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NEWS

World Chess Announces Strategic Updates and Celebrates Chess History with Special Edition Sets

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 provide updates on strategic developments, including the appointment of a Chief Marketing Officer, player acquisition metrics, and the continuation of its collaboration with FIDE.

Photo: World Chess

Introducing Andrew Winton as Chief Marketing Officer

World Chess welcomes Andrew Winton, a marketing executive with a proven track record at Amazon, News Corp, EE, Sky, and Kaspersky, as the Chief Marketing Officer, a non-board position. Andrew’s expertise will be pivotal in elevating World Chess’s brand globally, spearheading innovative marketing strategies, and fostering a unified chess community. His leadership will enable the integration of the Company’s diverse offerings, including chessarena.com, the official FIDE gaming platform, chess clubs, and the Armageddon Championship Series, under a cohesive brand identity.

Iconic Chess Pieces Take Center Stage

World Chess is proud to continue its collaboration with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) on the exclusive use of the World Chess Championship sets in the FIDE Championship Matches, the Candidates Tournaments and other elite events through 2024 and 2025. Designed by Pentagram for World Chess, this iconic chess set is one of the most popular chess sets in the world and is a key piece of the World Chess merchandising portfolio. The set is manufactured by World Chess for use in the Championship cycle and is also sold online and in premier retail outlets around the world, including Harrods, London.

Celebratory Special Edition Sets

Ahead of the FIDE Candidates Tournament in April 2024 and the FIDE World Championship Match in November 2024, the Company is excited to launch a special edition chess set. This limited edition set offers chess enthusiasts worldwide a piece of chess history.
FIDE Online Arena’s Metrics

World Chess runs the official FIDE gaming platform, chessarena.com. Following the Arena 2.0 update in October 2023, World Chess is delighted to report growth in FIDE Online Arena’s user base, which now has 740,000 registered users and includes 8,500 Pro members – paying members who have their own, unique FIDE ID. Following several marketing campaigns, the platform is reporting the direct cost of acquisition at €37 for its paid subscribers, well below the annual subscription price of €50, underscoring the platform’s value and exclusive role as the only official gaming platform that is authorised to issue online ratings and titles recognised by FIDE.

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive Officer of World Chess, said: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew Winton as our Chief Marketing Officer. Engaging a talented and experienced CMO brings us experience and industry knowledge that will help us on our mission to take the next step into promoting chess as a modern sport. We have also been focused on product development, ensuring that we continue producing desirable products with modern designs that will engage the global chess community.

‘As we look ahead, we look forward to developing World Chess as both a brand and community, whilst carefully managing our resources towards the scaling of marketing efforts across our entire ecosystem.’

Launch of Women’s Wednesday Online Tournament Series

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 announce the launch of Women’s Wednesday Online Tournament Series, Swiss Queens Wednesday, in partnership with the International Chess Federation (FIDE).

This new weekly event is dedicated to elevating women’s participation in the sport and will be hosted on the (https://chessarena.com/swiss-qweens-wednesday?utm_content=article FIDE Online Arena platform)) as the Company strives to empower women within the chess community. The Series will leverage proprietary technology to ensure fair play and global participation on the FIDE Online Arena using World Chess’ Night Watch Fair Play Suite, technology which will analyse games, with players required to join a monitored Zoom meeting during games.

World Chess and FIDE hope the Series will offer all titled women chess players the chance to challenge stereotypes, inspire future generations, and demonstrate their strategic prowess on a global stage. As FIDE celebrates its 100th anniversary it marks this milestone by reinforcing its commitment to promoting gender diversity through chess.

The tournaments in the Series will take place on the FIDE Online Arena every Wednesday, at 17:00 CET, starting on Wednesday, 31 January 2024, and are open to all women who hold FIDE or Arena titles. Prizes totaling USD $1,000 per tournament will be awarded, with a potential prize fund of USD $100,000.

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive Officer of World Chess said: “As we launch the Women’s Wednesday Online Tournament Series, we’re not just setting up chess boards; we’re building a community. This innovation goes beyond the sport. It’s about giving a voice and a stage to women in chess, encouraging them to showcase not only their strategic acumen but also their personalities and stories through streaming.

