War is like a game of chess: with guts on top of it! And instead of chess pieces, there's just brave blood-hungry sons-of-bitches who love war!
— The Soldier
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.
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
- Fixed the Demoman not being able to equip The Grandmaster
- 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.
- Since this hat was released before the existence of killstreak items, it is the first item in the game to have the ability to count killstreaks.
- If a Spy is disguised as an enemy with The Grandmaster, the hat will appear as the Spy's team color.