John Saunders reports: A major sensation has just occurred in round three. Vladimir Kramnik, who won the world championship title from Garry Kasparov in 2000 without losing a game, has already lost two games in the space of three rounds at the isle of Man Masters. While losing to a fellow member of the elite, Fabiano Caruana, in round one could be considered a normal result, losing to a second US player, 65-year-old James Tarjan, now rated a very modest 2412, has to be considered a huge surprise.

John Saunders reports: The Isle of Man Chess tournament is not just about world stars - two other tournaments have started today at the Villa Marina: the Major and the Minor. May I take the opportunity to wish everyone playing in those tournaments a warm welcome to Douglas and hope you all have a great time.

John Saunders reports: Round two meant a return to the tried and trusted (if not universally popular) method of making the pairings. Let's park the whole pairings business for now, and for once I'll try to stick to the point, which is to tell you what happened in round two. I can't guarantee my good intentions will last or I won't go off on one of my Grandpa Simpson-style rambles down memory lane at some point. But, as his grandson famously said, "I can't promise to try but I'll try to try."

As well as being our tournament commentator, Fiona Steil-Antoni is a prolific and brilliant vlogger. Here's a link to her first vlog about her arrival at this year's tournament, with guests appearances from Simon WilliamsDavid Howell, Ivan Sokolov, Nils Grandelius, Lawrence Trent, Lennart Ootes, Anna Rudolf, Ana Srebrnic and others. Fiona captures the atmosphere behind the scenes of a big-time chess tournament and presents it in a bright and breezy way. Unmissable! 

The Round 3 pairings are available here.

Given that the views expressed in my comments here have been biased in favour of 'Brandom' (my Brexit-style nickname for the British/Isle of Man random pairing experiment), I thought it would only be fair to post a short summary of the arguments against. The best summary I have seen so far of the anti-Brandom argument has appeared in posts made by English IM Richard Bates on the English Chess Forum.

Round 2 results are being regularly updated here...

John Saunders reports: Round one of the 2017 Isle of Man Masters took place on Saturday 23 September 2017 at the Villa Marina in Douglas. And the star of the show was not one of the players so much as the implementation of the controversial random pairings experiment. You've heard of Brexit? Well, since I'm British and the tournament is held in Britain I'm calling the random pairing system Brandom...

Round 1 photos by Maria Emelianova

Please credit to / Maria Emelianova 

Link to Round 1 photos:


John Saunders reports

Yesterday (Friday) was the day before the tournament starts, and turned out to be quite a lot of fun as the business of registration and pairings took place. This process can often be very boring, but not today.

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Sponsored By The Scheinberg Family
With assistance from
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Organised by IOM International Chess Limited