Ludwig, Schneider, Mekhitarian 'Stay' In Inaugural Winner Stays Event

Ludwig, Schneider, Mekhitarian 'Stay' In Inaugural Winner Stays Event

| 32 | Chess Event Coverage

Streamer Ludwig, Youtuber NM Kurt Hugo Schneider, and streaming GM Krikor Mekhitarian won their matches in the inaugural Winner Stays event on We'll see the trio return next month facing new opponents.

The first edition of the new Winner Stays series was held on June 4 and hosted by ChessBrah Aman Hambleton. In this original format, we're seeing three matches between superstar content creators in different rating categories each month. As the name suggests, the match-winner "stays" and gets to play next month as well, with extra prizes awaiting those players who manage to win three consecutive months.

The match format follows's regular Speed Chess Championship format but with half the time: 45 minutes of 5|0 chess, 30 minutes of 3|0, and 15 minutes of 1|0.

Poggers: Ludwig-Fundy 11.5-7.5

For his first match, the American streamer Ludwig faced Fundy, another popular Youtuber and Twitch streamer from the Netherlands. Ludwig used his Pogchamps experience to win 11.5-7.5.

In what was obviously a very friendly match, with both players streaming as well and Hambleton listening along and providing extra insights, Ludwig at one moment was a bit too friendly with Fundy failing to notice:

"My plan was: move as much as I can to confuse the opponent. It didn't really work out," said Fundy afterward. "It feels good to be a champion today," said Ludwig.

Hambleton had the audacity to mention the blunders made by both players, who went into full denial mode as a response.

"First and foremost, I don't remember a single blunder. I felt like we played pretty clean," Ludwig quipped, to which Fundy added: "I can vouch for that; I join that idea. I don't think any blunders were made. The bot can probably not be as accurate as us."

Sweats: Schneider-Botez 17-3 

Less close was the match between the American YouTube sensation Schneider a.k.a. KHS and Andrea Botez of BotezLive and one of the two Botez sisters. Schneider won with a big margin: 17-3. The (in)famous Botez Gambit made an appearance in this match:

"Honestly, I was pretty nervous," said Schneider. "It didn't feel dominant during the match. I felt like I was under pressure in a lot of games."

"He's just being nice," said Botez. "I got destroyed!"

Joining her younger sister on camera, WFM Alexandra Botez immediately challenged Schneider for a revenge match. The question is whether we'll see that one already next month.

Masters: Mekhitarian-Hess 10.5-9.5 

The first edition of Winner Stays saw an exciting finale with Mekhitarian winning by just one match point. The Brazilian grandmaster, streamer, and Director of Portuguese Content on had been leading 7.5-3.5 after the five- and three-minute segments, but Hess came back in the bullet and then lost the final bullet game where a win would have tied the score.

Hess-Mekhitarian games

Winner Stays

The three winners took home a $750 prize and will play next month as well, while the other players won $250. The biggest prize of them all comes for players who win in three consecutive months. These players win an additional $3,000 and ascend to "The Pantheon."

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