The world’s first NFT chess trophy was awarded to Meltwater Champions Chess Tour winner Magnus Carlsen in an historic moment for the game on Monday.
Norway’s chess superstar digitally signed the prize in a glittering ceremony held after he beat US Champ Wesley So in the final round of the $1.6 million Tour’s Finals event.
Carlsen said: “It’s a nice trophy and I’m very happy to be breaking this ground.”
Carlsen’s trophy is one of two minted on the Ethereum blockchain. The other – also digitally signed by the champion – is being auctioned off to collectors at the new Chess Champs digital marketplace.
The auction ends on Friday, October 8.
Before the trophy was unveiled, Tour Director Arne Horvei declared: “For the first time in the history of chess we are going to provide a trophy that is an NFT only trophy and, as far as I know, there is no other competition with professionals that has ever done that.
“To have NFT trophies and copies with a real trophy is one thing but to have an NFT-only trophy, as far as I know, we are the only one to have done that.”
On winning the Tour after 10 months of intense competition, Carlsen said: “It means a lot, there’s been a lot of ups and downs.
“Especially at the start I was struggling so much, not winning any of the first four tournaments and frankly at the start I was losing to Wesley in the finals and it was deserved.
Finally we can reveal the 2021 @ChampChessTour Champion's Trophy won by @MagnusCarlsen. The first #NFT trophy in chess history! Two editions exist: One awarded to Magnus and one is put up for auction. See the full trophy at https://t.co/3nuNmAS8Bl pic.twitter.com/0K1I2dvvoE— Chess Champs (@ChessChampsOff) October 5, 2021
“So to finish off the Tour with a win against him is special. I feel like I ran out of steam a bit at the end there, but right now I don’t care – I’m just happy to win.
Asked what he thought the future of online chess will be, Carlsen said: “I think they are here to stay and being the best player over the full season, even though there have been a lots of ups and downs, means a lot to me.”
The ground-breaking Tour featured 10 tournaments and 90 days of competition over the course of a year to find the world’s strongest online rapid player.
It was the most-watched chess event in history with more than 100 million live views.