Death Match Returns To Settle Internet Feud
After more than a one-year hiatus, Chess.com's legendary Death Match series will return October 4 for a special event. GMs Simon Williams and Ben Finegold will put their differences aside, or perhaps amplify them, by settling their recent war of words over the chessboard.
Both will have microphones on during the three-hour blitz and bullet event, with a cash bonus to the best commentator.
Frequent broadcaster GM Simon Williams will need to prep openings and insults for this match.
If you're running through your internal calendar wondering why that week seems crucial to the chess fan, let us save you some time: The very next day GM Magnus Carlsen plays his opening round Speed Chess Championship match against qualifier GM Gadir Guseinov. So yes, you may want to take the whole week off.
But leave the kids at home, or rather, take them to school during the battle. Chess.com Vice President IM Danny Rensch is billing this as the first "parental advisory" Death Match. Not safe for work, not safe for kids, not safe for anyone with purity in their hearts.
Straight Outta Compton? No, Straight Outta Chess.com.
Why are these two grandmasters sparring, and why the lack of a commentary censor? Recently, Finegold conducted a lecture in which he jokingly asked the audience, "Who's that horrible GM? He's like 2100...He's the Ginger GM."
Then the insults kept increasing as he went down the rating mountain.
"Yeah, Simon Williams. He's like 1900 I think, or 1800." Then he mocked both Williams's propensity to advance his h-pawn, and his naming conventions for pawns.
GM Ben Finegold has been dishing it out, but can he also take it?
Williams, the "Ginger GM," then took to social media to rebut the opprobrium. He was equally acerbic.
"I see that Ben Finegold has been slagging me off," Williams wrote. "Never met the guy, but judging by his chess he shouldn't be throwing insults about."
He then penned another post, taking aim at the man, not just the chess ability:
For his part, Finegold "liked" both posts, and then added, "Cmon (sic), we live so far apart, Twitter and [Facebook] is our best chance to insult each other."
Well, not anymore. They'll each have three hours to outplay and out-insult each other come October. Both will have a live microphone and will be able to launch both attacks and aspersions during the live show on Chess.com/TV. (As for the suggestion on Twitter that they settle their score via a chessboxing match, despite his training in kickboxing, Williams replied, "That would be like watching two Teletubbies fight.")
Teletubbies references? Not sure what page Williams found that on.
While both players have somewhat toned down the rhetoric and bulletin-board material, you can bet that the winner will be most interested in bragging rights. Both accepted the match when Chess.com agreed to remove the "PG" label. Williams suggested the hashtag: #battleofthebigmouths.
There's also some cash of course. The winner takes $750 and the loser $250, while fans get to determine an additional $300 prize for "best trash talker." (*See update below.)
Rensch added that since he will be commentating too, this will be the first Death Match "three-way," although he is not eligible for the bonus prize.
Previously, of these two players only Williams has Death Match experience. He lost narrowly 17-15 to GM David Smerdon in late 2013.
An anonymous "patriotic American" has decided to sponsor the "best commentator prize" of $300 and also add $500 to the total prize fund, thus making the prizes $1000 to the winner and $500 to the loser. Lastly, this sponsor has added $250 more to a chess charity to be decided by the winner. "Love and appreciation" for both the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis as well as the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta for all they do for chess from this donation. From the sponsor: "Continue the trash-talking! I am doing this to fight off the British invasion."
This match has attracted an additional sponsorship of $2,000 from http://wordunscrambler.com/ - from the owner / founder: "It's a joy to combine my love of words with my love of chess. Good luck to Mr. Williams and Ben 'The Truth Hurts' Finegold". Updated prizes are broken down as:
Best Trash Talker: $300
Winner's Charity: $250