‘I hope that every move will inspire someone watching. I am also looking forward to working with female athletes to collectively enhance chessarena.com, making it their preferred permanent home for online chess.’

Dana Reizniece-Ozola, FIDE Managing Director, stated: ‘The Women’s Wednesday Online Tournament Series marks a significant milestone in FIDE’s ongoing commitment to gender equality in chess. This series isn’t just about playing a game; it’s about empowering women to take centre stage in an arena they have long been a part of.

‘We encourage participants to stream their games, showcasing not just their chess skills but also their unique personalities and perspectives. This is more than a tournament – it’s a movement towards a more inclusive and dynamic chess community.’

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

Highlights:

· 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.

Merchandise

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.”

Rise of online chess platforms sees a 41% decline in UK chess club membership

The UK government’s proposed £1 million investment in chess is coming at the right time according to a YouGov poll, conducted in association with World Chess and it.com Domains, which shows an extensive decline in chess club memberships. Only 6% of those who continue to play either regularly or within the past 12 months have a chess club member in the UK, whilst 41.2% have historically been a chess club member, but have left over time.

UK player numbers static

The decline in membership of the traditional chess club correlates to the ascension of online chess platforms, with the overall percentage of the UK population who play chess on a regular basis or within the last 12 months remaining flat at 13% over the past 10 years. The percentage proportion of male to female players has also remained consistent at 69% and 31% respectively.

London & South East is the UK’s chess hot spot

London and the South East of England was the only region where the survey found a meaningful number of players who are currently members of a chess club, at 5.6% but still recorded a 43% reduction in terms of players rescinding their chess club memberships over time. The same region also recorded the highest proportion of players, with 17.3% of the survey group playing either regularly or within the past year. This climbed to 21% when counting London alone.

The second most populous UK chess region was Northern Ireland, with 11.5%, closely followed by Scotland with 11% and the North of England with 10.5% The Midlands had the lowest proportion of players at 6% followed by Wales with 7.7%.

Germany outperforms the UK with 17% growth in chess participation

The results of the UK survey come in comparison to a German survey, with data showing player numbers increasing by 17% over the past 10 years in Germany. The survey indicated that 23.3% of Germany’s 83 million population is either playing regularly or has played within the past 12 months, up from 19.9% in 2012. 18.9% of regular players were shown to also be members of chess clubs, whilst 32.7% of those who play either regularly or within the past 12 months had left their chess clubs over time.

Low awareness of elite-level chess

The survey also found that a minimal 2% of the participants could name the current Chess World Champion, China’s Ding Liren, whilst 9% incorrectly thought it was the previously reigning champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen. German participants only did marginally better, with 3% knowing Ding Liren but a higher 10% assumed it was still Magnus Carlsen.

When the UK participants were asked where the current Champion was from, 7% correctly answered China, whilst 16% incorrectly believed Russia and another 8% Norway. These findings weren’t dissimilar to those in Germany where 3% correctly identified China as the Champion’s home country whilst 11% and 10% answered with Russia and Norway respectively.

Commenting on the survey, Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, said:“Whilst online chess platforms deliver the game on-demand, it has always been a sociable pastime. Chess player numbers have remained consistent over the past 10 years, but we expect that Covid has also impacted chess club membership, as it has with other leisure pursuits. The UK government’s recently announced plans to invest in chess initiatives, which we are hopeful will help generate new clubs and foster a new generation of players.

‘As an international chess organisation, we do see a trend in the de-virtualization of chess, and people’s interest in not playing alone. We recently opened World Chess Club Berlin, Germany, where we are focused on redefining the traditional chess club culture by creating a dedicated hub for playing, socialising and hosting tournaments, and where membership is not required. Building on the early success of this model and the interest we have seen from people wanting to play chess in an entertaining environment, we are looking to open new sites in other major city locations.’



