Viktor Korchnoi challenges you

by Matthias Wüllenweber
12/27/2021 – In the history of the Chess World Championships Viktor Korchnoi is an extremely successful player, even if he was ultimately denied the title. If you count the 1974 Candidates Final for challenging Fischer, he played three 'World Championship matches'. The era of Korchnoi's participations in the WCh cycle stretches from the Curacao Candidates Tournament in 1962 to the 1991 quarterfinal match against Timman, which he played at the age of 60. The dramatic fight against Anatoly Karpov in Baguio City in 1978 stands out in particular: hypnosis, cheating accusations with blueberry yoghurt, X-ray examinations on chairs, mirror glasses worn at the board, Korchnoi's comeback to 5-5 after trailing 4-1 are a few of the external circumstances involved!

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We have just published the first authorized NFT series ever of the classical world champions on Korchnoi's special role in the title matches now connects him to this NFT series: he is honoured by an edition that is not for sale. Rather, it will be raffled off among all bidders after the main auction closes on January 12. This creates an opportunity to obtain, at low cost, an NFT that may later gain collector value by being explicitly tied to the World Championship series.

How to accept the challenge: get a crypto wallet and go to, the largest NFT marketplace in the world. You can find our NFT series under the title Chess World Champions. Bid for at least one of these NFTs. Even if you are outbid, you have secured your chance to win the Korchnoi NFT. Good luck!

The bids of the current auction at are still moderate. It is expected that the auction will take a similar momentum as bidding on Ebay. Most activity will occur towards the end, larger wallets will not reveal their cards yet. As a result, bids placed now will probably be surpassed.

Every single bid on the world champions of the Opensea auction counts as a ticket for Viktor Korchnoi. So if you bid on three NFTs once each, your chance is three times higher than with a single bid. Multiple sequential bidding on one and the same NFT is however not counted multiple times. Only after someone else bids on that NFT again, new bids are counted as additional lots.

So, for those who believe in the future of NFT as the central form of digital property, and for whom the uniqueness of the first authorized series of chess world champions is obvious, the following plan emerges. We will go into the technical details in a separate article later in a way that makes them generally understandable. This text is intended for readers who are already familiar with cryptocurrencies, have transferred values between wallets, and are maybe attracted by the game-theoretical appeal of winning the Korchnoi NFT.

  1. Install a Metamask wallet in your browser and link it to Opensea.
  2. Buy Ethereum on an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken.
  3. Transfer some Ethereum into your Metamask wallet. This incurs fees of currently around USD 25. These are the so-called gas fees required for the operation of the block chain.
  4. Bid on one or more NFTs of the world championship series. In doing so, the amount of Ether required for the bid is "wrapped", i.e. reserved for the duration of your bid in the form of Wrapped Ether (WETH). If your bid wins the auction, this amount is then due and gas fees are added once more. If you are outbid, there are no costs, also no gas fees because individual bids are not engraved into the block chain.
  5. Cross your fingers to win Korchnoi in mid-January.
  6. Hope that a wealthy collector or NFT investor will bid for the World Championship series and then also bid on your NFT, perhaps even years later. If you win this lottery, you can of course sell the Korchnoi NFT freely any time.

Viktor Korchnoi's NFT is unique, and will remain the only one of its kind associated with the World Championship auction.

The NFT shows the beautiful game Korchnoi-Polugaevsky from the 1977 Candidates Semifinal in Evian, the World Championship cycle that led to Karpov's challenge in 1978:


This article is not investment or tax advice. The author intends to bid on Capablanca. Bids by the author will not be entered into the drawing of lots for Korchnoi.

1. Refrain from spending on cryptocurrencies or NFTs if you are not comfortable with the practical technical side (wallets, security, etc.).

2. Don't spend money in crypto that you can't do without completely.

3. Don't invest in things you don't fully understand. Do your own research. Invest because you really like something but not out of the desire to get rich quick.

4. Don't bid on NFTs that do not convince you with their uniqueness and lasting value. Otherwise, just enjoy for free the beauty and creativity that this field develops.


Matthias Wüllenweber, CEO of ChessBase
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brianerdelyi brianerdelyi 12/28/2021 07:59
I don't like the investment tone of this initiative. It's a high pressure sales pitch intended to trigger FOMO more than to memorialise the games or players. I think it cheapens the project.

It's a modern day baseball card... and that's fine. There's not even unlocked content such as the game in PGN format with interesting/unique annotations (I realise this is trivial to do... but it's the details). In fact, I like the style of overlaying the game notation over a photo.

What is unique about this exactly? I haven't looked at all the NFTs, however, it appears this may only be a licensed use of the photographs used. Some games claim they are authorised by the estate of one player (but not both). The games themselves don't appear to be licensed (game moves are considered public domain... anyone could create an NFT with the game moves). The event organisers (FIDE) don't appear to authorise this NFT (probably because FIDE has already announced release of their own... and Chessbase NFTs may not be as unique as this announcement suggests). If there's value in the Chessbase brand, perhaps that would have been a good logo to add.

Chessbase claims that money from the sales of NFTs goes back to the players, however, I'm not sure this is the case for all the NFTs as some do not say it was authorised by any player or their estate). Perhaps more detail is needed regarding proceeds of the sales and future royalties.

Want to innovate Chessbase? Consider create a DAO that receives all the funds of these sales (and royalties of future sales) and allow that DAO to fund chess events and mentoring programs for under privileged children. Happy to help.
KingZor KingZor 12/28/2021 02:33
Some cautionary words about NFTs by Brian Eno, the guy who practically invented digital art:
arzi arzi 12/28/2021 07:31
dgbchess dgbchess 12/28/2021 12:11
NFTs have to be the biggest con-game since Bernie Madoff. You'd be better off investing in toliet paper futures.