I have played a few matches representing the Swedish National Team, at the online European Championship, but up to date I had never won a game. My last game, in the spring, against Germany, was perhaps my best so far, and I got very close winning against a significantly higher rated opponent. I was quite pleased with that game, but it can never feel quite good when your team loses. This year around Sweden plays in the B-league, and South Africa has also been given a spot there (an initiative that I fully support), and we were paired to play them in the first round.
I felt more confident that I have before:
I celebrated the win with rather ungraceful bouncing around the room. We also won on board 3 and 4, and went on to win the match.
The Swedish Grand Prix tour 2022-2023 involves 6 weekend tournaments that are played between September 2022 and May 2023. I participated in the first of the six, Kvibergspelen, during the last weekend of September. It is played in a sport arena in a suburb of Gothenburg, and this year it attracted more participants than ever. The playing are was crowded with people, and you could hear chess being spoken of wherever you went. As with all GP-tournaments, it started out with four rapid games on the Friday evening and through an absolute miracle i managed to score 4/4, even though I was last at some stage in every game I played. In the first round I played White against Hrund Hauksdottir, who have close to 800 elo-points less than me, but she was better off at various stages of the game, and I had to do my utmost to win the game. The three next games were no better, but on the Saturday I played all right and won two games against Jonny Hector and the promising Norwegian junior Elham Abdrlauf. So, with two rounds to go I had won all my games, and I felt I had a good chance to win the tournament. Then in round 7 I was paired with Simen Agdestein, and due to the result of our earlier encounters (not good for me), I had a defensive mindset and we agreed on a draw after less than 20 moves. So, 6,5/7, and only one game to go. In the last game I got the Black pieces against Kaan Kucuksari, a Swedish Junior who have won good games against me before, but in situations where I was trying hard to win myself, perhaps too hard. I knew he had gotten much better (and increased his ELO with more than a 100 points), but I did not know exactly how much better:
I was quite disappointed with the way the game went, of course, but my disappontment would be misguided if I used the narrative “I won my first six games and then I messed it up”. Rather, “I did not play as well as I expect of myself, and I was lucky to get soo far”, is a better verdict. Also, it is always nice to see someone you have coached turn into such a strong player. We will see more of Kaan, and the next time we meet over the board, I hope I will make him have to play his best.