Chess 29may12The World Chess Championship reached a critical stage this week with the best of twelve series between Boris Gelfand and defending champion Viswanathan Anand tied at 6-6, taking the contest to a tie-breaker on Wednesday.

Central to the tied score was a move made by Gelfand, his tenth as black, which took him 40 minutes to make. It proved crucial to the Israeli.”If I hadn’t been thinking for a long time and made a move quickly, maybe, it would be already impossible to do anything on the next move,” said Gelfand, as reported on the News Track India website.

One of the appealing aspects of Mind Sports are these moments of intense focus, which while often agonising for the player – Gelfand was pictured with his face scrunched up – offer delightful segments of analysis for the spectator, be it a chess match of a hand of poker, which can later be analysed at length. In the post-mortem, Anand, World Chess Champion since 2008, admitted that Gelfand had played “very well.”

While chess grandmasters are permitted lengthy periods in which to make their move, in poker when the clock is ticking and the blinds ready to go up, the pressure is on to act before other players call the floor. If they do thinking time is cut to one minute before a tournament director can declare a hand dead.

Yet good players know when the circumstances require serious thought and tend to allow players as much time as they need to make crucial decisions that can be the difference between survival and elimination.

Gelfand and Anand shook hands on the game, after Anand’s 22nd move, watched by 400 spectators in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and many more watching on screens outside.

The four-match tiebreak presents the possibility of yet another draw, at which point the Armageddon phase comes to effect, a match in which each player has only a few minutes to act. White receives five minutes while black receives four, although in the event of a draw black is declared the winner.

At stake will be $1.5 million to the winner, with $1 million to the runner-up.


News spread across the poker world at the weekend that “Amarillo Slim” Preston had died after a long illness, at the age of 83.

Born Thomas Austin Preston Jr, “Amarillo Slim” was one of the early pioneers of the game, long before the internet turned the game into a mainstream activity.Excelling in cash games across the United States, Preston, who was rarely seen without his Stetson and ostrich skin boots, won the World Series of Poker in 1972 and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1992, two years after winning his fourth bracelet.

Preston had been unwell for some time and lately had been in a hospice. The Preston’s family released a statement yesterday that was posted on the World Series of Poker website.

“We hope everyone will remember our beloved Amarillo Slim for all the positive things he did for poker and to popularize his favourite game, Texas Hold’em,” the family said.

As the Las Vegas Review Journal reported, Preston had faced a rocky last few years.

“In August 2003, a Texas grand jury indicted Preston on multiple counts of indecency with a child. The felony charges were later dropped, but Preston eventually agreed to plead no contest to misdemeanour assault charges to protect his family, he claimed, and avoid the embarrassment of a public trial.”

Years later Preston told author Nolan Dalla that the charges had split the family, but that they had since been re-united.

“Yes, that was right at one time,” Preston told Dalla. “But that’s not true anymore. All of them have since written letters about these charges saying it was a big mistake and the sexual abuse never happened.”

Dalla himself commented:

“While other less deserving poker players got rich and famous in recent years, Slim missed the poker boom entirely.”

Read the full article on the Las Vegas Review Journal website.


Leo Margets Blog 2may12

Ladies event winner Leo Margets

The PokerStars European Poker Tour concluded last night with various events to finish the season with the lavish Monaco backdrop. With six-max events and high rollers to conclude, it was easy to miss one particular tournament that some believe shouldn’t even take place in the first place.

The Grand Final ladies event featured 35 players each paying €1,000 to play, making it one of the largest women only events anywhere. After two days of play it was won by Leo Margets of Spain, who beat Victoria Coren heads-up to the first prize of €16,850.

Ladies events are something of a talking point across the poker world, dividing players between those who see them simply as a way of encouraging women to take up the game, and those who regard them as an unnecessary addition to the calendar. It’s certainly a fair point that poker is a game of mental dexterity, a mind sport, rather than something that should be divided by genetics.

Indeed, it’s even a legal issue in some countries. In France, the staging of a women only event must be balanced with the scheduling of a men’s only event. In countries not so stringent on their equal opportunity law, it’s not uncommon to see men playing ladies events, even going so far as to wear a
dress to make their point, although that could be considered going too far.

But their remains a demand, from the World Series to the European Poker Tour, with the tournaments serving as a useful introduction for women entering the poker world; it goes without saying that poker is a male dominated game and “ladies only” can be a big draw for women.

Certainly Margets will think so, a professional player looking to make a living regardless of how a tournament is administered. Both she and Coren are already accomplished players, comfortable in any environment, with the results to prove it.

As well as an EPT title, Coren has earned more than $1.5 million as a poker player while Margets has earnings of more than $700,000, notably finishing in 27th place in the 2009 World Series main event. Both players were also among those invited to play the IFP World Championships in 2011 where
Coren took the silver medal.

The debate will continue on the need for ladies only event, but while players like Margets and Coren continue to win, they may not be in a much of a rush to declare their outlook one way or another.


07-5-12 - Will Shwarz


Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days and dates around the world, a day when sons and daughters, as well as the odd thoughtful husband, show their appreciation of “mum” by letting her put her feet up, as Dad does the dishes, the kids make breakfast and the dog fetches the TV remote.

Most commonly, Mother’s Day takes place on the second Sunday in May, which makes that today. So, as a tribute to all the poker mothers out there, be they players themselves or simply the loyal parents who cheer on their husbands, sons and daughters from the rail, here’s to you. Have a great Mother’s Day.

Steve Paul Pca

Steve Paul congratulated by his sister and mother after reaching the PCA final table.

Susan Lauter Wpt S4

Susan Lauter hugs her bracelet winning son Michael Mizrachi.

Jamie Gold Wsop06

WSOP Main Event winner Jamie Gold gets a hug from his mother.