Chidobe Awuzie Claims NFL’s Best Chess Player Award

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is king and the rest of the NFL are his pawns. Well, at least in the chess world.

Chess.com recently held a tournament called BlitzChamps, an event where six NFL players, including Awuzie, competed for $100,000 for charity, with the winner taking home $25,000. The rest of the field included future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, New York Giants defenseman Kayvon Thibodeaux, Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper, Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Davis and lineman San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead.

The players were divided into two groups of three. Group A included Cooper, Awuzie and Thibodeaux. Group B included Fitzgerald, Armstead and Davis.

Cooper won both matches in Group A, while Awuzie beat Thibodeaux to also advance to the semi-finals. Davis and Fitzgerald came out of Group B.

In Sunday’s semi-finals, Awuzie knocked out the legendary Fitzgerald after trapping Fitzgerald’s king by having his queen and rook remaining while Fitzgerald was one pawn away who was two rows away from being promoted (for non- chess players out there, if a pawn reaches the opposite end of the board, it can be promoted to any piece, so theoretically you can play with two queens on the board).

The final game was a Group A rematch between Awuzie and Cooper, a game we’re likely to see more of on the football field now that Cooper is with the Browns.

After some back and forth between the two, Awuzie got his revenge on Cooper and won the Blitzchamps title and $25,000 for his charity, the Awuzie Kickstep Foundation. Cooper won $22,500 for his charity, The Barnyard.

Awuzie got the better of Cooper on the board. They will meet on the football field on Halloween, under the bright lights of Monday Night Football in Cleveland, and then again in Cincinnati on December 11. But for now, Awuzie has bragging rights. He’s the king, Cooper was checkmate.

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