Checkmate! World Chess will be listed on the London market
The organization behind a slew of top chess tournaments is building a London roster to capitalize on a global resurgence in the sport.
World Chess has hired advisers at Novum Securities to plan a main market float after initially putting its plans on hold two years ago.
An announcement could come in the coming weeks, according to Sky News, which first reported the story.
The group, which was co-founded by Managing Director Ilya Merenzon, manages the games department that underpins the World Chess Championship.
The 1,500-year-old board game has seen a modern revival among the younger generations due to the explosion of online games.
It has 600 million players and is in the 50 most viewed categories on Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game streaming service, with 17.5 million views per day.
Chess received a huge publicity boost from the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, which set a record for attracting the most scripted series views after its release last year.
Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen was also the subject of a documentary five years ago that shed a brighter light on competitive chess.
World Chess was on the verge of launching a hybrid listing in London two years ago, which would have made it possible to issue shares and issue digital tokens. However, the process never took place.
The company was launched in 2012 to harness the appeal of the mass market in chess through tournaments, gaming services, and merchandise.
Although based in London, the company has offices in Berlin and Moscow, where the sport is popular.
Mr Merenzon said: “We believe chess is the only mass participation sport remaining that has yet to benefit from the investment and creativity of the commercial sector.
“There has been a multi-year explosion of interest in chess, which has accelerated during the pandemic, and we are expanding our range of services to keep pace.”
“For millennia, people have played chess for fun and for an intellectual challenge. We want to reinvent the game so that it fits into modern lifestyles and above all that it is accessible to more people.”
He declined to comment on the IPO process