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The $40,000 GM Blitz Battle Championship

The $40,000 GM Blitz Battle Championship

pete
Jan 19, 2016, 12:00 AM 89 Chess Players

Chess.com is launching a new online blitz and bullet chess championship series, with the biggest payout in online history, and three of the world's top chess players have already signed on.


THE CARLSEN-NAKAMURA FINAL WILL BE PLAYED 27 OCTOBER 2016! MORE INFO HERE.


The Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championship will be a year-long, eight-player invitational event, with a knockout bracket of three rounds and $40,000 in cash prizes for the players.  For the full rules and format, click here

Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexander Grischuk, and Pentala Harikrishna have all agreed to participate in the first championship event. Chess.com has invited more of the world's top players for the other slots, and negotiations are pending.

Similar to what we formerly called Blitz Death Matches, the Blitz Battle series will be heads-up matches between the world's best grandmasters. With bigger prizes, official sponsors, and a running knockout format that leads to tougher and more exciting matchups, the championship will change the game for both fans of online chess and the world's top chess players alike.

The GM Blitz Battle Championship will be an annual event, growing each year (both in prizes and participation) as we look to market game and the format to major sponsors and each of the world's top players.

Why now? 

"For the first time in the history of chess, we believe the time is right to give the world's best players what they deserve: a chance to make good money and grow their fanbase without having to travel all across the globe," said Daniel Rensch, vice president of professional relations for Chess.com. 

GM Blitz Battle will be well organized, broadly advertised, and presented in a modern and engaging format online. The online nature of the event will allow for maximum schedule and location flexibility for the participants, who can play anywhere they have a decent connection.

 

Here are the details of the event:

  • $40,000 in total prize money
  • Eight players by invitation
  • Three tournament rounds, knockout style
  • Flexible scheduling; play from anywhere with a good Internet connection
  • Quarterfinals: four matches, one per month April-July 2016
  • Qualifier for #8 seed on May 31 with $5,000 prize pool, open to IMs and GMs with FIDE ratings 2500+.
  • Semifinals: two matches, one per month Sept.-Oct 2016
  • Finals: match in December 2016
  • All matches will include three hours of online blitz and bullet chess and brief post-match interviews.

All matches, starting from the quarterfinal rounds through the finals will follow this format:

  •  Three hours of blitz and bullet chess
  •  First time control: 5|2 for 90 minutes, then 3|2 for 60 minutes, then 1|1 for the final 30 minutes
  •  First game of each time control will be Chess960
  •  Total match score will determine who moves onto the next round

Chess.com believes this is the future of chess: the world's best grandmasters playing high stakes online chess for thousands of engaged fans, with potential new sponsors attracted to this modern, fast, and social platform.  It's time to give top players the chance to make decent money playing in a well-organized and broadly advertised events, yet still allow for a format of total flexibility in scheduling and playing location. 

GM Blitz Battle are the evolution of Chess.com's Death Matches, but with bigger events, better players, higher stakes, and more chess fans.

Here's a look at our biggest Death Match ever, Nakamura vs. Vachier-Lagrave. We expect the GM Blitz Battle Championship to expand on this great event.

 

For the championship, we are proud to offer the largest prizes in online chess history:

  • $13,200 for the quarterfinals: $3,300 each match. Guaranteed $1,000 to both winner and loser, and an additional $1,000 split by total win percentage. Four $300 best game prizes, one per match.
  • $10,800 for the semifinals: $5,400 each match. Guaranteed $2,000 to winner, $1,000 to loser, and an additional $2,000 split by total win percentage. Two $400 best game prizes, one per match. 
  • $11,000 for the finals: Guaranteed $4,000 to winner, $2,000 to loser, and an additional $4,000 split by total win percentage. One $1,000 best game prize.

With prizes distributed by winning percentage and hefty best game awards always in play, each game of every match will be exciting and meaningful. 

Please also see our latest news article by FM Mike Klein. 

THE BRACKET:

THE PLAYERS:

Magnus Carlsen

  • Current world champion
  • Live classical rating: 2850.6
  • Live blitz rating: 2890
  • Current world number one in all formats: classical, rapid, and blitz
  • World blitz champion in 2009, 2014
  • Highest classical rating of all time: 2882
  • Current world number one in all formats: classical, rapid, and blitz
  • Current world rapid champion

Fabiano Caruana

  • Live classical rating: 2794.3
  • World number three in classical chess
  • American number one in classical chess
  • Live blitz rating: 2665
  • 2016 world championship candidate

 

Levon Aronian

  • Live classical rating: 2792.0
  • World number five in classical chess
  • Armenian number one in classical chess
  • Live blitz rating: 2788
  • World number 12 in blitz chess
  • 2016 world championship candidate

Hikaru Nakamura

 

  • Live classical rating: 2790.4
  • World number six in classical chess
  • American number two in classical chess
  • Live blitz rating: 2884.0
  • World number two in blitz chess
  • Widely considered the best speed player of all time (Confirmed by a vote of Chess.com's titled players.)
  • 2016 world championship candidate

 

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

  • Live classical rating: 2787.9
  • World number seven in classical chess
  • French number one in classical chess
  • Live blitz rating: 2871.0
  • World number three in blitz chess

 

Alexander Grischuk

  • Live classical rating: 2752.0
  • World number 15 in classical chess
  • Russian number three in classical chess
  • Live blitz rating: 2851.0
  • Reigning FIDE blitz world champion
  • World number four in blitz chess

Pentala Harikrishna

  • Live classical rating: 2761.2
  • World number 13 in classical chess
  • Indian number two in classical chess
  • Live blitz rating: 2661.0

All GM Blitz Battle matches will air live on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/Chess. Check this article and Chess.com/news for schedule and participation updates.

Interested in sponsoring an event? See our press release. 

 

 

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