So crushes Caruana in Dortmund Sparkassen chess tourney


By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Wesley So bounced back from his opening-day loss with a smashing win over highly-regarded Fabiano Caruana in the second round of the Dortmund Sparkassen chess championship in Dortmund, Germany.

The 21-year-old So came through with the precise moves in a rook, pawn and minor pieces endgame to prevail over his potential U.S. teammate and rival.

So’s connected pawns on the kingside decided the issue, with Caruana failing to prevent the pawn advance with his knight and bishop.

“Exciting game with a lot of actions from both sides, ” said analyst Alexander Dechev. ” If So continues to play like that, he has very good chances to win the tournament.”

Dechev, a grandmaster, had a very technical analysis of the game on the website, pointing out that Caruana had several chances to pull out a draw and even had potentially winning lines.

In the end, So appeared more prepared in the complicated game that eventually settled into a Sicilian and ended after 69 moves.

The victory somehow erased concerns after So’s preparation and fitness to play against some of the world’s best after a disastrous first game, which he lost to Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu.

Nisipeanu, a former Romanian No. 1, now playing for Germany, is respected for his creative games and is now leading the tournament with two points after his second straight victory against Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany.

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik also recovered from his first-round loss with a quick 28-move win over female grandmaster Hou Yifan of China.

He now shares a crowded tie for second with So and four other players, each with one point in two games.

The Moves:

Caruana vs. So

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 b5 8. g4 b4
9.Nd5Nxd5 10.exd5h5 11.gxh5Rxh5 12.a3bxa3 13.Rxa3Nd7 14.Bg2Nf6

15. O-O Rb8 16. f4 Be7 17. c4 Qb6+ 18. Rf2 Rh4 19. Rc3 Bd7 20. b3 Bxh3
21. Bxh3 Ne4 22. Qe1 Nxc3 23. Qxc3 Qxb3 24. Qxb3 Rxb3 25. Bc8 e4
26. Bxa6 Bd8 27. c5 dxc5 28. Rg2 g6 29. Rg3 Rxg3+ 30. Nxg3 Rg4 31. Kh2 f5
32. Ne Rh4+ 33. Kg2 Bc7 34. Bc8 Kd8 35. Be6 Ke7 36. Be3 Bd6 37. Bf2 Rh8
38 Be1 c4 39. Bc3 Ra8 40. Be5 Ra2 41. Kf1 Rd2 42. Bc3 Rd3 43. Ba5 Ba3
44. Bg8 Bd6 45. Be6 Bc5 46. Ke1 Rb3 47. Kd2 Rb2+ 48. Kd1 Bb4 49. Bxb4+ Rxb4
50. Kc2 Rb3 51. Nc3 e3 52. Bg8 Rb6 53. Ne2 Ra6 54. d6+ Rxd6
55. Bxc4 Kf6 56. Bd3 g5 57. fxg5+ Kxg5 58. Ng3 Rc6+ 59. Kd1 f4 60. Nf1 Rb6
61. Nh2 Kh4 62. Ke1 Kg3 63. Nf1+ Kf3 64. Nh2+ Kg2 65. Nf1 Re6 66. Bc4 Re5
67. Ba6 Ra5 68. Bb7+ Kg1 69. Nxe3 Re5 0-1



Growing clout of Asians and Latinos in Nevada

Rozita Lee (front row, standing) and her volunteers register voters at the Seafood City in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY ROZITA LEE.

Rozita Lee (front row, standing) and her volunteers register voters at the Seafood City in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY ROZITA LEE.


By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – New immigration data released by a Washington, D.C. think tank show the growing clout of immigrants, particularly Asians and Latinos, in Nevada.

The Immigration Policy Research Center, which provides non-partisan research and advice to policy-makers, the media and the public, said Asians and Latinos are gaining more political and economic power in the Silver State.

“Fewer states have Asians and Latinos showed growing political and economic muscle as is apparent in Nevada,” the think-tank said in a 2014 update of immigration analysis on census data.

