WCCC 2024: The race for the smartest company in the world is on

WCCC 2024: The race for the smartest company in the world is on
New York - The World Corporate Chess Championship kicked off on Friday at Cipriani on 25 Broadway, a renowned New York landmark known for its monumental interior design and exterior appeal

The tournament, presented by Freedom Holding Corporation, features 12 corporate teams from around the world competing for the title of the “smartest company” in the world.

“This event highlights the parallels between the chess board and the boardroom, celebrating strategic thinking which drives success in both fields. We want this event to become a marker for mutual respect and friendship between countries and corporations as well as a platform for networking,” said Timur Turlov, CEO of Freedom Holding.

The 12 participating teams, split into two groups, played five rounds on the first day. In Group A, the team from ChessMood—a company dedicated to helping aspiring players improve their game—came out on top, winning all five matches. The team from UBS Bank is in second place with two wins, two draws, and one defeat.

In Group B, Chessify, another company with a chess background, leads the group, followed by SIG, a quantitative trading firm.

Despite the fact that the players are not chess professionals, the competing teams were required to comply with the same regulations and standards as top professional chess events. This includes the scanning of players before the games, strict rules of behavior in the playing area, and random fair play checkups.

For more than four hours, the grand hall of Cipriani echoed with the sounds of pressing chess clocks and pieces moving on the board.

The first day of the World Corporate Championship was not only about the first five rounds of the event.

The day started with a “Move and Go Game,” where visitors had a chance to make one move on the board in a game against one of the world’s leading chess grandmasters, Hikaru Nakamura.

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Global CEO of SIGA, gave a speech highlighting the challenges for integrity and transparency in sports.

One of the highlights of the day was a fireside chat where GM Hikaru Nakamura, Timur Turlov (CEO of Freedom Holding Corp.), and Emil Sutovsky (CEO of FIDE) discussed the relationship between business and chess. They talked about concrete issues in business where chess can be useful—from time management and making decisions under pressure to utilizing advantageous positions and strategic planning.

The official events of the day concluded with Nakamura analyzing one of the best games of the first day, providing the audience with insight into how a grandmaster thinks, assesses and makes decisions.

An Evening with Nona Gaprindashvili at the Marshall Chess Club

Participants of the World Corporate Championship were treated to an evening with the renowned chess player Nona Gaprindashvili—five-time women’s world champion, the first woman to receive a grandmaster title, and the winner of 11 gold medals in Chess Olympiads.

The event took place at the historic Marshall Chess Club, named after its founder, the famous U.S. master Frank J. Marshall. The guests gathered in the very same room where chess legends such as Emanuel Lasker, Alexander Alekhine, and Richard Reti played.

Over exceptional Georgian wine and food, the guests listened to Nona Gaprindashvili talk about her life and struggles in chess—from her early days in the USSR to Georgian independence and beyond. Like many women in business today, Nona faced many uphill battles to make her name and earn respect in a male-dominated field.

“Chess is my universe. Chess is my world. It has helped me extend my life, so make sure you continue playing chess, as it will make your life longer,” Nona said to the audience.

In the true spirit of chess, the evening concluded with a blitz tournament, which was won by IM Mykola Bortnyk of the Marshall Chess Club.

A rare chess treat for the visitors on the second day of the event

Day two of the World Corporate Championship will start with a special chess experience for the guests: Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura will play blindfolded on two chessboards against visitors, who will each have the opportunity to make one move.

About the World Corporate Chess Championship:

The 12 finalists competing in New York are:

  • Goldman Sachs (USA)
  • BlackRock (USA)
  • Nanjing Spark Chess Technology Co., Ltd. (China)
  • ChessMood Inc. (USA)
  • LLC “LC” “GRECO” (Ukraine)
  • UBS Group AG (Switzerland)
  • Chessify (USA)
  • Freedom Holding Corp. (Kazakhstan)
  • Google (USA)
  • Tengizchevroil (Kazakhstan)
  • Deutsche Bank (USA)
  • SIG (USA)

The finals are the culmination of two online qualifying stages with entrants from around the world. The competition features group stage matches and intense playoff rounds, culminating in the crowning of the World Corporate Chess Champion. Teams are split into two groups, each with four knockout qualifiers and two wild-card teams. The competition unfolds in two stages: a 10-round group stage over June 15 and 16, followed by the semi-finals and finals on June 17.

The games will be broadcast live on Lichess.

Event Details:

Written by Milan Dinic

Photos: Rafał Oleksiewicz