Those wondering where the matchmaking ranking, also known as MMR, came from, the answer is Chess. And though the game is at least a thousand years old, it is making its way back to the modern eSports. Well-known organization Cloud9 announced today that they signed Andrew “Penguingm1” Tang in its profile. He is C9’s first grandmaster Chess player.
Though late to the game, Chess is now being recognized as a real eSports competition. The newest trend among club owners is to sign one of their top-rated players. The 20-year old Penguingm1 is regarded as one of our period’s chess prodigy, as he cemented himself as one of the best ultrabullet and hyperbullet players in the entire world.
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) October 1, 2020
In the official blog announcement, C9 writes, “Cloud9 is excited to announce our foray into the competitive gaming environment of Chess by welcoming the newest member of our organization, Andrew penguingm1 Tang!” They also highlight the youngster numerous accomplishments in the field, such as being a three-time national champion and a top 5 bullet player. He has also beaten the current World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, over hundreds of times.
Tang was already a grandmaster at the age of 18, as identified by the International Chess Federation. His prowess is also measured against artificial intelligence Chess software. He is the only player in the world to defeat stockfish’s levels 1-8 in ultrabullet. The C9 chess player is also the most recent player to beat Leela Chess Zero, a neural network chess engine.
The blog continues to uplifts Penguingm1 successes whether against another player or a highly intelligent computer, “[His] set of skills are among the best in the world and his knowledge of the game makes his playstyle incredible to watch.”
Team SoloMid shocked the world last month when the org signed Hikaru Nakamura, a five-time U.S. chess champion. This has opened a new discussion if the said game is categorized as eSports. Opposite sides weighed on their points-of-view but were ultimately answered with “why not.” Similarly structured games such as Magic: The Gathering or Teamfight Tactics are in the eSports sphere. Chess, nowadays, can be played either offline or online.
The chess category of Twitch has a respectable following. With consistent 10,000 viewers and 944k followers, it is still clearly a game many of us enjoy to watch and play. Fans of both Cloud9 and chess are ecstatic with Tang’s signing. One fan replies, “C9 Chess? Esports has reached its final form, baby!”