General Mar 6, 2021 | 8:52 AMby FM Yosha Iglesias

Battle of the Minds: 4 legends compete in chess and poker

Peter Svidler and Patrick Leonard will team up to play chess and poker against a rival team consisting of Alexander Grischuk and Isaac Haxton. Patrick and Isaac are as famous in the poker world as Peter and Sasha are in the chess world! We're also launching a Freeroll Series that you can play, each Sunday of March and April, on partypoker.

4 legends, 3 sets, 2 games =1 Battle of the Minds

The Training Sessions

On Wednesday, March 10 at 8 pm CET, Peter Svidler will give a streamed chess lesson to his partner Patrick Leonard and will receive a poker lesson in exchange.

8-time Russian Chess Champion Peter Svidler started to play poker in 2010 and used to play a lot, but has done so less in the last couple of years. He describes himself as a "bad regular"... which is exactly what a humble "good regular" would say!

Patrick used to be World n°1 on the PocketFives rating and is part of Team partypoker.

The day after, on Thursday, March 11 at 8 pm CET, it will be the turn of Alexander Grischuk and Isaac Haxton to train each other in order to get ready for the Battle.

You might remember from my article Great minds: 10 players who excel at both chess and poker that World n°6 Alexander Grischuk made 8 cashes in the last World Series of Poker, including a 6th place for $30k!

As good in poker as Sasha might be, he will probably have a thing or two to learn from his partner, the great Isaac Haxton.

Also part of Team partypoker, Isaac is n°16 on the All-Time Money List with $28 million in earnings! He is regarded as one of the best Heads-Up specialists in the world... and that's exactly what they are going to play.

The Battle

The Battle will take place on Friday, March 12 at 8 pm CET
Team Peter and Patrick will face Team Alexander and Isaac. 

Here's a quick summary of the format:

  • Each set consists of one chess game and one Sit & Go Heads-Up played simultaneously.
  • Chess will be played as Hand & Brain, with the poker pros the Hands.
  • Players will alternate on every street in poker e.g. Peter raises preflop, Alexander calls, Isaac bets on the flop, Peter folds.
  • There will be 3 sets.
  • Each team will have its own stream so you can follow either Peter and Patrick or Alexander and Isaac!
  • The Battle, as well as the training sessions, will be streamed on our channels. 

If you want to know the details: 

  • Chess will be played on chess24 at 12 minutes + 10 seconds per move. 
  • Poker will be played on, at Turbo speed.
  • As a set can be drawn, if there is a 1.5-1.5 draw after 3 sets, there will be a tie-break with a hyper-turbo SNG HU.
  • In case of a 2-0 win, the 3rd set will nevertheless be played.

The Freeroll Series

Do you want to play poker amongst chess players?

As exciting as watching the world's best players can be, nothing compares with playing yourself! 

That is why we are launching the Battle of the Minds Freeroll Series that starts this Sunday, March 7.   

The whole competition is entirely free and while there are no cash prizes, you can still win some nice prizes.

1st stage: the Freerolls

One freeroll each Sunday of March and April at 8 pm CET/CEST.   

All the freerolls are 6-max No-Limit Holdem Tournaments - only the speed changes, alternating between Turbo and Hyper.

In each Freeroll you can win:

  • €50 in chess24 shop vouchers (1st place €25, 2nd place €15, 3rd place €10).
  • Tickets for partypoker tournaments if you eliminate players with a bounty on their heads.
  • Leaderboard points to qualify for the 2nd stage.

2nd stage: the Knockout

At the end of April, after 8 tournaments, the top 4 on the leaderboard will play a knockout Heads-Up tournament and compete for these prizes:

4th place

  • a €25 partypoker ticket 
  • a €25 chess24 shop voucher

‌3rd place 

  • a €50 partypoker ticket
  • a €50 chess24 shop voucher

2nd place

  • a €100 partypoker ticket
  • a €100 chess24 shop voucher

1st place

  • a €100 partypoker ticket
  • a €100 chess24 shop voucher
  • 1 hour of private poker coaching with a pro
  • 1 hour of private chess coaching with a grandmaster

Play the 1st Freeroll of the series this Sunday!

Let's answer a few questions you might have:

Is it really free?
There are no fees at all. However, you need a valid account with a deposit. 

Where does the competition take place?

Who can participate?
All adults over 18 years old, who are living in a country where operates. This includes: Russia, UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Canada, Holland, LATAM

How to participate?
Go to and register if you don't already have an account.
In the lobby, find the tourney named Battle of the Minds Freeroll Series #1. A password is needed: Chessparty

We will publish the leaderboard soon after the end of the tournament. Good luck!

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