Andrey Insarov, CEO of it.com Domains, added: ‘We recognize the transformative power of online chess platforms in fostering a global community of chess enthusiasts. The decline in chess club membership underscores the importance of supporting and embracing these traditional institutions. By leveraging the digital realm, they can not only reach new audiences but also invigorate and strengthen chess communities worldwide, ensuring the timeless game of chess continues to thrive, both offline and online. Together with our partner World Chess, we are committed to supporting this intelligent sport, providing its community with the right tools and resources to stay relevant and thrive.’

Survey results by UK region (2,136 participants)

UK Region % who has played chess within last 12 months % of players surveyed currently a chess club member % of players surveyed who have not renewed the membership over time
London & South East 17.3 5.6 43
Northern Ireland 11.5 0 17.6
Scotland 11.0 1.6 8.1
North 10.5 0 22
East 10.4 0 45
South West 8.1 0 9.9
Wales 7.7 0 16.7
Midlands 6.0 1.7 40

Only 3% of Germans know the name of the current world champion

A recent survey, conducted by YouGov and World Chess, examining the popularity of chess, found that only 3% of Germans could correctly identify the current Chess World Champion.

Despite an estimated 19 million regular and casual players in Germany, the survey showed that only 3% of those surveyed could correctly name China’s Ding Liren as the current champion after he took the title from Norway’s Magnus Carlsen earlier this year. The survey also observed that 10% believed that Carlsen still held the world champion title.

At the same time, a staggering 65% of survey participants stated that they simply did not know the current champion’s name, a further indication that elite-level chess still carries a relatively low profile compared to other sports.

The survey by research company YouGov and World Chess found that awareness in the UK was even lower, with only 2% able to correctly identify the current World Chess Champion, whilst, similarly to in Germany, 9% thought it was Magnus Carlsen.

Similar trends were observed when respondents were asked about the Champion’s country of origin. Only 7% of respondents in the UK and 3% in Germany correctly identified China as the Champion’s home country, while 16% in the UK and 11% in Germany erroneously believed the current Champion was from Russia. Norway followed closely, with 8% of respondents in the UK and 10% in Germany incorrectly assuming the Champion hailed from there. These findings indicate a persistent misconception among a growing percentage of individuals who continue to associate the World Champion with Magnus Carlsen.

Another finding in the survey suggests that chess appears to be more popular among the younger generation of both the UK and Germany. Notably, 7% of respondents aged 18 to 24 correctly named the World Chess Champion, compared to only 1% among those aged 55 and above.

Commenting on the findings, Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive Officer of World Chess, said: “The data shows that chess, despite its popularity, is still a startup and is phenomenally promising for us and other chess companies.

‘We are focused on reinventing the sport for the lifestyle audience, investing in educational initiatives, engaging with communities, and celebrating all things chess. Our goal is to create an inclusive environment where every player, regardless of their experience, can find enjoyment in this centuries-old sport. We are also excited to establish environments, both online and offline, where chess fans can come together and enjoy each other’s company. ‘

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World Chess Unveils the First-Ever Chess Map: A Geographical Masterpiece

World Chess is delighted to announce the release of the first-ever chess map of the world that blends the intricate worlds of chess and geography. This unique cartographic creation, where continents and places are crafted from chess openings with geographical names, promises to be a collector’s delight.

Map of the World in 150+ chess openings

The island of Sicily, for instance, is artfully represented by the Sicilian Defense, an opening that has long fascinated grandmasters and novices alike. From the English Opening to the Scandinavian Defense, every geographical reference in the world of chess finds its rightful place on this map. The map features over 150 chess openings, ranging from the Latvian Gambit to German Defense of the Polish Sokolsky Opening.

“We wanted to create something that resonated with both chess enthusiasts and lovers of unique design,” says Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess. “This map shows chess’ deep-rooted connections to various cultures and places. It’s a piece that invites exploration, both of the world and of the game. It’s also a design marvel and one of the most beautiful maps I’ve ever seen,” adds Merenzon.

The map will likely become a staple in chess clubs and in chess collectors’ homes. Printed on premium-quality paper with intricate detailing, the map is perfect for framing and would make a sophisticated addition to any study, library, or living space. It’s a celebration of the game’s universal charm and its ability to bridge continents and cultures.