Among the key findings:

  • One-third of all Nevadans are either Asian or Latino.
  • 86.8 percent of children with immigrant parents are U.S. citizens.
  • 40.9 percent of Nevada immigrants (or 253,675 people) were naturalized citizens in 2011.
  • Latinos have a total purchasing power of $16.3 billions; Asians, $9.4 billions in 2014.
  • In 2007, when data was last available, Latino businesses have $3.2 billion in sales receipts and employed 21,922 people
  • For the same year, Asian businesses had $3.8 billion in sales receipts and employed 23,862 people.

While the English proficiency of Asian and Latino children continue to improve, the number of college graduates from the two communities are increasing, the Immigration Policy Center said.

Filipino Americans are the largest Asian ethnic group in Nevada and the premiere city of Las Vegas, with estimates ranging from 30,000 to 100,000.

They are employed mostly as nurses, doctors, therapists and other healthcare professionals and as card dealers in casinos.

“Our goal has always been to increase our number of registered voters,” said Rozita Lee, a popular Filipino-American community leader. “We can get the attention of Nevada’s political leaders when we have the numbers to show for.”

Snapshot of Asian American businesses. PHOTO BE ASIAN AMERICAN BUSINESS EXPO.

Snapshot of Asian American businesses. PHOTO BE ASIAN AMERICAN BUSINESS EXPO.



U.S. chess magazine features Fil-Am chess school


Ted Castro and his staff of NorCal House of Chess on the cover of Chess Life.

Ted Castro and his staff of NorCal House of Chess on the cover of Chess Life.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – A Filipino-American chess school has been featured on the cover of Chess Life, monthly magazine of the U.S. Chess Federation in recognition of its efforts to promote chess among young people in the Bay Area.

NorCal House of Chess in Fremont, California was honored on the cover of the magazine’s May issue for winning an unprecedented third national U.S. amateur team championships, among many other accomplishments this year.

“We’re very happy and excited because it seems our hard work has paid off,” said Ted Castro, founder of the chess school. “We’re proud that we not only can teach but show our students by example how to win championships.”

A life-long chess enthusiast, Castro opened NorCal after teaching chess to several kids and getting early success, including mentoring an eighth-year-old, who became the world’s youngest FIDE master, a title bestowed to normally older players.

The school has won team titles in the regional and state level as well. In addition, Castro’s students have captured individual honors, including the gold medal in the North American Youth championships in Mexico.

Another student, Ashrita Eswaran, won the U.S. Junior Girls championship last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and will compete in the World Youth championship in Greece later this year.

Fourteen other students are taking part in the Greece Youth championships, and five others are going to Colombia for the Pam Am Youth tournament.

“It’s been a great year, and we’re not even halfway there,” Castro said.

Aside from developing chess players, Castro said they are also keen on hiring coaches, particularly Filipino grandmasters.

“They are great teachers – and we can also provide them jobs,” said Castro, who has on his staff Grandmasters Enrico Sevillano, Ricardo de Guzman and FM Ronald Cusi.

Most of the 100 or so students admitted to the school each year, few are Filipino-Americans, however, and Castro said he wants to see more of them.

With plans to open similar schools in Canada and Los Angeles, and maybe in the Philippines, more Filipino and Filipino-American kids are expected to join, he said.

Castro said that right now, the school is self-funded. “But we hope to strike up partnerships and sponsorships with more companies to train more kids and hire more coaches,” he said.








Renaissance of American chess

Chess grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Faiano Caruana, two of the new pillars  of American chess. FIDE GRAND PRIX.

Chess grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Faiano Caruana, two of the new pillars of American chess. FIDE GRAND PRIX.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – With three players among the world’s Top 10, experts predict a renaissance of American chess, perhaps like in the 1930s when American players dominated the game.

Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So provide the U.S. a realistic shot at the gold medal in the chess Olympiad in 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan, which Americans won for the last time in Israel in 1976.

The Soviet Union and other countries boycotted that Olympiad in Haifa for political reasons, and the U.S. came close to winning only one time after that – in 1998 when it won the silver in Elista, Russia.

China is the new king of the block after winning the last Olympiad in 2014 in Tromso, Narway, but the Americans are coming in force.

