Nigel Short Wins First PokerStars Isle of Man International

Nigel Short Wins First PokerStars Isle of Man International

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

Nigel Short won the first PokerStars Isle of Man International. “I am ecstatic. So pleased with my result,” tweeted the 49-year-old English grandmaster after finishing on 7.5/9, a full point ahead of the pack.

Between 3 and 12 October an original event took place Isle of Man, the self-governing British Crown dependency located in the between Great Britain and Ireland. Sponsored by PokerStars, the tournament involved a mixture of chess and poker. Not a bad combination, since many chess players like to play poker too!

The festival took off with “Simultaneous Chess & Poker” event where Jennifer Shahade took on three opponents at chess and three opponents at poker. She did quite well, scoring 5-1! Only Baard Dahl of Norway managed to beat here — at poker.

Jennifer Shahade giving a chess & poker simul | All photos © Fiona Steil-Antoni courtesy of the official website

The open tournament, called Masters section, had 73 players from 17 countries. With 56 title holders (including 25 GMs and 19 IMs) it was a pretty strong group; the top 8 could be found in the top 100 of the world: Michael Adams (England), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Laurent Fressinet (France), Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia), Julio Granda Zuniga (Peru), Sergei Tiviakov (Netherlands), Gawain Jones (England) and David Howell (England).

However, it was the very next player on the list who won the tournament, and played himself back into the top 100 along the way: Nigel Short of England. He scored an undefeated 7.5/9, a point more than the aforementioned Fressinet, Tiviakov, Howell and Israeli GM Gil Popilski.

Three draws and two wins was a rather modest start (well, for a tournament winner!) but then the machine started rolling. First it was the young Israeli GM Avital Boruchvsky who was punished for a miscalculation:

There's always that moment for a tournament winner where the word luck cannot be avoided while describing what happened. After an interesting middlegame that saw a positional Exchange sacrific, Alon Greenfeeld defended a difficult ending for a long time only to blunder when the draw was in sight:

The playing hall: Isle of Man's Villa Marina

In the penultimate round Short surprised his opponent, Gabriel Sargissian, with the Benoni — and it worked out pretty well! It looks like the English GM outplayed his opponent out of the opening:

Nigel Short

In the final round Short faced David Howell, who like him had won three games in a row. It was an fitting finale of this first new tournament on the Isle of Man, where both English GMs had their chances but the oldest of the two emerged victoriously:

The all-decisive game Short-Howell

2014 PokerStars Isle of Man | Final Standings Masters Section (Top 22)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg TB1
1 9 GM Short Nigel D ENG 2646 7,5
2 3 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2713 6,5
6 GM Tiviakov Sergei NED 2668 6,5
8 GM Howell David W L ENG 2657 6,5
21 GM Popilski Gil ISR 2493 6,5
6 1 GM Adams Michael ENG 2758 6
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2757 6
4 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2690 6
7 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2664 6
16 IM Hawkins Jonathan ENG 2533 6
57 FM Merry Alan B ENG 2269 6
12 10 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2640 5,5
11 GM Fridman Daniel GER 2635 5,5
12 GM Marin Mihail ROU 2583 5,5
13 GM Hillarp Persson Tiger SWE 2555 5,5
14 GM Greenfeld Alon ISR 2542 5,5
18 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2528 5,5
19 GM Tarjan James E USA 2525 5,5
23 GM Gormally Daniel W ENG 2488 5,5
24 GM Smith Bryan G USA 2482 5,5
28 IM Van Foreest Jorden NED 2455 5,5
58 Mindlin Alon ISR 2259 5,5
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