Play Chess With A Pro Football Player

Play Chess With A Pro Football Player

| 35 | Chess Players will host its first pro-am vote-chess event next month, pairing the Baltimore Ravens guard and chess enthusiast John Urschel with International Master Danny Rensch to take on the world over the 64 squares. 

Any member can register to vote and play in the gameThe match will begin on June 1 as the next game in the popular "master-vs-many" vote chess series. 

With one day to move, Urschel and Rensch will collaborate, recording their thoughts and publishing the videos to's YouTube.

Urschel will have the final say on which move is played, with IM Rensch serving mainly as an advisor on the NFL player's strategy and chess thought process. 

Urschel via his interview for Photo credit: Steve Boyle for Sports Illustrated. 

"I learned to play chess in NFL training camp, but I never thought my love for the game would take me this far," Urschel told in the lead-up to the game. "I love chess, use every day, and my girlfriend and I watch ChessCenter every week," said Urschel. 

Urschel via Wikipedia: His jersey number 64 is appropriate for a chess player.

Once the game begins, Urschel and Rensch plan to release an in-depth video every five moves, reviewing all that happened in the game and laying the groundwork for Urschel (hopefully) to execute a solid plan.

Rensch will provide instructive feedback (along with his usual brand of hilarious criticism) for Urschel, who said that he preferred the "r-rated version" of Rensch's commentary and teaching style.

"I really want to get better," said Urschel. "So let me have it!"

Rensch will draw upon his experience in the master-vs-many format to provide insight to Urschel. Here's the first game between Daniel Rensch and the world:

GM Simon Williams and IM John Bartholomew have also taken on the community in vote chess games.

A well-known chess enthusiast, Urschel regularly tweets his favorite interesting chess puzzles.

Urschel, no stranger to brainy pursuits, just completed a semester at MIT, where he plans to attend for three more years and complete his PhD in mathematics. 

Urschel is famous for his outspokenness on the importance of mathematics and his wish that young athletes don't allow themselves to be one-dimensional in their approach to life. Urschel urges young athletes to excel both in the classroom and on the field. 

Urschel himself exemplified success in both areas. In 2015, Urschel appeared in all 16 NFL games for the Ravens, and found time to publish an article in the Journal of Computational Mathematics: "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians."

Urschel via Twitter.

Do you think you can take on such a dedicated athlete and scholar?

Sign up to play now, and remember to comment and vote for your favorite move every day starting June 1. 

More from Pete
Can You Solve Our 2023 Holiday Puzzler?

Can You Solve Our 2023 Holiday Puzzler?

Can You Solve Our 2022 Holiday Puzzler?

Can You Solve Our 2022 Holiday Puzzler?