The arrival of the 22-year-old Caruana, an Italian-American, gives the U.S. more than an even chance.

Rated No. 2 in the world in live ranking with 2805 points, behind only world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, with 2876 points, the hard-charging Caruana will be a strong anchor of the U.S. Olympic team.

The 27-year-old Nakamura, rated No.4 in the world in live ratings with 2802 points, qualified for the Candidates Matches that will select the challenger to Carlsen in 2016 with a second-place finish in the Khanty-Mansiyk Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old So, who joined the U.S. Chess Federation in October, 2014, is currently rated No. 10 in live ranking, with 2775.9, and currently playing a four-game series with Czech GM David Navara in Prague.

Wesley So arriving in Prague. Official website

Wesley So arriving in Prague. Official website

Expected to back up Caruana, Nakamura and So are young and experienced grandmasters, including Ray Robson, 20, former teammate of So’s in the Webster University chess team.

Also expected to join the team are 23-year-old GM Sam Shankland and the old reliable, 39-year-old Alex Onischuk.

More importantly, the team is expected to receive full support from Rex Sinquefield, considered the godfather of American chess, and the benefactor of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Americans captured the Olympiad gold in Prague (1931), Folkestone (1933), Warsaw (1935) and Stockholm (1935).

In all these competitions, the great Frank Marshall participated to be considered perhaps the greatest American Olympic player.

In the 1960s, Bobby Fischer came into the chess scene and helped the U.S. win the silver in 1960 and 1966. In 1998, the Americans also won the silver in Elista, Russia, according to Wikepedia.

So crushes Navara in second game

Wesley So with

Wesley So with “adopted mother” Lotis key in Prague (Photo by Anezka Kruzikova – official website)

By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – Like the first game, Wesley So nursed a two-pawn advantage going into the end game, but this time, he did not let David Navara slip through, winning decisively to take a 1.5 to .5 lead in their 4-game series in Prague.
The 21-year-old Filipino grandmaster playing under the U.S. flag prevailed after 56 moves in a rook and pawns endgame in which the 30-year Czech was helpless in the end.
It was So’s first victory in three games against Navara, including their draw in the last round of the French League Top 12 team championships recently in the south of France.
Game 3 will be played Sunday and the series ends on Tueday for the CEZ Chess Trophy organized by the Prague Chess Society.
So also played against 22 opponents in simultaneous games before the series with Navara, winning 18, drawing 3 and losing 1.
 The moves:
So vs. Navara
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. a3 Be6 10. Be3 Nd5 11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Rc1 Bd6 13. Qa4 Qe8 14. Rfe1 Ne7 15. Qxe8 Rfxe8 16. Bc5 Nc6 17. b4 a6 18. Nd2 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Re7 20. Ne4 Rd7 21. g4 Nd8 22. Bxd6 cxd6 23. Nc3 d5 24. Na4 Rb8 25. e3 f6 26. f4 g6 27. Rc2 Ne6 28. f5 gxf5 29. gxf5 Ng7 30. Rf1 d4 31. e4 Nh5 32. Nb6 Rg7+ 33. Kf3 Nf4 34. Rfc1 Rf8 35. Rc8 Rgf7 36. Rg1+ Kh8 37. Rc2 Rd8 38. Nd5 Nxd5 39. exd5 Rfd7 40. Rgc1 Rxd5 41. Rc8 Kg7 42. Rxd8 Rxd8 43. Rc7+ Kh6 44. Rxb7 Rc8 45. h4 Rc1 46. Ke4 Re1+ 47. Kd5 e4 48. Re7 49. Rxe4 Rxa3 50. Rxd4 Kh5 .51. Ke6 a5 52. bxa5 Rxa5 53. Kxf6 h6 54. Rd7 Ra4 55. Ke7 Rd4 56. f6

Navara forces a draw in Game 1 of series with So

Wesley So and David Navara during the contract signing of their match in February in Prague. Also in the picture are what organizers described as Wesley's adopted family, which includes Lotis Key. CEZ TROPHY 2015 PHOTO.

