Algorand founder Silvio Micali played a Blockchain-recorded chess game against grandmaster Sergey Karjakin. This marked a historic moment for the fifteen hundred year old game.

Gentlemen are cheating too

The match, which was the inaugural game for FIDE Online Arena, was broadcast via World Chess. Although chess is considered a gentleman’s game, cheating presents a real challenge to its integrity. The hope is that recording games transparently and immutably using blockchain technology will help curtail existing problems.

Chess has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as much as other sports. Timing was in fact rather apt, as competition had moved entirely online over the preceding months.

Most historic game since Deep Blue — Kasparov

The game pitted two heavy weights (though from admittedly different arenas) against each other. Micali is a Turing Award recipient whose work greatly contributed to the field of cryptography. Karjakin is one of the world’s best chess players, and also holds the distinction of achieving the grandmaster title at the age of 12 — the youngest ever. Perhaps, this was the most historic game since Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997.

Karjakin had the white pieces, and although Micali put up a gallant fight, eventually he was checkmated by the grandmaster.

Grandmasters love crypto

After the game, both combatants opined that they see great potential synergies between chess and blockchain. Kajakin confirmed that many grandmasters are interested in crypto and blockchain, and he personally owns some cryptocurrency, although not much. Micali suggested that perhaps in the future, Algorand will create a grant aimed at popularization of chess around the world.

Micali observed that both chess and blockchain have things in common — they bring people together regardless of their background.