The World Chess Openings Map was designed by Yuri Gordon for World Chess, principle typeface Kings Game, type vendor Letterhead Studio.

The limited edition of the map is printed in Berlin on museum-quality Hahnemühle paper, one of the oldest paper-mills in the world. The chess map is now available for purchase through World Chess’s official website.

For press inquiries or high-resolution images of the map, please contact World Chess’s media relations team at media@worldchess.com.

Reserve your map today

Duda Triumphs in 2023 Armageddon Championship Series: A Game-Changer for Chess

Grandmaster from Poland Jan-Krzysztof Duda emerged victorious in the thrilling 2023 Armageddon Championship Series, clinching a remarkable €80,000 prize. Wesley So secured the runner-up position with a commendable €20,000 prize. This championship marks a significant milestone in the world of chess, highlighting the growing importance of short-form chess formats and broadcasting innovations.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda receiving his price on stage

Key Highlights:

Armageddon Championship Series Winner: Duda’s chess brilliance led to his well-deserved championship win, solidifying his position as a formidable chess player on the global stage. He managed to perform the best under enormous pressure.

Diverse Competitors: The grand finale featured a star-studded lineup of chess talents, including Wesley So, Sam Shankland, Gukesh D, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Bibisara Assaubayeva, Humpy Koneru, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and Richard Rapport. Their intense battles captivated audiences worldwide, with huge interest coming from India, the Philippines, Germany, and the US.

Global Broadcast: The 2023 Armageddon Championship Series became one of the year’s most-watched chess events, reaching audiences through 18 online and TV platforms. Major networks like CNBC, BeIN Sports, Channel 4, and FOX Australia brought the excitement of chess to a global audience.

Modern Presentation: World Chess, the event’s organizing body, unveiled a custom-made studio that redefines chess aesthetics. This innovative approach emphasizes chess as a dynamic, contemporary, and electrifying spectacle, setting the stage for the future of the game. The broadcast featured the players’ heart rates, one of the most talked-about features in the series.

Heart-Pounding Stats:

  • Wesley So: Recorded a heart rate of 178 bpm during the competition.
  • Sam Shankland: Registered 129 bpm in heart rate.
  • Jan-Krzysztof Duda: Maintained a heart rate of 144 bpm.
  • Nodirbek Abdusattorov: Showcased 145 bpm in heart rate.
  • Richard Rapport: Recorded 179 bmp in heart rate.
  • Gukesh D: Achieved a heart rate of 144 bpm.
  • Humpy Koneru: Maintained 173 bpm in heart rate.
  • Bibisara Assaubayeva: Registered 145 bpm in heart rate.

Prize Money Stats:

Jan-Krzysztof Duda — 88 000 EUR
Wesley So — 58 000 EUR
Nodirbek Abdusattorov — 28 000 EUR
Richard Rapport — 38 000 EUR
Gukesh D — 28 000 EUR
Sam Shankland — 18 000 EUR
Humpy Koneru — 18 000 EUR
Bibisara Assaubayeva — 28 000 EUR

The Significance of Armageddon in Chess:

The Armageddon format has injected a new dimension of excitement into chess. It challenges players to balance strategy and speed, making it a true test of skill under pressure. This groundbreaking format has captured the imagination of chess enthusiasts worldwide, reinvigorating the game for modern audiences.

Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, commented, “The Armageddon Championship Series has not only increased engagement but also brought a fresh perspective to chess. We anticipate the next season, where top-tier players will once again go head-to-head in this dynamic format. We also feel that the event is a sandbox of chess innovations, and we will continue adding features that make chess a spectator sport.”

Andrey Insarov, Chief Executive Officer at it.com Domains, expressed his enthusiasm regarding the recently concluded Armageddon Championship Series 2023: “We are delighted to have witnessed the remarkable fusion of intelligence and skill in the Armageddon Series. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the deserving winner for their truly outstanding performance. It was an incredible spectacle! At it.com Domains, we are genuinely excited about our meaningful partnership with World Chess and our role in supporting this prestigious sport.”

