At 9 pm EST tonight, Ethereum co-founder and figurehead Vitalik Buterin will face off against chess streamer National Canadian Team player Alexandra Botez in an match event live-streamed on Twitch.
The event came about following a series of matches and conversations held by members of the Ethereum-focused Bankless podcast and newsletter. After Vitalik participated in a handful of matches, Botez threw down the gauntlet:
@VitalikButerin I’m a chess streamer and a big fan of your work I heard from some people in the crypto space that 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 watch out for 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 title of Woman FIDE Master, and is a five time Canadian National Girls Champion.
Not all are counting out the 26 year-old Ethereum co-founder, however. Some have speculated that between pondering Derek Parfit and solving scalability, Vitalik might be hiding some genuine chess chops:
Watch Vitalik just secretly have a 2500+ in him he’s just never bothered to play enough rated matches https://t.co/PD34qfzaWb
— Colin Goltra (@Goltra) November 18, 2020
Additionally, aside from helping build the world’s largest smart contract platform, Vitalik might be most notable as the inventor of a chess variant. In 2019 he debuted “1.58 dimensional chess,” played on a pyramidal plane.
And what would an Ethereum mindsport prizefight be without on-chain prediction markets where viewers could bet on the outcome? Gamified prediction market Yieldwars is offering a market for the match, with winner-take-all options for either side, while Omen Prediction Markets is offering weighted payouts.
So far, the market believes that Vitalik is going to have a rough evening. Pitched as “King versus Queen,” the Yieldwars market currently has totaled only $500 in bets, with bettors healthily favoring Botez. Omen, meanwhile, has attracted over $650 in bets, once again heavily skewing towards the chess streamer.
One possible option for the overmatched founder? An irregular opening. The Cointelegraph weekend editorial team humbly suggests the Orangutan.