Recently I gave a talk at TED X Baltimore, shaking any remaining fragments of my glossophobia. Though I'm not a stranger to public speaking, I was nervous about the stakes. Then the crowd laughed at a part that wasn't even supposed to be a joke. Soft table, I realized. Indeed, it was a pleasure to present my ideas on chess, decision trees and poker to such an enthusiastic audience.
The intersections between chess and poker are a big part of my life- when I go to poker tournaments, friends hit me up for chess tips, while I have the exact opposite experience at chess tournaments.
I love talking to poker players about chess and chess players about poker. Contrary to the intro of my TED Talk, or Ike Haxton's recent blog, their questions tend to be so intelligent. At TED X Baltimore, an Indian Grandmaster was sitting in the audience. He had just arrived to the US to attend University of Baltimore County. He introduced himself on break and skipped the "How should I play AK?" queries right to tips on bankroll management and whether to start in tournaments or cash.
I've had a front seat view into PokerStars consistent support of chess. For eight years, they have sponsored my brother Greg Shahade's pet project, the US Chess League. The US Chess League is the first network of its kind in the US, featuring some of the best players in American history.
Now PokerStars is the lead sponsor of the Isle of Man Chess International, which will coincide with the UKIPT Isle of Man Main Event. PokerStars has asked me to be an ambassador for the brand, by commenting on poker/chess synergies, strategies and skills. I'll do this in public appearances, media interviews, blogs and by representing PokerStars as a sponsored player at a number of poker tournaments leading up to the UKIPT IOM Main.
The first event where I'll represent PokerStars is the WSOP Circuit Main in Saint Louis. Saint Louis was recognized by Congress as the "Capital of Chess" in America (seriously!). Saint Louis boasts the most prestigious chess club and chess museum in the US. The STL Chess Club recently hosted the new World Champion (also a poker aficionado), Magnus Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup.
While in Saint Louis, I'll give a series of lectures on chess, including one on chess, feminism and fashion to complement the current World Chess Hall of Fame show, "A Queen Within."
Hope to meet some of you in Saint Louis! Afterwards, I'll head to Israel for a month in which I'll say hello to some of my old friends, "Women's Sunday", "falafel" and "Sunday Million."
Also see Rick Dacey's PokerStars Blog post "UKIPT set for return to the Isle of Man, brings chess to the party." Find out more about the chess tournament at //www.iominternationalchess.com/ and the concurrent IOM poker festival at //www.ukipt.com/.