Mark Your Calendars:

The inaugural season of Armageddon has left us hungry for more. Chess fans worldwide are encouraged to mark their calendars for the return of Armageddon in 2024.

Relive the Action:

For those who missed the heart-pounding action or wish to delve deeper into the competition, exclusive interviews, and highlights, World Chess invites you to visit their official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@theworldchess/streams.

Leading partners supporting the Armageddon Championship Series:
The it.com Domains as the Official Partner;
FIDE Online Arena as the Official Gaming Platform;
Kaspersky as the Official Cybersecurity Partner.

The most innovative chess event is back: The Armageddon Series Grand Finale begins today!

The Armageddon Championship Series 2023, a chess tournament designed for live TV broadcast, returns for its thrilling final stage. From September 14 to September 20, top-tier chess players, including Wesley So, Sam Shankland, Gukesh D, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Bibisara Assaubayeva, Humpy Koneru, Richard Rapport, and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, will converge for a seven-day, double-elimination showdown under intense time pressure, all vying for the coveted Armageddon Championship Title and a substantial prize fund of €200,000.

Sam Shankland, Gukesh D and Bibisara Assaubayeva at the technical meeting and opening event at the World Chess Club Berlin | photos: Max Avdeev

Starting with America’s Week in March and followed by Asia and Oceania, Women’s Week, and then the Europe and Africa Series, every match has been filled with nail-biting intensity, measured by live heartbeats and calorie burn levels, culminating in the apocalyptic Grand Finale in September.

As qualifiers, the Grand Finale will be hosted in the Armageddon Studio in Berlin, designed to captivate fans beyond the traditional chess audience. With its high-stakes, super-fast game structure, pioneering design, nail-biting drama, sky-high heart rates, and rule-breaking moves, Armageddon is set to redefine the world of chess once again. These technical innovations make it easy for fans with almost no chess background to follow the games and support their favorite players.

Spectators will witness daily matchups consisting of two blitz games (3+2). In case of a tie, the gripping tension will be resolved through an Armageddon game, granting white five minutes and black four minutes to make their moves. This format guarantees heart-pounding drama.

The Armageddon Championship Series: Grand Finale boasts an unprecedented prize fund that underscores the significance of this chess event, with remarkable rewards for participants: 1st place – €80,000, 2nd place – €40,000, 3rd-4th places – €20,000 each, and 5th-8th places – €10,000 each.

To catch all the live action with lightning-fast moves and cutting-edge analysis provided by GM Simon Williams and WGM Jovanka Houska, tune in to the World Chess YouTube channel or any of the 17 global television channels.

For the first few days, the players were divided into pairs as follows:

Day 1:
Gukesh D vs. Wesley So
Jan-Krzysztof Duda vs. Sam Shankland

Link to the broadcast of Day 1

Day 2:
Nodirbek Abdusattorov vs. Richard Rapport
Humpy Koneru vs. Bibisara Assaubayeva

The pairings on the upcoming days will be established using the double-elimination system and will be determined by the results of the previous days.

Leading partners supporting the Armageddon Championship Series:

It.com as the Official Partner
FIDE Online Arena as the Official Gaming Platform
Kaspersky as the Official Cybersecurity Partner

Day 1 Armageddon Grand Finale

Armageddon Championship Finale to Start In Berlin

The Armageddon Championship Series Finale is set to start in Berlin, Germany. An eventful year of chess rounds up with the most exciting format of them all — Armageddon. Taking place from September 14th to 20th, this high-stakes series will be broadcast across a network of 17 international television channels, making it an event of unparalleled magnitude.

Top-tier chess players, including luminaries such as Wesley So, Sam Shankland, Gukesh D, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Bibisara Assaubayeva, Humpy Koneru, Richard Rapport, and Jan-Krzysztof Duda, will converge for a seven-day, double-elimination showdown under intense time pressure. The ultimate goal: to secure the coveted Armageddon Championship Title and a substantial €200,000 prize fund.

