CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – It’s a game of skill, planning, an orchestrated attack. It’s a game 25-year-old Daniel Naroditsky has played for 20 years.
“I wasn’t planning when I was in college to make chess my career,” Naroditsky said. “[and] here I am living in charlotte and streaming, commentating, coaching for a living.”
Naroditsky is a grandmaster, which is the highest title someone can have in chess. He started streaming games on Twitch, and he got an overwhelming response.
“It was just another method of procrastinating at first, but then it blew up,” he said.
So much so that another user looking for a way to give back to the chess community offered to donate a Bitcoin to a competition hosted by the Charlotte Chess Center.
“At first, I thought it was too good to be true,” said Charlotte Chess Center founder, Peter Giannatos, “but this particular person was very involved in the online chess community.”
The mysterious donor?
Giannatos told FOX 46, “without giving too much information, we can say that he goes by “Montana Chess” on Twitch.”
“He already had the Bitcoin,” Giannatos said, “and it was a matter of a transfer of the bitcoin to a crypto wallet.”
The format is speed chess, and only the top 20 players in the U.S. 25 years old or younger were eligible. Each one is hoping to capture the prize.
“For an online tournament with a one Bitcoin prize fund is tremendous,” Naroditsky said. “It’s essentially almost unheard of.”
Naroditzky says the grand prize in an online event like this would normally fetch $500-$2,000.
“I think the melding of two worlds experiencing a boom, obviously cryptocurrency and chess, I think is bound to be a hit!” he said.
The competition starts Thursday and wraps up Sunday. Each competitor will walk away with something, and the champion will get just under a third of the Bitcoin, which as of the time of this story would amount to $18,000.