Reflection on MC3 – Oct. 13/16

Posted By Amy Lee


MC3 - 2016


There are only two days that I can’t do anything about: Yesterday and tomorrow. So I try to focus on what I have now and the people that love me no matter where I am in life.  I am grateful for my mere existence and for a large extended family I can always come home to.  From that standpoint, I always feel the courage to act in the direction of my dreams, and I never let yesterday’s missteps or unfortunate turns distract me since I can’t do anything about them anyway.


In 2014, Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and I set out to do something that has never been done before in chess history. We gave away a million dollars in what was and remains the largest and highest stakes chess tournament ever. In that year, we started the Millionaire Chess Open and with it we announced we were bringing chess into the mainstream spotlight.


Fast forward to 2016 and now I am writing the third post-Millionaire Chess blog post. It takes my breath away to think how far we have come with this tournament, both literally and figuratively. The list of things to be proud of and grateful for are truly endless. From the Las Vegas to Atlantic City venues that hosted players from over 60 countries, we feel proud to have made a significant mark and shed much more light on this incredible game. We wanted to create a special excitement around chess and I think we can proudly boast that we did. We set out to put on the most luxurious tournament in chess history and we can stand proud behind the experience our players received.


Speaking of our players and our supporters, we could not be here today without you. With every message, email, hand-shake, personal story and entry into the tournament, you made us feel like all our efforts were worth it.  We thank each and every one of you. Even after two tumultuous years, we couldn’t let you down in the third year after we had made our promise to bring it to Atlantic City. We continue to be so blown away by the feedback of support we still receive every day. That show of support and  the positive coverage in the mainstream media has been all we could ask for to shed more publicity to chess.


Which leads me to the final paragraph. The millionaire dollar question.  Will there be another MC? We can fairly confidently say there will not be a Millionaire Chess Open in 2017. Before you think this is the end, we want you to believe there is a future for it, as we still do. But it is a business and like all businesses there needs to be time to revamp, re-structure, and re-evaluate its worth and how to make it better moving forward. How long that will take is the true million dollar question actually. There are so many factors to that answer and we look forward to exploring all of our options moving forward. Just know that Maurice and I are extremely grateful for your love and support and we are so very proud of the MC community we built and can call our own.


It was nice to hear supporters coming to us to ask how they can help reach sponsors so MC can continue because they don’t want to see such a tournament die.  I still believe sponsors will come in someday, but that might be 10 years into the future. Till then, it doesn’t make logical business sense to continue after three years in the red.


I have given MC and chess every possible effort.  I believe we all gave it our best shot already.  I left nothing undone. Every penny of every single prize got paid over the last 3 years.  I had been told by many that MC was the best chess event ever by far and will be remembered as such. I am eternally grateful to have made some lifetime friends as a result of this.  I can and will hold my head high..


With so much love, money, and tears having been invested over the last 3 years to build this healthy brand, it really would be a shame to see it go to waste.  Maybe one day others will look to take ownership of the brand, or we ourselves may enrol passionate people to take over the organization.  We may pass the ownership over to others, but Maurice and I will always be the Mom and Dad of this special child.  It would be nice in twenty years and see that Millionaire Chess has indeed lived on.


Thank you for three amazing years so far!  Stay tuned for future announcements.

10 thoughts on “Reflection on MC3 – Oct. 13/16

  1. I’m encouraged by this hopeful blog post. The Millionaire Chess experience is unparalleled for players and fans. Even the “cut-rate” version of 2016 was absolutely a “cut above” any other Open, by far. I continued to find this tournament to be a superb professional networking experience, in addition to the fun I had as a player and a spectator.

  2. My post MC3 thoughts:
    – Even a watered down MC3, compared to the first two editions, was a better playing experience than any other tournament that I’ve payed in. And I’ve played in them all through the past decades.
    – The depth of the prize fund was unsurpassed. An even score, 3.5, won $133 in the U2000 section. Of course that was due to the shortfall in desired enrollment. But even with double the enrollment, MC3 would have offered higher odds to finish in the money than other big tournaments.
    – The Millionaire Monday concept is great. It insures that the final day is a crescendo – the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. None of the typical early handshakes by fatigued, risk adverse leaders, that you see in other big money swisses.
    – Unfortunately the continued disappointing enrollment indicates that the value proposition, to players and therefore sponsors, is just not there at this time. Please understand, I’m not trying to be fatalistic, and say that such a concept will never work. But it will probably take some significant external driver to change the market dynamics.
    – Lastly, I’m even stronger in my observation that Maurice and Amy did everything possible to execute and promote the MC concept. As a business person who deals with brutal competition every day, I have nothing but admiration for the quality, creativity and determination that they displayed in trying to build a successful business.

  3. There are so many things to say about the Millionaire Chess experience and Amy Lee. It would take several pages. If you want my intricate view, you can view my four or five dozen articles on MC (via Google search) including my recent reflection at The Chess Drum. Amy has inspired me in some many ways and her confidence in one of our national heroes (GM Maurice Ashley) showed that she believed in chess and its societal benefits – not just in Canada or the U.S., but worldwide.

    MC captured the imagination of thousands and many of the features in the three editions will be examined for possible employment in future chess events. I played in all three events and it was a joy. I have a new friend in Amy Lee along with my old-time friend in Maurice. Any chess event they are involved in I will support because it will be a quality affair. MC3 was well-done. It’s a shame that many decided to miss out on this historic event. Sponsors will be able to look at this event as a possible avenue to reach an affluent segment as well as millions of others worldwide. MC definitely set a few benchmarks of excellence!

  4. A beautiful tribute to Millionaire Chess and its many accomplishments. It was a massive, sincere undertaking. So much gratitude goes to Amy and Maurice and all the others who took part including the players

  5. Amy,
    Your blog captures my feelings about MC perfectly. You did everything possible, and it was the best set of tournaments ever. I’m so happy to have met you and participated in (and helped with) MC. So sad to think that MC4 may not happen. Meanwhile, have safe travels; we’re looking forward to your travel blogs!

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