The journey to the Grand Finale has been marked by hard-fought victories in regional qualifiers and the special Women’s Week. Spectators will be witnessing the action featuring daily matchups consisting of two blitz games (with a three-minute base time and a two-second move increment). In the event of a deadlock, the gripping tension will be resolved through an Armageddon game, wherein White has five minutes and Black has four minutes to make their moves – a format that promises heart-stopping drama.

The Armageddon Championship Series: Grand Finale boasts an unprecedented prize fund that underscores the significance of this chess event, with remarkable rewards for participants: 1st place – 80,000 EUR, 2nd place – 40,000 EUR, 3rd-4th places – 20,000 EUR each, and 5th-8th places – 10,000 EUR each.

An electrifying experience is guaranteed for viewers of the Grand Finale, complete with thrilling battles between women and men, and an array of captivating features. These include real-time tracking of players’ heart rates and expended calories, alongside lightning-fast moves and cutting-edge analysis from GM Simon Williams and WGM Jovanka Houska.

To catch the action, tune in to the World Chess YouTube channel or any of the 17 global television platforms.

For the first few days, the players were divided into pairs as follows:

Day 1:

Gukesh D — Wesley So
Jan-Krzysztof Duda — Sam Shankland

Day 2:

Nodirbek Abdusattorov — Richard Rapport
Humpy Koneru — Bibisara Assaubayeva

The pairings on the upcoming days will be established using the double-elimination system and will be determined by the results of the previous days.

Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, shared his excitement, stating, “The Armageddon Series reaches its peak. The best male and female chess players will face each other and test themselves under immense time pressure for €200,000 and the Armageddon Championship title. We anticipate thrilling matches and drama akin to a Netflix series, and we invite the audience to immerse themselves in the Armageddon experience and passionately support their favorite players!”

Sandro Cisco, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky, added: “As steadfast cybersecurity partners of World Chess events, we proudly endorse the innovative Armageddon Championship Series 2023. The Grand Finale is coming, during which the most prominent chess players will face off in a battle where their ability to react quickly and cope with new challenges will be a decisive step on their path towards victory. Swift adaptability and the ability to meet new challenges are the core which these outstanding players share with Kaspersky experts. Chess and cybersecurity both represent the epitome of human intellect, infused knowledge and experience. We are confident this event will provide all the players and viewers with an unforgettable experience, unveiling novel perspectives on the enchanting game of chess.”

Leading partners supporting the Armageddon Championship Series:
Kaspersky as the Official Cybersecurity Partner;
FIDE Online Arena as the Official Gaming Platform;
It.com as the Official Partner.

World Chess Statement on Transgender Rights and Inclusivity in Chess

At World Chess, we believe in the power of chess to unite people across diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and identities. The recent policy introduced by FIDE concerning transgender players has sparked important conversations within the chess community, and we feel compelled to share our stance on this critical issue.

We stand in support of transgender rights and the inclusion of transgender individuals in the sport of chess. Chess, at its core, is a battle of wits, strategy, and endurance, transcending physical barriers. We think that it is obvious that everyone, regardless of gender identity, deserves the opportunity to compete, grow, and excel in this intellectual sport.

The decision to restrict transgender women from participating in female-only events, pending a lengthy analysis, raises profound concerns about inclusivity and fairness. We acknowledge the complexity of ensuring competitive fairness across all categories of play but emphasize the importance of approaching this challenge with empathy, inclusivity, and respect for individual rights.

We are disheartened by the implications of FIDE’s policy for transgender players, potentially placing them in a position where they must choose between their identity and their passion for chess. This not only contradicts the spirit of inclusivity but also overlooks the mental and emotional well-being of individuals affected by these regulations.

In light of these developments, World Chess commits to:

— Advocating for policies that promote inclusivity and respect for all players, including transgender individuals, in chess tournaments and events worldwide.
— Engaging with transgender players, experts, and advocacy groups to ensure that their voices and needs are considered in the development of policies affecting their participation in chess.
— Supporting initiatives and research aimed at understanding the impact of gender identity on competitive fairness in chess, with the goal of establishing guidelines that are both inclusive and equitable.

Chess has the unique ability to bring people together, challenging us to think deeply not only about the game in front of us but also about the world around us.

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