Further proof that chess and poker do mix came in The New York Times this weekend, which reported on the victory by Almira Skripchenko in the French Championship.
It was the fifth time Skripchenko has won the title.
Most impressive about her performance was that it came despite her focus being divided between chess and her career as a professional poker player.
Skripchenko, who was born in Moldova but who now lives in France, turned poker pro in 2003, racking up significant live earnings in tournaments across France, Europe and the United States.
As she put it, the world of professional poker simply pays better.
She’s not alone in making the switch.
Dan Harrington, known for his epic tomes about how to play high stakes poker, was Massachusetts chess champion in 1971 while more recently Ylon Schwartz, a chess master from Brooklyn who used to play street games in New York, finished fourth in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event.
The switch came easily to Skripchenko, who admitted to finding poker easier than chess, study of which used to consume large parts of her day: “I think chess is one of the last games where everything is based on creativity.”
But the two games complement each other she admitted, suggesting that poker had helped her chess game: “Poker in a way helped me to find joy in simple things, to be happy, to accept defeat.”