Battle of the Gigabrains: Vitalik Buterin to match wits with chess master

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Prediction market activity shows that few bettors think Vitalik Buterin has a chance against the Canadian master

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:

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:

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.