Just weeks before the world’s two best chess players battle for the World Championship, the game’s organizing body has launched an app it hopes will solve puzzles of a very different kind.
Mates, produced with New York-based “hookup app” Pure, allows users to set up a profile and look for somebody keen for a chess match. Conversations disappear after an hour, motivating potential kings and queens to move fast.
Dating over a chessboard may seem an odd way to hook up. But the game’s popularity has rarely been higher: over 600 million people play regularly, with participation expected to rise up to 400% during the tournament, held between three-time champion Magnus Carlsen, from Norway, and challenger Fabiano Caruana.
“Our goal was to find a way to connect millions of fans and make chess social again,” said Ilya Merenzon, World Chess CEO. “We chose to partner with Pure because we want to create an on-demand experience, where finding an opponent doesn’t take forever. We want everyone to spend less time on their phones and more in front of their chessboards.”
“Good sex has a lot in common with a good game of chess: it’s as passionate, tense, uncertain and exciting,” added Pure founder Roman Sidorenko. “And just like in sex, no one wants to wait for another person to make a move.”
The app, which launched yesterday, aims to compound a growing interest for chess in the United States. Caruana, a 26-year-old from Miami, is the first American to compete for chess’ biggest prize since Bobby Fischer’s defeat of Boris Spassky in 1972. The 12-game showdown will be held at London’s The College between 9 and 28 November.