The PRO Chess League Begins on Wednesday

PRO Chess League

Are you a fan of the U.S. Chess League?

This year, it’s expanding.

The USCL is becoming the PRO (Professional Rapid Online) Chess League, which is the “combined vision of what the USCL and Chess.com see as the future of high-stakes, top-level, entertaining chess”.

“I’m so excited to bring the U.S. Chess League to Chess.com and form the brand new PRO Chess League. I’ve seen how amazing the Grandmaster Blitz Battles and Titled Tuesdays are and can’t wait for the U.S. Chess League to get the same level of fan participation, exciting commentary and to see some of the top players in the world involved. Now every city in the world will have a chance to prove itself against cities from all over the world. It could be London vs. New York, Barcelona vs. Moscow. I can’t wait to get started!”

-IM Greg Shahade

What are some of the changes?

  • Faster time controls
  • More flexibility in forming and managing teams
  • Allows for “free agent” acquisitions from all over the world

“We’re completely redesigning the league from the ground up. We think the faster time controls will engage the most viewers and that our new rules will attract even stronger teams from all over the world.”

-IM Danny Rensch, Chess.com Vice President

Every Wednesday, beginning on January 11th and running until March, teams will compete against others from around the world. There will be exciting chess to watch live from 11 a.m. EST all the way until midnight.

For the entire schedule, visit 2017 PRO Chess League Schedule.

The Lineup

Carlsen3

Magnus Carlsen’s stats when competing in Chess.com’s record-breaking Blitz Battle Championship last year, which he went on to win

The league has a very impressive line-up of players, including 5 of the World’s top 10 players:

Nakamura1

Hikaru Nakamura – Chess.com’s 2016 Blitz Battle Runner-Up

For a full list of players and teams, visit 2017 PRO Chess League: Teams.

All Play All

One of the most interesting features of the team matches is the all-play-all format. All four players from each team will play games against each other, giving us a chance to see talented up-and-coming players compete against top GMs.

The Format

“The league follows a similar format as typical American sports leagues.”

-IM Greg Shahade, “The Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching the PRO Chess League”

Initially, teams will compete within geographical divisions to allow for more time-zone friendly matches. Then, there will be a playoff stage, and the finale will be a “Championship Weekend” over March 25-26, where the Final Four teams will battle to be #1.

The time control will be 15 minutes with a 2 second increment.

Prizes 

The total prize fund is $50,000 with:

  • $20,000 for the Champions
  • $10,000 for the runner-up
  • $3000 each for 3rd-4th
  • $3000 for the MVP
  • $1000 for the top female player
  • $10,000 dedicated to weekly prizes, awarding achievements such as, the best game, best blog, and best team promotion.

This event is going to revolutionize chess. I’ve never felt that any event has the chance to change the game of chess more than this one. It’s going to be fun, action packed, and an all day spectacle every single week. When we created the rules for this league I asked myself “What is the most exciting possible event that we could create that would also encourage the top players in the world to play?” I think we’ve come up with a good answer in the PRO Chess League. Everything about this event is built to grab your attention and never let it go.”

-IM Greg Shahade, “The Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching the PRO Chess League”

Watch the PRO Chess League live on chess.com, starting Wednesday, January 11th with high-level commentary by hosts, such as:

  • GM Simon Williams
  • GM Max Dlugy
  • GM Irina Krush
  • GM Alex Yermolinsky
  • GM Jesse Kraai
  • GM Dejan Bojkov
  • IM Anna Rudolf
  • IM Lawrence Trent
  • IM David Pruess
  • WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni

For more information, visit:

Comments

  1. A lot of good things about the new league, but I wish there were more local players on each team and fewer (or no) free agents. Reminds me of when Baltimore played Havana in a classical match and players from 40 miles away (who simply wanted the trip) were representing Baltimore instead of using truly local players which the organizers easily could have done.

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