FY 2023 Operational Update
World Chess plc (LSE: CHSS), a prominent chess organisation committed to enhancing the global mass market appeal of chess by introducing a variety of innovative chess-related activities, is pleased to present an update on its developments for the full year 2023.
Photos: World Chess
· IPO and admission to trading on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, raising gross proceeds of approx. £3 million
· Opening of the World Chess Club, Berlin
· Launch of the inaugural Armageddon Chess Championship Series and signed it.com Domains as official sponsor in 3-year deal
· Armageddon content shown across 33 television networks, including Bloomberg television in EMEA and CNBC
· Investment in online chess playing platform FIDE Online Arena and introduction of Arena 2.0
· Agreed share subscription with existing shareholder raising approx. €1.5m
Since its admission to the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in April 2023 and raising gross proceeds of approx. £3 million of new funds in the process, World Chess has been executing its multi-channel strategy to take the game to new audiences through media, events, clubs, merchandise and online playing. In September 2023, the Company raised additional funds of approx. €1.5m via a share subscription with an existing shareholder to support its growth projects.
FIDE Online Arena
World Chess is the exclusive operator of FIDE (The International Chess Federation) Online Arena (chessarena.com), the online chess platform, which has 740,000 registered users and provides players with an online rating recognised by the International Chess Federation. After committing further investment, the Company launched Arena 2.0 in October 2023, bringing important upgrades to the platform, including technology upgrades that make the platform one of the fastest in the industry, as well as exciting consumer-facing updates, such as personalised chess board skins. These upgrades are expected to support the Company’s player acquisition strategy, with the inclusion of a revised monthly subscription model and a host of new features that enhance the playing experience.
The FIDE Online Arena’s anti-cheating system, NightWatch, received official certification from FIDE, which underscores the platform’s commitment to fair play and the integrity of online chess competitions.
World Chess Club Berlin
In May, World Chess successfully opened its first club in Berlin. The Company is pleased to report that the club is performing well at this early stage, establishing a cultural hub for the game. Sales have been building through its café, merchandise shop and chess events, such as the staging of the Armageddon Chess Championship Series. World Chess is in the process of assessing sites in other international cities for the opening of additional clubs and hopes to provide an update on this in due course.
World Chess sells merchandise both online, from its partner retailer network and from its Berlin club, with a product range covering both premium chess boards and pieces, clothing and collectibles for chess enthusiasts. New products have been introduced in recent months, including the limited-edition chess map artwork, which was designed by the artist Yuri Gordon as well as an expanded range of chess sets.
Armageddon Championship Series
In March, the inaugural Armageddon Championship Series commenced, with world’s top male and female players competed for the €460,000 total prize fund, which concluded at the Grand Finale held at the World Chess Club Berlin in September. Polish Grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda emerged victorious and took the €80,000 winner’s prize. As part of the commercial development, World Chess signed it.com Domains as the Championships’ official sponsor in a three-year deal worth over €1.2 million.
Armageddon has brought a fresh new twist to chess with its high-speed format and the intensity this creates in matches. The format has proven to be a captivating entertainment product for TV audiences, with the Grand Finale streamed across 147 territories with 33 international broadcasters, including Bloomberg television in EMEA, CNBC, beIN SPORTS, Fox Australia and Sports Tv Turkey, running the highlights.
Commenting on the World Chess’s progress in 2023, Ilya Merenzon, CEO, said: “Chess is one of the oldest sports in the world, yet it’s one of the youngest in terms of commercialisation. It is World Chess’s ambition to reinvent chess for new audiences and new experiences. Some aspects of chess, such as merchandising, have been ignored to date despite the immense rise in popularity globally. In 2023, our first year as a listed company, we invested in products, technology and processes and we now intend to deploy these for the benefit of the investors and the sport in general.”