Wesley So and David Navara during the contract signing of their match in February in Prague. Also in the picture are what organizers described as Wesley’s adopted family, which includes Lotis Key. CEZ CHESS TROPHY 2015 PHOTO.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Despite a two-pawn edge in a bishops of opposite colors and pawn endgame, Wesley So could not break through David Navara’s defenses and settled for a draw in the CEZ ChessTrophy 2015 series in Prague.

Playing the black pieces, Wesley appeared to have positional advantage in addition to the material edge, but Navara came through with the precise moves to thwart So’s pawn advance in the king side.

The two agreed to split the point after 94 moves.

So will play white in the second game of the 4-game series on Saturday.

The CEZ Chess trophy is a prestigious tournament in Prague organized by the Prague Chess Society.

Now on its 13th year, the series usually pits the top Czech player against a designated highly rated foreign chess grandmaster.

Last year, Navara faced Hikaru Nakamura, the highly regarded American, now rated No.4 in the world in live ratings.

It was a one-sided series, however, with Nakamura crushing Navara, 3.5 to .5 with the 30-year-old Czech grandmaster managing to score only a draw in four games.

Coming off from a so-so performance in the French Top 12 team championships recently, So and his supporters hoped to score a better result to recover lost rating points.

There was even talk of a sweep against Navara for an 18+- point increase, but now, it seems they can only wish for the best the rest of the series.

The 21-year-old Bacoor, Cavite native now sits at No. 10 in world live ratings with 2771.3 points. He seems to have enough caution however, to stay on the spot with his closest pursuer, Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia, 14.6 rating points behind.

Then, at No.12 is hard-charging Sergey Karjakin, and the 25-year-old Russian grandmaster is just 18.3 points behind So.

At No. 13 is the 46-year-old Boris Gelfand of Israel with 2751 points, followed by two Chinese, Ding Liren (2748.6) and Li Chao (2748.0)

The numbers are volatile and constantly change, depending on how the players are active, but competing in weak tournaments does not help.

It is an indication of whether you’re moving up or down in the world ranking and how well you compete with the best. It also gauges how you manage your career as a chess professional and the type of advice you’re getting.



So begins 4-game series with Navara

Grandmasters Wesley So and David Navarra being introduced at the opening ceremony of their CEZ Trophy series in Prague.  SO FACEBOOK PAGE

Grandmasters Wesley So and David Navarra being introduced at the opening ceremony of their CEZ Trophy series in Prague. SO FACEBOOK PAGE

By Bert Eljera LAS VEGAS – While the best players in the world prepare to square off in the Norway Chess championships, first leg of the $1-million plus Grand Chess Tour, Wesley So begins battle with Czech grandmaster David Navara in a four-game series in Prague.

The series with Navara, ranked 24th in the world in live ratings, is for the CEZ Chess Trophy, an annual event under the auspices of the Prague Chess Society.

So, now No 10 in world ranking after a less than stellar performance in the French League Top 12 team tournament recently, was also scheduled to play some simul games.

Navara had a worse showing in the French tournament, sliding 10 ranks in the live ratings, and losing 18.3 rating points. He drew with So when they faced each other.

World champion Magnus Carlsen leads the 10-man field in the Norway tournament starting Monday that offers a total prize pot of more than $300,000, including a $75,000 prize to the winner.

In addition, players earn tour points that are summed up at the end of the year after the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis and the London Chess Classic are completed.

Another $75,000 is awarded to the oveverall tour winner. The other players in the 2800+ club – Fabiano Caruana (2805), Vishy Anand (2804), and Hikaru Nakamura (2802) – are also entered in the super-tournament that feature four other players in the Top 10.

French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, ranked 27th) and unranked Jon Ludvig Hammer, of Norway, a qualifier, complete the 10-man tournament cast.

Organizers said So and former world champion Vladimir Kramnik were invited but declined to join the Norway tourney after qualifying based on the January FIDE ratings, in which the top 10 earned automatic slots.

Kramnik begged off, saying he had been too busy and wanted to spend more time with his family.

It was not clear why So chose to skip the tournament, which offers not only rich prizes, but the opportunity to boost elo ratings.

