Chess Queen Jennifer Shahade Now PokerStars Mind Sports AmbassadorMarch 27, 2014 1:52 pm
Keen to establish common ground between the two games of poker and chess, PokerStars has named chess queen Jennifer Shahade as its new Mind Sports Ambassador.
With her bright red hair, sparkling blue eyes and striking looks, the 33 year-old American chess player is one of the most recognizable faces on the US chess circuit. As well as being a two-time American women’s chess champion, Jennifer Shahade is also the author of Chess Bitch, a book in which she goes on to explain how young women chess players are successfully infiltrating the traditionally male dominated world of international chess.
Poker, too, has long been considered a traditionally male game, although in recent times the industry has tried its best to encourage more and more ladies to take up the game. With Shahade’s help, PokerStars is hoping to not only attract more women to its virtual and live sponsored events, but also encourage chess players of both genders to bridge the gap between chess and poker.
Highlighting one of the chief transferable skills a chess expert can bring to poker, Shahade said chess players are always trying to play the best moves and “not just get lucky and win,” a mentality of vital importance when improving as a poker player. Talking about her new role as a PokerStars sponsored Mind Sports Ambassador, Shahade then explained:
“PokerStars has asked me to be an ambassador for the brand, by commenting on poker/chess synergies, strategies and skills. I’ll do this in public appearances, media interviews, blogs and by representing PokerStars as a sponsored player at a number of poker tournaments leading up to the UKIPT IOM Main.”
Interestingly, this is not PokerStars’ first affiliation with the chess world, and for the past eight years the site has sponsored the U.S. Chess League, a nation-wide chess league founded by her brother and International Master Greg Shahade. Likewise, Jennifer Shahade has taken part in several poker tournaments since 2007, with her biggest score coming this year at the $10k PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, where she finished 31st out of 1,031 players for a $43,300 payday.
Explaining the challenges which lie ahead as a Mind Sports Ambassador, Jennifer Shahade, commented: “When I wanted to make chess more popular, I was always explaining that chess is not just for smart players, not just for geniuses. Whereas poker’s challenge is getting people to understand the difference of a game of skill and not chance, and that it can still be prestigious and filled with professional people.”