Eric Rosen Beats Alexandra Botez to Book Ultimate CHOKER Showdown with Endboss Hikaru Nakamura

US chess maestro Eric Rosen has taken down the CHOKER Cup Challengers title, defeating Canadian chess queen Alexandra Botez by a nail-biting 3-2 margin to land a match with the mixed mindsport end-boss Hikaru Nakamura.

By: Andrew Burnett

Both players had powered through their earlier matches with whitewash 3-0 victories, Botez defeating Bill Perkins last week to KO the last of the true poker players, Perkins having previously despatched Matty Staples.

International Master Eric Rosen, however, not only held a huge chess rating advantage over his final opponent, but had shown some keen strategic skills in the game that combines the best elements of both chess and poker.

Before we get into the action, if you’re not sure of the rules here’s a quick rundown…

Rules

  • Players are dealt 5 cards each, from a 44-card pack, with a chess piece on each card
  • The betting rounds occur after 2, 4 and 5 cards are dealt.
  • Once the betting rounds are completed (if neither you nor your opponent has folded) you place the chess pieces you have been dealt in specially-marked zones.
  • After that, it’s a traditional chess game, the winner taking down the pot, checkmate – or CHOKEMATE! – the ultimate goal, though not the only way to win.

Commentators Jeff Gross, the poker guru, and Malcom Pein, the English International Master, were again on hand to talk fans through the final battle.

For Botez, the opening clash looked like a dream come true, Rosen all-in and at risk with a piece deficit, Botez with one of the strongest hands seen so far in the Challengers Cup.

However, the piece placement part of Choker proved her downfall – a disastrous choice and a ton of time used in making it…



For a chessplayer of Rosen’s strength, the solution was simple (answer below) and he would go on to take a rather lucky 1-0 lead.

Solution1: 1. Qa4+ (saving his own queen) 1…Kf8 2.Rxg7 and now after 2…Rxg7 3.Qxa7 the material turnaround was complete

A somewhat tilted Botez fell 2-0 behind on the very next hand, shoving into an extremely strong hand and paying the price.

The talented young chess streamer hadn’t got this far without being a fearsome fighter, though, and soon battled her way back into the match.

A Choker ‘Empress’ – the equivalent of a full house in poker – gave her an overwhelming advantage that would reduce the match deficit to 2-1, though not without a massive time scramble…



Botez’s aggression had been a big part of her run to the final, but this time it was Rosen who overpressed in the betting phase, Botez gladly calling his all-in…



Rosen fought back, but that early win was enough for Botez to level the match at 2-2, an epic finale to the Challengers final in prospect and Botez showing off her dancing skills onstream..

Unfortunately for the Canadian star, the luck of the cards deserted her at the critical moment, her stack quickly halved and the realisation she was in serious trouble as she drew the worst two starting hole-cards in Choker.




And then, in a disastrous miscalculation, she folded her way to defeat – not enough chips left to complete the blinds, and Rosen had taken victory by the narrowest of margins!

A thoroughly enjoyable and exciting match, and Eric Rosen now goes on to challenge 5-times US chess champ and Choker ambassador Hikaru Nakamura for the ultimate Choker crown!

We’ll bring you all the best of that titanic struggle next week, so watch this space.

In the meantime, if you fancy a go at CHOKER yourself, check out the free to play app links below to get started…

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