At 9 p.m. EST tonight, Ethereum co-founder and figurehead Vitalik Buterin will take on Canadian national team chess player Alexandra Botez in a match broadcast live on Twitch.
The event came about as a result of a series of matches and conversations held by members of the Ethereum-focused Bankless podcast and newsletter. After Vitalik took part in a handful of matches, Botez threw in the gauntlet:
@VitalikButerin I am a chess streamer and a huge fan of your work. Some people in the crypto space have told me you are pretty good at chess! It would be a huge honor to play if you ever need a break
– Alexandra Botez (@alexandravbotez) November 13, 2020
Fans of the chess personality have warned Vitalik to be careful of her namesake “Botez Gambit” – a playful term for when she accidentally loses her queen. Jokes aside, the Canadian sports some serious accolades: she currently holds the FIDE Mistress title and is a five-time Canadian Women’s National Champion.
However, not all of them include Ethereum’s 26-year-old co-founder. Some have speculated that between thinking about Derek Parfit and solving scalability, Vitalik could be hiding some real chess chops:
Watch Vitalik secretly have a 2500+ in him, he just never bothered to play enough Ranked Matches https://t.co/PD34qfzaWb
– Colin Goltra (@Goltra) November 18, 2020
Additionally, aside from helping build the world’s largest smart contract platform, Vitalik could be the most notable as an inventor of a chess variant. In 2019 he made his debut at “1.58 dimensional chess,” played on a pyramid plan.
And what would an Ethereum mind fight be without the on-chain prediction markets where viewers could bet on the outcome? The Yieldwars gamified prediction market offers a market to the match, with win-win options for either side, while Omen Prediction Markets offers weighted payouts.
So far, the market believes Vitalik is going to have a rough night. Presented as “king against queen”, the Yieldwar market has currently only totaled $ 500 in bets, with punters healthily favoring Botez. Omen, meanwhile, drew more than $ 650 in bets, once again heavily biased towards the chess streamer.
A possible option for the overwhelmed founder? An irregular opening. TBEN’s weekend editorial team humbly suggests the Orangutan.