Paypal Co-founder Peter Thiel's $1 Million Chess Challenge

  • SonofPearl
  • on 7/19/12, 8:41 AM.

thiel-vs-steigman challenge.jpgMuch has been written about the many high-profile individuals in the financial and technological world who also have a gift for chess, but this news story combines the two in a much more direct way!

The Chief Executive of Soletron, AJ Steigman has challenged PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel to a $1 million chess match. 

Both men are talented former chess players, with Steigman's rating currently 2274 Elo, and Thiel's 2199 Elo, so if the match goes ahead it could be a close fought contest with a lot at stake!

The press release is below, but first a sample game from each of them:

Press Release
New York, NY (July 17th, 2012)

Today, Soletron founder & CEO A.J. Steigman has challenged billionaire & Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel to a $1 million Series A chess match. Both Steigman & Thiel are chess masters that were childhood prodigies. They are currently in the top 1% of all U.S. players.

Steigman has always been a fan of Mr. Thiel’s chess and business careers, and has the absolute most respect for him. He wishes to partner with Thiel for the match with the event focusing on entrepreneurship and the positive influences of chess.

In today’s tough economic climate, it can be challenging for aspiring entrepreneurs to raise capital and to go after their dreams. The fabric of American business was built by the strong entrepreneurial spirit that existed in previous generations. Steigman would like to illustrate that through unconventional tactics, entrepreneurs can raise the necessary capital to execute their visions.

Steigman stated that he would like to donate all sponsorship capital from the match to charities revolving around the aforementioned themes.
If Thiel, accepts the challenge and were to win, Steigman would lose a pre-negotiated amount of Soletron equity. If Steigman were to emerge victorious, Soletron would receive a $1 million investment.

Specific terms & details of the match would be discussed if Thiel accepts the challenge.

The match would be positive, fun, entertaining, and would help highlight several causes affecting small businesses today. The Soletron team hopes that Mr. Thiel accepts the challenge.



Soletron is a social networking and ecommerce platform for lifestyle retail verticals. It was established in 2010, with a prominent board of advisors including: professional football player and Superbowl MVP, Santonio Holmes, Tom Austin, the co-founder of AND1 basketball, Bruce Chizen, former CEO of Adobe, John Friedman, founder of Easton Capital, and Bob Rice, founder of Tangent Capital and Bloomberg Contributor.


Picture: Business Insider
Header Picture: Founders Fund Managament

11787 reads 30 comments
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  • 4 years ago


    How many people know that paypal's founder, Peter Thiel, was a chess prodigy?

    Born to German parents in Frankfurt am MainWest Germany, Thiel moved to the United States with his parents when he was a toddler, and was raised in Foster City, California.[7] Thiel was a US-rated Chess Master and one of the highest ranked under-21 players in the country.

  • 4 years ago


    create game or tournament that win cash prize.. much iteresting for

  • 4 years ago


    1  million is GOOD START! They are not only capitalists -they are PLAYERS !Players of THE GAME! I'm waiting...where is my Big Fish? (where is my little million?).

  • 4 years ago


    cool... Cool 

  • 4 years ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    A large stake indeed. Don't think they are actually going to play for it. However, Andrei Filatov mentioned that some of the stakes in his chess games were close to the prize fund in Anand-Gelfand. :)

  • 4 years ago


    challenge me

  • 4 years ago


    haha that would be fun to watch!

  • 4 years ago


    What the heck is a "lifestyle retail vertical"?

    I gotta get me one of them.  LOL

  • 4 years ago


    nice article, would be nice if you mentioned a tournament that Peter did well in and against stronger opposition. I mean Gibson dosen't exactly ring a bell with the chess community or strike fear in the hearts of chess players to support the article.  I am sure he is a great player but I am just saying a draw with Karpov would be better. (Just saying)

  • 4 years ago


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  • 4 years ago


    just telling you my coach says that theil is a millionare so not going to be so bad

  • 4 years ago


       SonoPearl wrote "It just occurred to me that the title of this news article could be read in the opposite way from what I intended! Thiel is the one being challenged by Steigman."  ........ I thought that was intentional, ya' know: typical journalistic sensationalism to entice readers. (Ha-ha)  Anyway, good article and I hope the match comes off.

  • 4 years ago


    The sad thing is it sounds like a lot until you remember at least one of them is a billionaire. He probably wouldn't even take it that seriously "Eh, it's just a million".

  • 4 years ago

    NM Bab3s

    My first thought was that Thiel is challenging all of us to do something.

  • 4 years ago


    @nileshlpednekar so he does: I take it you mean 26. ... Rxd5 (took me a while to find it as at first I thought it was the Queen that would do it).

  • 4 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    Misleading title, but good summary.

  • 4 years ago


    Steigman vs. Thiel...could be a German league match :)

  • 4 years ago


    I like the idea that they're not just 2 rich guys playing high stakes - anyone recall that Repubulican debate where Mitt wanted to bet mega-cash? - but wanting to use it as a way to highlight entrepreneurs, the ecomony blah blah. It's also good they have similar chess ratings. Should be fun, especially to watch.

  • 4 years ago


    When? Where?

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