First instincts

I just returned from Barcelona where I participated in “XXI Open Internacional d’escacs, Hostafrancs i la Bordeta”. It is a lovely tournament, not the least because it is held in Barcelona. I cannot get enough of the food, the cafés, the abundance of trees, the parakeets and bats (murcielagos in Spanish, such a beautiful word) that come with the trees and all those things that that a city of that size with +2000 years of history has to offer.

The only downside to being in Barcelona was the heat, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees in the days and I would not really have minded if I had not got a room at the top of a building, with windows facing to the south. This turned out to be more of a problem as days went by. I thought I would be able to deal with it, so I didn’t ask for a different room. Perhaps my hubris originated from that, earlier this summer in Brussels, I had managed to take a 8-kilometer long walk on a day when it was 37 degrees (Celsius) in the shadow, without being less sane at the end of it than at the start. But the problem was not the heat in the days. In the beginning of the tournament I had around 28 degrees in my room when I got back from the rounds, and by the end of the tournament it went up to around 30. In short, discovered that I can sleep when it is 27-28+, but that 29-30+ is too much.  With the help of two strong fans I was able to get the temperature down a few degrees by 3 o’clock in the mornings, so that I did manage to get around 5 hours of sleep every night and it was just about enough until it wasn’t. For the first time in more than 20 years I lost my ability to calculate, completely. Before the last round I managed to get a meager 2 hours of sleep and I played it all on instincts. It was quite educational; especially my 20:th move tells me how little I care about material (and how important it is that I sometimes have the ability to override my instincts):

Really, it wasn’t such an awful game, but it would have been nice to see a bit more. I would love to play in Barcelona again, but next time I’ll take the heat more seriously.


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 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.