As part of the chess and poker festivities in Isle of Man in October, PokerStars will host the first Combined Chess and Poker tournament on October 3rd. The event is open to all, with a buyin of £200+20.
Already confirmed to participate is the World's #9 player Maxime Vachier Lagrave, British #1 Mickey Adams, poker pro and chess champion Almira Skripchenko, and Grandmaster Laurent Fressinet. Supernova elite players, Radoslaw "radoom" Jedynak, and Simon Ansell will also get in on the action. (Find out more about Radek and Simon here.)
Along the lines of previous competitions, such as "Fairways and Felts" and "Fish and Chips," the performance in a preliminary chess tournament will determine chip stacks in a concluding poker tournament. The chess tournament will include five rounds of blitz chess (each player gets seven minutes to checkmate or run the other player out of time.) For every win, a player gets a bonus 1,000 poker chips added to an initial stack of 8,000.
The champ is then crowned in a turbo poker tournament, so the maximum you can start the poker tournament with is 13,000 and the minimum is 8,000.
Supernova Elite and Grandmaster Jedynak Radoslaw thinks he may be a small favorite since the format suits him perfectly. "I like my chances but it's close," he said. "It's a hyper turbo style, which is exactly the formula I play every day. A strong poker player can lose all five chess games, win a coinflip and have more chips than any grandmaster."
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the highest ranked chess player in the PokerStars IOM International (October 4-12) has also signed up for the Chess/Poker event. Maxime plays poker every couple of months with friends and thinks poker pros have the best chances.
"Even an edge on chips doesn't guarantee anything if you don't follow it up with good poker," he said. "Almira (who has final tabled WSOP and WPT events) could be a favorite given her experience."
Almira says that although the format favors the strongest chess players, "I am not sure they will be able to exploit it, since the stacks are rather deep at the beginning." She said she'd pick her husband, Grandmaster Laurent Fressinet as the favorite.
"He is very good in rapid chess and quite an experienced player in tournament poker," she said. "As for Maxime, he is very strong in rapid, but his poker is a bit wild. He bluffs a lot!"
The Combined Chess & NL coincides with Day 1B of the UKIPT IOM Main, so I'll enter 1A of the UKIPT, so I can be sure to play in both. Any poker players interested in doing the same can hit me up for a few chess tips.
Jen Shahade is PokerStars' Mind Sports Ambassador. She is currently hosting live coverage of the strongest tournament in chess history, the Sinquefield Cup, a six player tournament which includes World Champ Magnus Carlsen & the IOM International's top seed, Maxime "MVL" Vachier-Lagrave.