Maurice Ashley driven event. The US grandmaster was born in 1966 in Jamaica, but his family moved to Brooklyn when he was 12. Maurice was awarded the rank of National Master in 1986 and International Master in 1993. After that he took a break from his coaching career to earned his GM title in March 1999, the first (and to date only) African-American achieve this goal.

Maurice has been in the media a lot, nationally and internationally. He served as a commentator in the Kasparov-Short and Kasparov-Deep Blue matches, he was the chief commentator in the PCA Grand Prix circuit, and the ESPN anchor in the live coverage of the matches Kasparov vs Deep Junior and Kasparov vs X3D Fritz. His trademark is a very lively commentary style, which conveys the excitement of the game even to a lay audience.

Maurice Ashley interviewing Garry Kasparov for ESPN

It was Maurice Ashley who revealed yesterday that the HB Foundation had established a guaranteed prize fund of $500,000 for the tournament in Minneapolis. "An event like the HB Global Chess Challenge has been the dream of players for years, a tournament that will offer very substantial cash prizes and be 'fan friendly' for both the professional and amateur," said Ashley, the CEO of Generation Chess, LLC, the company organizing the event for the HB Foundation. He noted that first place in the Open section has a cash prize of $50,000, and that overall more than 50 others will receive cash prizes for their performances.

The Minneapolis Convention Center, where the event will be held

"We are proud to be making chess history and most pleased that we will be helping to build awareness of how children benefit from chess," said Brian Molohon, the executive director of the HB Foundation. The non-profit foundation promotes the cognitive and academic benefits that children and youth gain from learning, and practicing, chess.

The Minneapolis Skyline

The HB Global Chess Challenge will have multiple side events, including lectures, simultaneous exhibitions, autograph signings by leading GMs, live game analysis of the top boards, musical entertainment, silent and live auctions, drawings, and gift memberships in the U.S. Chess Federation. In addition, there will be a children’s tournament on the Saturday of tournament week.

“The whole world of chess needs to get behind this effort,” says Ashley, who will be providing some of his ESPN-style commentary at the event. “The HB tournament gives us all a chance to come together and play the game we love in a way that respects all chess players, and it will help kids. How can you beat that?”

There will be 56 cash winners in the Open section, with most of the other sections giving away up to 50 cash prizes. Overall, there will be a minimum of 326 winners going home with a cash prize in their pocket.

The U.S. Chess Federation and the Association of Chess Professionals have endorsed the HB Global Chess Challenge. The entire Twin Cities area is prepared to welcome the visiting chess competitors, and the array of restaurants, sporting events, theaters, music venues and shops are sure to please. Visits to the Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping center, are also planned.

"The entire area will be ready to welcome our visiting chess players, throwing the doors wide open to welcome the participants and their families," said Molohon of the HB Foundation, which is based in Minnesota.

“Mark your calendars now,” says Ashley. “This is the tournament that you will be telling your grandkids about. No matter what happens, there will never again be another first.”

Prize fund: $500,000 absolutely guaranteed

  • Open Section
    • 1st place - $50,000
    • 2nd place - $25,000
    • 3rd place - $12,500
    • 4th - $7,000
    • 5th - $3,500
    • 6th - $2,000
    • 7th - 20th each $1,000
    • 21st to 50th - each $500
  • 2300-2449
    • 1st place - $20,000
    • 2nd place - 10,000
    • 3rd place - $5,000
  • Under 2300
    • 1st place - $20,000
    • 2nd place - 10,000
    • 3rd place - $5,000
  • Under 2200, U2000, U1800, U1600
    • 1st place - $20,000
    • 2nd place - $10,000
    • 3rd place - $5,000
    • 4th place - $2,500
    • 5th place $1,500
    • 6th place -$1,000
    • 7th - 20th each $500
    • 21st - 50th each $300
  • Under 1400 Section
    • 1st place - $12,000
    • 2nd place - $6,000
    • 3rd place - $3,000
    • 4th place - $2,000
    • 5th place - $1,500
    • 6th place - $1,000
    • 7th – 20th each $500
    • 21st - 50th each $300
  • Top Under 1200
    • $10,000-5,000-3,000-2,000-1,000
  • Top Under 1000
    • $4,000-2,000-1,000-1,000-1,000
  • Unrated Section
    • 1st place - $2,000
    • 2nd place - $1,000
    • 3rd place - $600
    • 4th place - $500
    • 5th place $400
    • 6th – 10th $200
  • Entry Fee: $345 before 1/1/05; $345 from 1/1/05 through 1/30/05; $375 from 2/1/05 through 5/1/05; $400 from May 1 to noon, May 17.
  • Discounts: Sign with a friend before 1/1/05 and each of you will receive $50 off your entry fee.


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