Old news.

I’ve got a lot of those. In the last year I have been collecting and piling material, without posting any of it. When I did think about publishing some of it, my intention had a magical ability to coincide with some great chess event. Today I have no idea what is going on in the vicinity of Wijk aan Zee, and news from the Rock are nothing to me, on this day. (La, la, la, la…)Instead I’ll dive into the middle of my material, which brings me back to September 2018, Batumi, Georgia, where the Chess Olympiad was held.

There is a lot I could write about the Olympiad. Perhaps starting with that: viewed from a perspective of global (and European) tourism, Georgia is still something of a hidden gem; a wine-producing, mountainous, friendly country, with a great cuisine. (I’m completely focusing on the things that I find most appealing, and my short description is surely a bit one sided. Still, I recommend chess lovers to visit Batumi in the autumn, when the European Team Championship is held there in October-November.) But, I will stop there and get to the games, which are what matters most to me.

The Swedish team did very well and reached 11:th place, which was quite a good result for us, a team rated as no.32. From a personal point I didn’t do too well. I was very lucky in round 2 and 6 and in round 4 I was completely out-played by Maxim Rodshtein. In round 7 I blundered a pawn on move 17 and had to turn to tricks in order to turn the game around, something I eventually succeeded in. The game was later chosen as the “game of the round”, went on to win “best game of the Olympiad” and was presented as the best game of the year by chess.com. I am of course quite happy about this and can agree that the game might merit a “crowd-pleaser of the year”, but I’m less sure about the whole “best”-thing. Anyway, you can find the game on a number of sites (for instance here) and I will not comment further on it here. Instead I want to present two of the wonderful games that my team mates produced:

Swedish Go Championship

The Swedish Go Championship starts on Saturday and I’m looking forward to playing in my second go tournament ever. Due to go-federation regulations (which I’m all for) I will start at a 2kyu rank, which makes it virtually impossible for me to win the tournament even if I win all my games. My ambition is to play some nice games and perhaps be able to comment on one or two here.

The best part of it is that Catalin Tartanu 5p, is visiting and will help us with our games. Here are a couple of lessons that Catalin held at the 52:nd European Go Congress, in Leksand:

I will be back with more in a few days.

Posted in go

A number of bad excuses and one

I guess most chess players have experienced this at one time or another; to go in search of a far fetched explanation to why things went the way they did. There are times when I need that bad excuse, just for a moment, so I can catch my breath, before I am prepared to be self critical. Though in the end, there is no way around it. The music has to be faced.

Last weekend I arrived in Gothenburg, full of energy, in order to hang out with some friends and then play in Kvibergspelen, a chess open which is part of the Swedish Grand Prix.

For the first time in a while I bought some chess books (I’m trying to keep my chess books from occupying more than two shelves) and when I arrived at the hotel I couldn’t help myself but start pouring over the pages until rather late. By that time I had already had a bad start, point-wise, but when I look back at it I’m not too upset with my play. Take for instance this game:

After 6 rounds I was on 4,5 points and I needed to win the two last games in order to get a prize. In round 7 I was paired with the young talented Kaan Küzüksari. His opening preparation was not very good, but apart from that he did very well:

A terrible finish for me and I promised myself never to stay up late and read books again. At least I will not do it the next tournament. Also, I had tried to drink less coffee since then. I don’t want my performance in a game to hang on whether I can get hold of a cup of coffee or not. Those things said, what really matters is my bad evaluation of the position after move 40, which made me relax, get upset, and then blunder. I will have to make room for some endgame studies.

Next, hopefully, I will write something about the TEPE Sigeman & co tournament, that starts on Friday in my home town.

Impressions from the Polar Capital Open

(This entry was published in unfinished form, twice, due to a bad case of time-optimism from my side.) For the third year in a row I participated in Jersey’s annual open, the Polar Capital Open. It is a lovely tournament which is played at the Hotel Ambassadeur, next to the scenic St. Clemens Bay. The tides in front of the venue are impressive and within only a few hours the landscape changes dramatically. If you like walking on sand, then you can walk for miles and miles and encounter few obstacles.

This years tournament was stronger than it was last year, with a handful of grandmasters and some strong international masters too. Already in the second round I had to face IM David Eggleston (draw), so for those hunting for norms, this was a good opportunity. In the third round I played against Alan Merry, whom I lost against (deservedly) last year, and I played somewhat cautious, missed the chance for some advantage and had to pull the hand brake in order not to drift into a worse position. For me, it wasn’t the best start, but I was happy with the way I played anyway. During the next three rounds I again scored 2/3 and Alan Merry started to cut through the grandmasters in the field. In round four he won convincingly against Pruijssers, in round five Vakhidov couldn’t stop him and in round six he won convincingly against Hebden. It seemed like he could win the rest of the games if he kept the steam up. Then, in round seven he lost an exciting game against Jonathan Speelman. After a draw in round eith against Arkell, he had to win with the black pieces in order to get a grandmaster norm:

I eventually picked up some steam of my own and finished with 3/3 against the other top rated GM:s, which earned me a shared first place with Alan. My best game was played in the last round:

This weekend I played a tournament in Gothenburg and committed one of my worst blunders in a long while, in a deciding game. As they say in Sweden: “Upp som en sol, ned som en pankaka.” Literally: “Up like a sun, down like a pancake.”