Chess – one of the world’s oldest games, has undergone a recent facelift in perception. Without a doubt chess is one of the most reputable games around, but a recent tournament initiative entitled Millionaire Chess offering 1 million dollars in prizes has added a high-stakes element to the game in an attempt to make it more dominant in mainstream recognition.

Ridiculed most commonly as a pastime of geeks, the October 9-13 Vegas tournament organized by International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley attracted a diverse array of players from various age and social demographics.

More than 600 players of all ages from 44 different countries signed up for the first-of-its-kind Millionaire Chess tournament. The entry fee was $2,000, or $1,000 for early registrants. – Stacy Willis, 15 October 2014, Las Vegas Weekly.

The tournament was also a debut for an analytical and  statistical Chess program called DeepView.

Source: Wired.

DeepView was built using an archive of more than 750,000 games from chessgames.com. The games involved players at a variety of skill levels, but among those played by grandmasters in tournament play. Such data allows DeepView to describe different playing styles, the likely outcome of a match between players of varying skill ranking, explain why some players perform better in long or short matches, and more. – Bo Moore, 13 October 2014, Wired.

Ultimately, Millionaire Chess was more than an event. It reflected an investment in the future of Chess within a society of media consumers and catered to their consumption via televised games and a comprehensive tracking program reminiscent of those used by wagering sites. Whereas Chess might be perceived as a game symbolic of the days before Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media, it has continued to keep pace with modern technology from the Chessmaster computer series, to internet chess sites, and even the Pure Chess series for modern gaming consoles like the Playstation 4.

Chess is not a dead game nor a dying game but a resurgent game whose evolution has grown inclusive of a new generation. For these reasons, this week’s Millionaire Chess tournament was a reflection of that evolution thanks in part to pioneers like Maurice Ashley alongside the players who continue to make Chess a game worth playing.

 

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