Chess Makes, Costs Big Money And Other News

Chess Makes, Costs Big Money And Other News

| 20 | Misc

This month's "In Other News" is a financial cornucopia featuring a CM who broke Google's bank, the most expensive chess sets, the largest chess set, and taxation with inadequate representation. Join us for an incredible tour of chess news you may have missed last month.

CM Demis Hassabis Named Top Ten In Tech

The gifted CM Demis Hassabis was named Wired's eighth most influential person in science and technology. It seems he made the right decision by turning to a career in tech instead of chess. In 2014, Hassabis sold Deepmind to Google. Earlier this year, Deepmind's AlphaGo program defeated Lee Sedol in a stunning match. What was the price tag for Deepmind? An incredible £400 million!

Hassabis still makes time for one annual gaming event himself. He competes annually at the Mind Sports Olympiad and has won the event more than anyone else. His son (in primary school) also competes and has won the junior prize.

Hassabis current FIDE rating is 2249, but his Wikipedia page credits him with achieving a FIDE rating of 2300 at age 13.

Check Out The World's Most Expensive Chess Sets

Have you ever wondered what the most expensive chess set in the world is? Or what people do with their money when they no longer know what to do with their money? The Gazette Review answers those questions and raises quite a few more in their recent article listing the top ten most pricey chess sets in the world.

We are sure you must be wondering, which is the most expensive? The only only set on the list over $1,000,000 is the Jewel Royale Chess Set priced at $9,800,000! The set, commissioned by the Royale Jewel Company and made by Boodle's, takes opulence to a new level. The kicker? It doesn't even come with a board! Guess you'll have to use your good old green vinyl one. 

Chess With Tractors

Is this the world's largest chess game? The small town of Hinojosa, Spain converted an entire field into a chess set! The pieces? Tractors! To our knowledge, this is the largest chess game that has ever taken place, but if you know of a larger one (perhaps played with battleships or satellites?), let us know in the comments. Each tractor had lawn chess pieces strapped to the top of the vehicle to identify them.

Next up? How about about giant chess tractor bullet? We are sure the world giant chess bullet champion could be talked into a tractor-based rematch!

World's Biggest Chess Tournament Threatened By U.K. Tax Bill

The UK Schools Chess Challenge is possibly the largest chess tournament in the world. This year 45,000 children have been involved, but the United Kingdom's highest court just delivered a bankruptcy notice to the organizer IM Michael Basman after a recent tax bill exempted not-for-profit sports organizations, but not mind games like chess, from having to collect taxes on entry fees. 

Basman argues that the tax imposes many burdens including the need for additional accountants and bureaucracy to manage collection and payment on entry fees. Basman also argues that the bill most impacts poorer communities.

Caruana Pitches Adjustable-Height Chess Table

Current world number-three and card-carrying prodigy, GM Fabiano Caruana, is marketing a new adjustable height chess table, the Prodigy Desk. Readers may well wonder how Caruana became involved with such a product, and a new article straight outta Concord, New Hampshire shares the backstory.

The desk is the brainchild of Michael Kind (peak USCF 1941) who is the founder of Right Height, a company specializing in ergonomic office equipment. Kind is himself frustrated with the inconsistent and often inconvenient heights of chess tables. Using the Prodigy Desk, players will be able to play chess sitting, standing, or reclining sumptuously while being fed grapes (hopefully aspless) by lackeys. Interested readers can sign up at

Social Media Meets Sultan Khan

One of the most overlooked chess players in history recently became a little less overlooked. The great Indian player and three-time British champion Mir Sultan Khan is the subject of a new piece at Khan had a remarkable short but effective career after arriving in Britain from India. After wowing the world for several years and amassing wins against players like Capablanca, he returned to India, and essentially disappeared from the record.

Khan's life is a fascinating one. For those interested in Khan's chess in action, check out this blog from your author.

Chess Gets The Onion Treatment

Providing catharsis for countless chess players, the Onion recently gave form to the frustrations of the chess-playing masses who continually see their cherished game compared to every bleeding thing under the sun.

In the article, fictional GM Adam Van De Lay takes issue with ceaseless comparisons saying, “People may want the boring, if difficult, details of their everyday life to seem more exciting, but I’m sorry, trying to get a promotion in a sales job over one of your coworkers is nothing like a game of chess in any way whatsoever.”

Preach it, brother.

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