So also declined to defend his title in the Capablanca Memorial tournament in Cuba, scheduled June 14-24, which feature several 2700+ players, including Yu Yangyi, Leinier Prez Dominguez and Dmitry Andreikin.

Instead, he chose to play in the French League and the series with Navara, with questionable results.

The 21-year-old grandmaster hopes to right ship and stay on track for the rest of the year, starting with the Dormund Sparkassen 2015 in Germany, June 27 to July 5.

US lawmakers reject proposal to raid funds for World War II Filipino veterans

Poster for Filipino World War II veterans

Poster for Filipino World War II veterans

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – A plan to use money intended for Filipino World War II veterans to pay for a hospital construction in Colorado was rejected by the U.S. Congress, thanks to the efforts of lawmakers from Hawaii, California and Nevada.

The Department of Veterans Affairs had proposed to tap into the $56-million still unspent from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund to fill in a $150-million shortfall in the troubled construction of a veterans hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

“That is not acceptable,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. Lawmakers found funding for the hospital from elsewhere, but shielded the Filipino veterans fund from the proposed raid.

The reprieve allowed Hirono and a bipartisan group of lawmakers that included Republican Dean Heller of Nevada to push through legislation that will enable more Filipino veterans to qualify for the benefit.

They encouraged the VA to come up with a more fair plan to extend benefits to more veterans, while in the House of Representatives, Republican Joe Heck of Nevada introduced a bill to reopen the program and allow more veterans to reapply.

In 2009, as one of the first acts of his administration, Obama distributed $15,000 to Filipino-Americans and $9,000 to Filipino veterans living in the Philippines as compensation for their services during World II.

Filipinos fought alongside Americans against the Japanese after President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned them into the U.S. Army at the start of the Second World War.

Other Filipinos joined guerrilla forces that harassed the Japanese, paving the way for the return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines.

In 1946, however, the U.S. Congress passed the Rescission Act that singled out Filipino veterans as not U.S. veterans and therefore not eligible for most benefits.

Lobbying efforts by Filipino veterans and their supporters forced the U.S. Congress to pass legislation extending benefits, including the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund.

The deadline to apply for benefits, however, was set for September 2010, and of the 43,000 claims filed, only 18,929 were approved and considered eligible.

It was either the Filipino veterans, most of whom live in the Philippines, missed the deadline or their names were not on the roster of accepted list provided by the U.S. Army.

Other fell victims to military politics or outright racism, veterans advocates said.

This rare win in the U.S. Congress to protect the Filipino veterans fund may finally bode well for the veterans, now in their late 80s and 90s., advocates said.




Is Wesley So in danger of dropping out from Top 10?


Le Grau-du-Roi, site of the French League Top 12 team chess tournament.

Le Grau-du-Roi, site of the French League Top 12 team chess tournament.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – When questions were raised about the decision of Team Wesley, the so-called band of advisers behind chess grandmaster Wesley So, about competing in minor tournaments instead of going for the more prestigious ones, these were haughtily dismissed.

The reasoning was, you’re just a kibitzer, and don’t know what you’re talking about.

But in competing in the French League Top 12 team tournament to be followed with the four-game series with David Navara, Wesley is likely to see a slide in world ranking that may dangerously knock him out of the Top 10.

His advisers made him commit to these tournaments when better ones were in the horizon – the Norway Chess championships, first leg of the $1-million plus Grand Chess Tour, and even the Capablanca Memorial tournament in Cuba.

The world’s best players, including world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, are competing in the Norway tournament, scheduled June 15-26. All are 2700+ players, except Hammer, the wild card entry.

The Capablanca Memorial in which So shot to international fame by winning the 2014 edition, is set June 14-26 in Havana, and features such players as Pavel Eljanov (2718), Lenier Perez Dominuez (2746) and Yu Yangyi (2716).

Also entered are Dmitry Andreikim (2718) and Ian Nepomniatchi (2720) in a strong tournament.

In contrast, Wesley is the highest rated player at the French League Top 12, although there are several other 2700 + players, such as Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Navara.

Wesley has not played with most 2700+ players (MVL is a teammate with Clinchy), and has slid down to 2778.7 live ratings, 9th in the world.

