In brief

  • The new NFT marketplace will launch on the Free TON blockchain.
  • The collection will feature iconic moments in chess history.

Just in time for the International Chess Federation World Championships this month in Dubai, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) today announced a partnership with TON labs to launch a new NFT marketplace dedicated to the sport of chess.

ChessNFT.com will feature digital art and collectibles featuring iconic moments in chess. One of the oldest games still played, chess has seen a resurgence in popularity since Netflix’s 2020 miniseries "The Queen’s Gambit" put it squarely in the cultural conversation.

“FIDE has started an exciting and ambitious journey of digitalization to bring new experiences and opportunities to the chess enthusiasts around the world,” said FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich in a press release. “We are excited for one of the first steps to be a comprehensive NFT marketplace, coming right in time for the world championship match in Dubai.”

Founded in 1924 in Paris, FIDE comprises 195 national chess associations worldwide. TON, meanwhile, is an offshoot of the failed Telegram Open Network. The popular messenger app Telegram, which was behind the effort, came under SEC scrutiny in 2020 after the agency called its native GRAM token a security.

Though TON never got past the testnet stage, in May 2020 TON Labs helped launch the Free TON blockchain using the open-source code from the original TON protocol.

“Pairing the classic and universally loved sport of chess with the world of blockchain and crypto has the capability of bringing chess to the forefront of the minds of an entirely new cohort of fans across the globe,” said TON Labs co-founder and CEO Alexander Filatov.

Filatov went on to say that TON Labs and FIDE are allowing the wider chess community to explore their passion in a unique, fully decentralized, digital capacity through NFTs.

This isn't the first time chess has collided with crypto. In 2019, for example, FIDE partnered with Algorand to launch a pop-up museum in Hamburg, Germany, dedicated to the history of blockchain. That same month, World Chess announced a security token offering alongside Algorand.