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A Millionaire Chess champion is a student at Saint Louis University

GM Maurice Ashley presents a ceremonial check to Dariusz Swiercz.
David Llada | Millionaire Chess

One of the most attractive and unique open tournaments in the world has just finished. From Oct. 6-9, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City hosted this chess-revolutionizing event – the 3rd Millionaire Chess Open. Players from all around the world came to New Jersey to not only participate in the tournament, but to enjoy the electric atmosphere.

At the end of some very exciting games, the tournament ended with Polish Grandmaster Dariusz Swiercz as the cheerful winner. The 22-year-old former World Junior Champion and current Saint Louis University student beat English Grandmaster Gawain Jones in the finals and clinched the $30,000 check; however, Gawain Jones was still pleased with his silver medal and $15,000.

The Millionaire Chess tournament is unlike any other, and there are many reasons why participants tirelessly fight to win every game:

  • First, the organizers Amy Lee and GM Maurice Ashley, reward chess players for their hard work and dedication with high monetary prizes. This year, the tournament had a guaranteed total of $300,000 in the total prize fund.
  • Even more, chess players are attracted to the tournament model since it recognizes achievements of those who possess far less chess understanding than grandmasters. For instance, Millionaire Chess has sections for players with rating under 2200, U2000, U1800, and U1600.
  • Ultimately, the distinctive tournament model provides adrenalin experience. Players engage in seven grueling rounds (with a time control of 40 moves in 120 minutes and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, always with a 5 second delay), the top four players in the Open section, and many corresponding rating categories, qualify for Millionaire Monday.

Millionaire Monday is the pinnacle of the tournament – qualifiers play two knock-out rounds to determine who wins the top prize. Simply watching the tournament games during Millionaire Monday is exciting, nevermind what it would be like to actually participate!
Other tournament winners included: GM Ioan-Cristian Chirila (2400-2549), FM Igor Sorkin (U2400), Mark Robledo (U2200), Andrew Larson (U2000), V Prudhvi Kumar (U1800), Jonathan A Hirsch (U1600), Darreion Chase Bailey (U1400), and Ryan Tomek (U1200).

A tournament of such caliber is hard to put on, and it would be a huge pity for chess players to lose the opportunity to compete in such a unique tournament. In the end, all the players can do is to hope that the organizers will be able to put on the 4th Millionaire Chess Open in 2017. Tournaments like Millionaire Chess, the Sinquefield Cup and more keep the game of chess alive for the players and enthusiastic fans throughout the world.

More information about Millionaire Chess can be found at millionairechess.com/.

On Chess is provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.

Katerina Nemcova is a Prague-born, Czech chess champion who learned to play at age 4. She won her national youth championship in eight different age categories on her ascent, topping out in 2008 as the Czech Women’s Champion and earning the title again in 2010. She has represented the Czech Republic as a three-time Olympic (2008, 2010, 2012) player and a gold-medalist as the second board at the European Women's Team Championship in 2007. Individually, Nemcova found her international stride after a second-place showing in the 2007 World Youth Championship (Kemer-Antalya, Turkey), followed up with a win at the 2008 European Youth Chess Championship. Nemcova graduated with a degree in public relations from Webster University and was a member of their elite chess team.