Who will win the 1M USD buy-in High Roller Chess Tournament?
Nov 22
Fabiano Caruana (2738)
Nodirbek Abdusattorov (2724)
Ian Nepomniachtchi (2754)
Hans Niemann (2598)

Each player pays $1 million entrance fee. Total prize pool is 3.9M and is split as follows:

  • 1st place $2 million

  • 2nd place $1.5 million

  • 3rd place $0.4 million

  • 4th place $0

Tournament is 4 player round robin Rapid format (15 minutes with no increment). All matches will be played on 11th of November 2024.

All players have confirmed that they have secured the funds and they want to play. However if the event is cancelled, this market will be resolved N/A. The Other option is here in case someone drops out and is replaced by another player.

More info:

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Related market: Who will lose this tournament? (4th place): https://manifold.markets/BishopG/who-will-lose-the-1m-buyin-high-rol

ok i'm pretty clueless about chess—what's the incentive here? surely the edge between the players is somewhat "clear", so who is willing to stake the weakest player? (according to the current market, Niemann, but I have no idea personally).

poker also has these high rollers, and there the economy is simple. usually, they include some weaker players who are willing to nonetheless pay the entry fee (because they want to play high stakes poker, not because it's +EV). plus, because the edge between players is less clear, i'd imagine it's easier to convince yourself (or your staker!) that you have an edge over the table when you don't. but AFAIK, it's more the former than the latter. (i get that these players presumably will not personally pay their own million dollar entry fee, but the exact same question applies to the staker)

this might have a very obvious answer, but what's the deal?

@Ziddletwix It's not public who is staking whom. As you say it does not make much sense to stake the lowest rated player (if the ratings are accurate).

Rapid Elo ratings (in brackets) would suggest that Niemann is the weakest player by far. But there are some caveats:

  • No increment rapid is a weird format and it has higher variance than classical, so a weaker player has better chances.

  • Niemann does not play Rapid OTB tournaments (he played like 30 in last 2.5 years) and he is pretty young (where players can improve relatively quickly) so his rapid rating might be outdated.

  • He also has quite good online Blitz rating (no top players play Rapid outside tournaments) on chess.com (where he plays pretty often). Ratings for all players:

    • Caruana has 3205

    • Niemann is 3174

    • Nodirbek is 3150

    • Nepo 3060

So I guess he was able to convince someone wealthy that he is underrated and he has chance to win and it's worth the risk. It's still likely not +EV bet, but not completely crazy as Rapid OTB ratings would suggest. This is pretty unique event for the chess world, so maybe someone wealthy is willing to make -EV bet to make it happen.

@Weezing thanks! if true, and there's nothing more to it, fascinating that there'd be such a wide divergence from e.g. this market and whoever is providing the million (unless niemann's odds improve here, if he's this low to win it, i can't imagine he has >40% at #2 either)

@Ziddletwix Yea, it's weird. But some rich people like to gamble.

Niemann is probably the fish in this case. There are rumors that he has a wealthy family, and he's overconfident in his own abilities.

That said, from a backer's perspective there may be a case for funding his entry even if he has -EV, if his skills are underrated and you feel like you can make money by side bets at better than even odds. Plus, there may be some sort of advertising value to supporting him.

bought Ṁ10 Fabiano Caruana (2738) YES