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The Grandmaster is a promotional cosmetic item for all classes. It is a team-colored hard hat, with a small chess board attached by a rubber spring and two strips of rubber, which bounce around as the player moves. On top of the chess board, a small device projects a small red bomb hologram on the RED team, and a blue wrench hologram on the BLU team, both of which rotate. As the player's killstreak rises, the hologram projection changes to various chess pieces.

This item was awarded in Genuine quality to players who purchased the Exclusive Team Fortress 2 Chess Set from ThinkGeek or the Valve Store.


The Grandmaster possesses an unique mechanic that changes the design of the hologram based on the wearer's killstreak. The design changes based on how many enemies were killed during a single life:

Number of kills RED BLU
0 kills Pawn Piece
Grandmaster RED Level 1.png Grandmaster BLU Level 1.png
1 kill Rook Piece
Grandmaster RED Level 2.png Grandmaster BLU Level 2.png
2 kills Knight Piece
Grandmaster RED Level 3.png Grandmaster BLU Level 3.png
3 kills Bishop Piece
Grandmaster RED Level 4.png Grandmaster BLU Level 4.png
4 kills Queen Piece
Grandmaster RED Level 5.png Grandmaster BLU Level 5.png
5 or more kills King Piece
Grandmaster RED Level 6.png Grandmaster BLU Level 6.png

This mechanic is independent of weapon killstreaks, and does not require a Killstreak Kit to activate. The design is updated with each direct kill, including killing bots, destroying Mann vs. Machine robots, Sentry Gun kills, Environmental deaths, and telefragging. However, kill assists do not increment the killstreak.

Update history

October 2, 2013 Patch

  • The Grandmaster was added to the game.

November 11, 2013 Patch

  • The Grandmaster will now update its model based on the owner's current kill streak.

August 21, 2014 Patch #1

  • Fixed the Demoman not being able to equip The Grandmaster.


  • If a Spy is disguised as an enemy with the Grandmaster, the hat appears as the Spy's team color.
  • When selecting the BLU team from the backpack's "Inspect item" panel, the Grandmaster still uses its RED team skin.
  • The Grandmaster becomes invisible after the pre-round ends, but becomes visible again when touching a resupply locker or changing class.[1]


  • The item's description refers to a pair of chess matches in 1996 and 1997 between Garry Kasparov, a former World Chess Champion and considered by some as the best of all time, and Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer developed by IBM with the intent of beating a human world champion.
  • The title Grandmaster is awarded to chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can earn.



  1. Video showing off the pre-round disappearing bug.