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Who Is The CEO Of Chess.com?

Who Is The CEO Of Chess.com?

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The current CEO of Chess.com is Erik Allebest, who co-founded the company with Jay Severson in 2005. Jay and Erik were college friends who later reconnected and decided to turn their love of chess into a website where they as chess players could feel at home. Over the years their small passion project has turned into what Chess.com is today: a company with more than 700 team members and the chess home to millions of chess players around the world. 

Many people do not know that Erik is CEO of Chess.com. A lot of people think that IM Danny Rensch, a co-founder who joined in 2009, is the CEO because he is the "face" of Chess.com. Other people believe that GM Anish Giri is the CEO because of a viral April Fool's joke. However, Erik Allebest is the current CEO of Chess.com, and has been ever since its founding.

Biography

Erik Allebest was born in California in 1977. He learned chess from his mom when he was eight years old, but didn’t really get into the game until he was 17. He met Jay, their university chess club president, his first year of college and immediately fell in love with the game. Erik went on to start three chess companies: Schoolhouse Chess (an afterschool chess program for kids), Wholesale Chess (an ecommerce and chess equipment company), and then Chess.com. 

Erik and Jay.

In 2005 Erik went to Stanford Business School where he went to class, learned a lot, and met great people... but was also focused on launching Chess.com! Erik graduated in May 2007, the same month that Chess.com opened to the public. 

Erik and Jay had dreamed of building a chess platform that could be home to all chess players. A place to play, learn, and share the game with other players around the world. They both focused full-time on Chess.com, and hoped to raise some investor money to fund the business. However, after meeting with more than a dozen investors, Erik was not able to secure any funding and decided to instead "bootstrap" the business from his own savings. 

Erik is rated about 1700 in the US Chess Federation, and rated between 1500 and 2000 in different online time controls. He plays chess every single day. His co-workers make fun of him for only playing 1.e4, and g3 or g6 in almost every game he plays. 

Erik has been married to his college sweetheart for the last 20+ years and they have four children. He currently lives in Utah where in addition to chess he enjoys Crossfit, disc golf, pickleball, guitar, video games, and hockey. 

Podcasts

You can listen to Erik on various podcasts: 

20VC

Topics include fundraising, parenting, and the history of Chess.com

How to Have a Great Day

Topics include life and habits.

Levitov Chess World

Topics include chess, cheating, and the future of chess.

Perpetual Chess Podcast

Topics include chess, cheating, and the future of chess.

Mixergy: How Chess.com Scaled a Massive Community

Topics include business.

Domain Name Wire

Topics include domain names and business.

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