Mike Timex McDonald has offered 10-1 odds for a prop bet that he can become a chess grandmaster. The Canadian high stakes player recently won $200,000 in his successful basketball bet and is looking for an even more difficult challenge.
Can Mike McDonald Pull it Off?
When Mike McDonald announced his basketball bet everyone thought he was insane. He was aiming at a free throw success rate that was beyond most world-class players.
That didn’t put him off though—he was seriously determined.
The rest is history because we now know that McDonald completed his bet to sink 90/100 free throws on a regulation hoop and collected his winnings with months to spare.
Last year @MikeMcDonald89 wanted to bet to make (chess) grandmaster at 10-1, but with a really high minimum bet to make it worth his time.
I chickened out, but fuck it was the freest money of all time. It still hurts.
— Dan Smith (@DanSmithHolla) October 15, 2020
It’s easy to see how this big win gave him confidence to really up the stakes but in all likelihood he has bitten off more than he can chew this time.
Becoming a chess grandmaster is out of reach of most human beings even if they dedicate their life to the task from an early age.
An Impossible Task
A chess grandmaster title is often compared with a PhD in mathematics. Both are the top recognition of the respective disciplines, but the numbers are not even close.
Today there are around 2,000 chess grandmasters in the world with an estimated 600 million people who can play the game. The number of people holding a doctorate in mathematics is many times more, even with limited opportunity to study at that level.
Due to the long-term nature of this bet, McDonald has offered to prepay. This, of course, raises the question of taking the bet with somebody considerably older. Bill Perkins pointed out that he would take the wager in a heartbeat but is also very likely to die first.
I'll book it but we have a problem, I'm old and will die before you…..
— Bill Perkins (Guy) (@bp22) October 16, 2020
Fedor Holz’s ears pricked up when he heard on the grapevine about Mcdonald offering another crazy prop bet. He tagged the Canadian on Twitter and asked what the minimum was. The reply was straight to the point.
I'll make it if I can get 400k vs 4mm
— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) October 15, 2020
McDonald Seeing Sense
In the last few days Mike McDonald has given the impression of a man beginning to see sense. He has listened to all of the unbelievers on his Twitter feed.
“Ya everyone I’ve spoken to says GM is impossible and IM likely impossible too. Maybe FM in 5 years would be something to shoot for,”
This reply is close to the truth. Grandmaster is almost certainly out of reach, but International Master might not be. It would, however, be many year’s work, and possibly a lifetime’s effort.
Over the weekend McDonald posted the following tweet.
I'm about 95% sure I'm going to back down from this chess bet. I suppose the few issues are:
1) I probably will fail. That said I think I'm way less likely to fail than everyone I've spoken to. If 1) was the only concern I'd like to make the bet.
— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) October 16, 2020
We hope that he reconfigures his goals for a chess challenge because this could definitely be worth following for years to come. The chess rating system is accurate and allows us to see improvements almost in real-time.
With this being a “lifetime” bet, McDonald did think of one more potential stumbling block.
“Life circumstances can change. Kids aren’t on my radar right now but maybe in 2025 I want to have kids and don’t want to prematurely capitulate on the bet or miss out on my kids’ childhood chasing IM norms en route to losing the bet,”
Let’s keep an eye on this story and see if fellow chess fan Bill Perkins can come up with a compromise for a bet that will entertain us for a long time.
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