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John Saunders


BritBase.Info - British Chess Game Archive

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). The games I have from this tournament are solely from Bernard Cafferty's scorebooks. Amongst Bernard's opponents were Bob Wade, Gary Lane and Ian Wells. British Chess Magazine was silent about it, but CHESS, September 1979, p326, had a brief report as follows: "The Isle of Man Congress, sponsored by Ronaldsway Aircraft, organised by Stuart Wilson, got off to a great start, drawing 130 competitors, many with families; mostly newcomers to the island, all very pleased. David Parr (Ewell) set his sights on the first prize of £500 and never looked like losing it. He scored 6 out of 7, drawing wih I. D. Wells (Morecambe) in rd. 5 and, already certain first, with K. F. H. Inwood (Kingston) in rd. 7. C. S. Crouch (Harrow), who had just picked up an I.M. norm in the London Masters, shared places 2-3 with 15-year-old Ian Wells (Morecambe). Among those on 4 were R. G. Wade (Ilford) and former British Lady Champion Sheila Jackson (Liverpool) who received a special ladies’ prize. 36 competed. V. Dilworth (Sale), S. Doherty (Manchester) and R. Frew (Belfast) tied first in the 32-strong Major. E. W. Engert (Chandlers’ Ford), and W. H. Whicher (Athenaeum) tied for the Minor (38 players); Miss Ross Craill (Liverpool) and A. Honeyman (Isle of Man), the Junior events. At the concluding buffet dance and prizegiving, Mr. B. A. Holt of Ronaldsway Aircraft announced that the congress might become a biennial, even annual, event." . Bernard Cafferty's games from the 1979 event may be found here.

Two other tournaments were played in the Isle of Man in 1990 and 1991. BCM has no mention of them, but CHESS carried two short reports of the 1990 event (CHESS, Oct 1990, p4 & Dec 1990, p10). The 1990 tournament was played at Port St Mary Town Hall from 30 August to 1 September. Colin Crouch (Harrow) won the Open with 5/5 ahead of Neville Gill (Douglas), David Houston (Belfast) and Zia Mehmet (Lewisham) all on 3. The Major (under 160) produced a triple tie between David Woodruff (Keynsham), Remy Bessat (Port St. Mary) and Howard Dobson (Lewisham) all on 4/5; Dr John Aston (Swindon) won the Minor (under 120) on 4½/5, while David Taggart (Baldrine) took the Junior (under 16) with 5/5. Neville Gill won the brilliancy prize, a beautiful crystal glass chess set presented by Monarch Assurance plc. Colin Crouch received £500 plus the Coopers & Lybrand Trophy, a handsome ceramic cup. I can't find anything for 1991 but there may be something in a 1990 issue of the magazine. A viewer for the extant 1990 and 1991 games is available here.

Monarch Assurance International 1992-2007 (all played in Port Erin, Isle of Man, organised by Dennis Hemsley)

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

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 Magnus Carlsen Villa Marina Viewer website
5 2018 20-28 Oct Radoslaw Wojtaszek (tie-break from Arkadij Naiditsch) Villa Marina Viewer website


In 2019, the annual Chess.com Isle of Man Masters became the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss as part of the 2019-2020 FIDE World Championship qualifying cycle. The highest finisher not otherwise qualified received a place in the 2020 FIDE World Championship Candidates' tournament scheduled to be held in Ekaterinburg.

No. Year Dates Winner Venue Games Website
1 2019 10-21 Oct Wang Hao (tie-break from Fabiano Caruana) Comis Hotel Viewer website


The second FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss and the inaugural 2021 FIDE Chess.com Women's Grand Swiss were scheduled to be held in Douglas, Isle of Man, in October 2021 but had to be rescheduled to be played in Riga, Latvia, due to difficulties in ensuring that all eligible players would be free to attend in the Isle of Man. As a form of replacement for it, the managers of the Manx Liberty 4NCL team organised their own ten-player GM tournament in Douglas from 18-26 September 2021.

Year Dates Winner Venue Games
2021 18-26 September Luke McShane Douglas Town Hall Viewer


The top two finishers in this event qualified for the 2024 FIDE Candidates' Tournament, scheduled to be held in Toronto, Canada.

Year Dates Winner Runner-Up Venue Games
2023 25 October - 5 November Vidit Gujathi Hikaru Nakamura Villa Marina, Douglas Viewer


The top two finishers in this event qualified for the 2024 FIDE Women's Candidates' Tournament, scheduled to be held in Toronto, Canada. As Anna Muzychuk was already qualified for the Candidates, the second qualifying place went to Tan Zhongyi.

Year Dates Winner Runner-Up Venue Games
2023 25 October - 5 November Rameshbabu Vaishali Anna Muzychuk
(Tan Zhongyi qualified for the Candidates)
Villa Marina, Douglas Viewer

2023 Isle of Man Major/Minor

This seven-round rating-restricted event, organised by the Isle of Man Chess Association, was held alongside the two FIDE events at the Villa Marina.

Year Dates Winner Venue Games
2023 28 October - 3 November Koichi Nicholas, Triin Narva Villa Marina, Douglas Viewer

File Updated

Date Notes
2021 First set up.
20 November 2023 Added details of the 2023 tournaments.