He has regained .7 points after nine rounds, punctuated by victories in his last two rounds. The live ratings are dependent on the player’ latest tournament performance and constantly changes

But if you’re the top seed – a Wesley is in France – there is a target behind your back and everyone is gunning for you.

The French League Top 12 was scheduled May 30 to June 9 while the So-Navara match is set Jun 12 -16, so obviously there were overlaps and choices have to be made.

In terms of prestige and prizes, the Norway Chess is an obvious choice, so it’s puzzling that Wesley’s team would skip it – unless an invitation was not extended, in the first place.

Same thing with Capablanca. It was a natural tournament for Wesley, who was heavily promoted here.

But an untruth was passed on that since Wesley is a permanent U.S. resident and there’s no diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S., there will be some travel complications.

But Wesley does not yet carry a U.S. passport since you have to be a citizen to have one, the lack of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba have no bearing at all.

Unless, it was to accommodate the chaperone who always accompany Wesley in all his travel and carries only a U.S. passport. Then, it makes sense.

As for the match up with Navara, the top Czech player but rated only No. 16 in the world (2747.2), it’s being hyped as preparation for a future match against Carlsen.

If a match for the world championship is ever to happen for So, it will still be way down the road. His opportunity in 2015 is through the World Cup, but winning one of the two top slots, is extremely difficult.

Scheduled Sept. 10 to Oct. 4 in Baku, Azerbaijan, the World Cup is a knock-out tournament of qualifiers based on ratings and other criteria.

It will be a long and complicated Candidates Matches after that among the other qualifiers, including from the Grand Prix, ultimately ending on who will face Carlsen in the 2016 world championship.

A match with Navara will hardly prepare So for such a championship match. And it will be less than honest to hype it so.

Instead, what Wesley needs is a carefully selected series of tournaments that will boost his elo ratings and world ranking.

A savvy coach and/or seconds can help him devise such a plan  Good thing I’m not a PR person but bona fide member of the press, so I can say what needs to be said.

Press ID

Press ID


Chess combines excitement and big prize of a game show

Wesley So exults after receiving a replica of the $100,000 first prize from Millionaire chess organizer Maurice Ashley at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino PHOTO BY PAUL TRUONG.

Wesley So exults after receiving a replica of the $100,000 first prize from Millionaire Chess organizers Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino PHOTO BY PAUL TRUONG.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Finally, it had been done: Combine the thrill of a centuries-old game with the excitement of a modern-day game show.

The spice? The chance to be an instant millionaire.

As they often say, only in Las Vegas.

Organizers of the Millionaire Chess Open championships have come up with an innovative addition to the tournament that will provide more prizes to what is already the richest chess competition in history.

Maurice Ashley, organizer of the five-day tournament at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, scheduled Oct. 8-12, announced Tuesday, June 2, that a player can walk away with as much as $1-million in cash, in addition to the regular prizes.

Ashley, a chess grandmaster who put up the championships for the first time last year with entrepreneur Amy Lee, said this is how it will work:

The nine section winners will compete with each other on Millionaire Monday, the last day of the tournament, for a chance to pick prizes in cash and kind from 64 envelopes randomly placed on a giant chessboard.

One square, called the Millionaire Square, will contain $1-million in cash.

If the player picks that square, he walks away an instant millionaire, Ashley said.

The odds of 1 in 64 are pretty good, he added. More details will be announced later.

“Millionaire Chess remains committed to continually seek new ways to raise the profile of chess in the United States and around the world,” Ashley said.

“Our goal is to continue to raise the bar to make chess fun to participate and to watch,” he said. “I hope other organizers will see and follow our lead.”

Putting up big prizes and holding satellite tournaments are some of the ways to attract a new generation of chess fans, he added.

Grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So head the cast of more than 1,000 players from 40 countries competing in the tournament.

So won the top prize of $100,000 last year, beating Webster University teammate Ray Robson in the knock-out match for the Open Section title.

Competitions in eight other sections, based on international chess federation on FIDE ratings, are also on tap, with rich prizes for each section from the total tournament pot of $1-million.