Online casino’s, poker rooms, bookmakers, lottery & bingo sites are nothing new. However to my knowledge one of the oldest and most famous past-times has never been contested over the world wide web for money. What am I talking about?
It launched at the end of June 2008 and its called ultimatecheckmate.com. Its tagline is “the future of competitive chess”.
Now chess tournaments to win cash prizes are nothing new and neither is playing for money threw correspondence chess but playing live chess for money over the internet as far as I’m aware has never been done before.
Could it be the future?
Poker became a global phenomenon in the last decade. Now there’s countless hours of TV devoted to it. Cable and Network programming. Its big business and intoxicating viewing.
Players are becoming celebrities and poker is no longer “that” game played in dimly lit smoked filled basements.
Poker is without a doubt the king of the mountain with Texas hold’em the crown jewels but one could argue that chess is the far superior game. You see poker isn’t just about skill, there’s the luck factor and to not sound like a bitter loser it doesn’t matter how good you are at poker, how many books you’ve read, how many hours you’ve put in or if you do everything right you still cant beat lady luck should she decide to rear her ugly head.
Chess however is pure skill. The best man (or woman) will always win and that’s how it should be.
If I played Roger Federer at tennis I’d get destroyed. I’d be lucky to get a single point off him. If I played a top chess grandmaster I’d get annihilated without my opponent even breaking a sweat but if I or anyone of the street played the top ranked poker player in the world I could beat them, they wouldn’t even be much of a favourite, all because of the luck factor.
Chess should be top of the mountain. it’s the vastly superior game and the ultimate battle of wits.
Playing for money isn’t technically gambling either as the definition of gambling is to play a game of chance and there is no chance in chess.
The question I have is this: Is playing chess for cash right or wrong? Does it add some spice to the battle or does it demean the spirit of the game? Should we leave the dollars, pounds and Euro’s out of it and just play for pride?
If your familiar with sky bet you’ll know there motto is “it matters more when there’s money on it!”.
I agree. I have a competitive nature but bragging rites is not enough for me. I say not that it matters more if there’s money on it but if there’s no money on it, who really cares. If there’s nothing to lose then what have you really gained.
The difference between winning and losing should mean something to you and if it doesn’t then why are you even playing in the first place. If you need some incentive to get you into that mindset put a big hand-full of your hard earned cash on it. Make things interesting.
There’s a line it fight club that goes “your never alive like you are in fight club”. I say your never alive like you are in a casino, or at the races, or playing poker or playing chess for cash.
You want to feel a rollercoaster of emotions? Withdraw a months wages and take it down a casino. Put two weeks pay on red at the roulette table and watch the dealer spin that ball. You’ll never be wider awake, you’ll never be more alive. You’ll be able to feel your heart pumping through your chest and your senses heightened. Either way a tidal wave of emotion is coming your way. The elation of winning or the despair of defeat. That’s emotion. that’s living in the moment . that’s being alive. It’s a drug but the effects are not synthetic, this is real.
Win and you’re a hero, lose and you’re a failure, an idiot, an addict. You’ll be worshipped or spat on over something you really had no control over.
Gambling addicts who sit around in group therapy, are they addicts or are they just the one’s who lost. Just think if the dice had turned the other way they’d be sitting on a tropical island. People wouldn’t be looking down on them then would they. Notice you don’t ever see a gamblers anonymous meeting filled with men and women in flashy designer clothes and expensive jewellery. You’ve only got a problem if you lost.
But of course playing chess for money is something completely different as its about skill though it can invoke the same genuine emotions and this time the difference between winning and losing is 100% in your hands. You can work on your game, become a student of the sport. To hell with lady luck, chess rewards talent and ability, something that can be nurtured.
Once you think your ready you’ll need to test yourself, see how good you really are and there’s only one way and currently one place to do it.
Playing for the sake of playing is one thing but lets see how good you are when you’ve put your own money on the line. That’s what will separate the men from the boys.
Should we compete for money or does it devalue the game. I think it adds to the challenge and I’ve never been more excited about chess then since I’ve started competing for money but I can understand why others think its morally wrong and a cancer to the game they love. I’ve posted this question on chessforums.org and would love to hear other’s points of view.
If you fancy a game of chess meet me on Ultimate Checkmate. My username is BVBVBV. They’ll have to be some money on it though. Now I’ve played for cash not playing for money just seems meaningless.