29 June 2021

Speculative Yahoos

Last month's Yahoo post, Business Yahoos (May 2021; see the footnote below for an explanation of Yahoos), spawned a follow-up post, Crypto Chess (May 2021):-

It's great to see chess get new sponsors.

The sponsorship trend continued in June. Before I discuss the current month, let's set the scene.

Once again we had nine sources with two or more stories in the top-100 stories flagged by Google News for the month of June. That was the fourth straight month with nine sources in that position -- number nine, number nine, number nine -- along with 38 sources having a single story.

The chart on the left lists those nine sources along with the number of stories from the source. By another coincidence, Chess.com alone accounted for 38 stories.

Of the other four sources with more than two stories, there's a newcomer: Sportstar. That turns out to be one of the major mainstream news sources in India: Sportstar: Sports News (sportstar.thehindu.com). The site even has 'Chess' listed on its top navigation bar, sandwiched between 'Tennis' and 'Motorsport': Live Chess scores and updates (ditto; first 'Editor's Pick' from 2017?!).

Three of the four Sportstar stories were about Indian players in the 'Goldmoney Asian Rapid Chess'. The Goldmoney event figured in a half-dozen stories from various sources, like this one:-

What's Goldmoney? Its home page, Goldmoney.com, says,

The World’s Most Trusted Name in Precious Metals • Goldmoney is the easiest way to purchase physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion online. We safeguard nearly $3 billion of assets for clients in 125 countries.

Speculating in precious metals is one way to make a small fortune. Another way is by starting with a large fortune and speculating in anything (that's an old investing joke). A non-chess online service that also appeared in its fair share of news stories was Superbet. Here's one example:-

  • 2021-06-17: On Chess: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Wins Superbet Chess Classic (stlpublicradio.org) • 'With a dominating performance that included three wins in a row, world no.5 Grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan won the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic, the first leg in the 2021 Grand Chess Tour circuit.'

What's Superbet? One source, Superbet - Company Profile & Funding (crunchbase.com), says,

Superbet is an online gaming company in Romania. Founded in 2008, Superbet is the first Romanian company to be awarded for two consecutive years at the Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference (CEEGC) with the Supreme Trophy: The Best Sports Betting Operator in Central and Eastern Europe.

As for Yahoos from previous months, the Netflix series 'Queen's Gambit' appeared tangentially in only one story, which was the basis of both stories attributed to CNN:-

  • 2021-06-19: This woman is a chess champion. And she's blind (cnn.com) • 'Jessica Lauser is relentless on the chess board. She plays quickly, applying constant pressure on her opponents. She attacks constantly, not unlike the Beth Harmon character from the Netflix television series, "The Queen's Gambit."'

The recent phenomenon of the chess streamers appeared in a number stories from Chess.com, while the recent crypto events also received a few mentions. The most unusual was from a crypto news source:-

  • 2021-06-22: Chess Tournaments, Tech Giants And $100,000 In Bitcoin (bitcoinmagazine.com) • 'On May 29, the world’s top 16 chess players competed in the FTX Crypto Cup. Hundreds of thousands of fans tuned in to Chess24.com, Twitch, YouTube and the Champions Chess Tour website to watch their favorite players duke it out in the nine-day event. [...] Thanks to cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX and its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, the tournament’s $220,000 prize was supplemented by 2.1825 BTC, split among the winners.'

Near the end of the long, well-researched article, we learn,

When asked why he did it, Bankman-Fried [said], "For the same reason you’re writing this article. There’s a large overlap between the audiences interested in crypto and in chess, and this gave us a chance to help bring the two worlds together." The FTX Crypto cup may have been the first major crossover between chess and bitcoin, but it likely won’t be the last.

Goldmoney, Superbet, FTX Crypto. Are those flashes in the chess world -or- names that we will encounter again?

[Yahoos (mainstream news stories about chess) are derived from Google News top-100 (or so) stories from the past month.]

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