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John Saunders


John Saunders's Chess Pages

Chess Internationals in the Isle of Man

John Saunders reports: This page is an index to all the material I have in my possession on major international chess tournaments held in the Isle of Man. I was the official reporter (as well as game inputter, webmaster and photographer!) for the Monarch Assurance Chess Internationals from 2001 to 2007, so I have plentiful material from those years, but I have also gathered together material from the first nine Monarch Assurance tournaments which I did not attend. The following is by no means comprehensive and will need help from others in order to cover the ground. Most of the Monarch events saw the majority of the games input, the main exception being the first tournament, with only seven games coming to light so far. If anyone has more games from the 1992 tournament, or indeed any missing games from other tournaments featured here, please do send them to me.

Before the advent of the Monarch Assurance event in 1992, records of international play in the Isle of Man are somewhat sketchy. But in 1979 a seven-round international tournament called the Isle of Man Millennium Open was played at Ronaldsway, Isle of Man, from 7-10 September (hence with more than one round a day on three of the four days). I only know about this tournament from seeing Bernard Cafferty's scorebooks. Amongst Bernard's opponents were Bob Wade, Gary Lane and Ian Wells so it must have been quite strong. British Chess Magazine was silent about it, suggesting that post-tournament publicity was lacking. Bernard Cafferty's games from this event are available here.

Two other tournaments were played in the Isle of Man in 1990 and 1991. I have yet to research these fully. BCM has no mention of them. I understand that contemporary issues of CHESS have some coverage, though the relevant copies are not to hand in my chess library. Can someone look these up for me? I can't find anything for 1991 but there may be something in a 1990 issue of the magazine.

Monarch Assurance International 1992-2016 (all played in Port Erin, Isle of Man, organised by Dennis Hemsley)

No. Year Dates Winner(s) Principal Venue
1 1992 19-27 Sept Colin McNab Cherry Orchard
2 1993 18-26 Sept Dharshan Kumaran Cherry Orchard
3 1994 17-25 Sept Bogdan Lalic Cherry Orchard
4 1995 7-15 Oct Julian Hodgson (tie-break) Cherry Orchard
5 1996 5-13 Oct Vladislav Tkachiev Cherry Orchard
6 1997 4-12 Oct Alexander Baburin Cherry Orchard
7 1998 7-15 Nov Emil Sutovsky (tie-break) Cherry Orchard
8 1999 6-14 Nov Sergei Shipov, Emil Sutovsky Cherry Orchard
9 2000 14-22 Sept Mark Hebden Cherry Orchard
10 2001 29 Sep - 7 Oct Mikhail Ulibin Cherry Orchard
11 2002 28 Sep - 6 Oct Vladimir Epishin Cherry Orchard
12 2003 27 Sep - 5 Oct Simen Agdestein (tie-break) Ocean Castle
13 2004 25 Sep - 3 Oct Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (tie-break) Ocean Castle
14 2005 24 Sep - 2 Oct Alexander Areschenko, Alex Shabalov Ocean Castle
15 2006 23 Sep - 1 Oct Alexander Areschenko (tie-break) Ocean Castle
16 2007 22-30 Sept Bartel, Efimenko, Golod, Kobalia, Roiz, Yakovich Ocean Castle

In 2004 the inaugural World Senior (Over-60) Team Championship was held immediately after the finish of the 13th Monarch Assurance International at the Ocean Castle, Port Erin. Among those taking part was Viktor Korchnoi (who also played in the 2004 Monarch Assurance International). A game viewer may be found here and website details here.

Thanks to the efforts of such tireless workers for chess as Dennis Hemsley, Richard Furness, Patrick Taylor and Tony Bridson, the success of the Monarch event led to the British Championship being held in the Isle of Man in 2005. A game viewer for the 2005 British Chess Championship may be found here.


During its heyday, the Monarch Assurance became the strongest contemporary tournament held anywhere in the British/English Chess Federation's sphere of influence, as the London Classic and Gibtelecom/Tradewise Gibraltar congresses had not yet come into being. In terms of strength the Monarch has now been comprehensively eclipsed by the PokerStars/Chess.com Isle of Man Masters, held at the Villa Marina in Douglas. Here are games databases and other information relating to this event.

No. Year Dates Winner Venue Games Website
1 2014 4-12 Oct Nigel Short Villa Marina Viewer website
2 2015 3-11 Oct Pentala Harikrishna (tie-break from Gabriel Sargissian and Laurent Fressinet) Villa Marina Viewer website
3 2016 1-9 Oct Pavel Eljanov (tie-break from Fabiano Caruana) Villa Marina Viewer website
4 2017 23 Sep - 1 Oct Link to the website Villa Marina Viewer website