Arctic Chess Challenge - Day two in pictures and text

Another bright day up in the Arctic with sun and 22 degrees. This is the maze infront of the University in Tromsø. The institution has 9000 students and 2500 employees and makes Tromsø lively with more than 75.000 inhabitants wintertime. In summer it's far less of course. Most students are like migrant birds, they fly to southern areas when summer comes.

Why are some people sooo photogenic? I took one shot of Susan Polgar - Voilà perfect! As all of you know Susan is a Grandmaster and former World Champion for women. She is also one of the most sold chess authors in the world and her "Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information" blog is one of the most popular chess sites at World Wide Web. Susan is together with her husband Paul Truong in Tromsø and they will spend 5 days in this lovely area!

The 2nd round has just started. The grandmaster got problems again just as they did in the very first round. It's always some upsets in such a big open in the seeded rounds. This year it could have been far more than you would expect I think, as many amateurs played a decent game till time trouble catched them. Well, it didn't catch all of them and in this round 6 Grandmasters gave away draws but since two of them actually met it sounds worse than it really was. Anyway, top seed Bartosz Socko (2656) has already given away 1 point, and second seed GM Igor Khenkin (2634) gave away a draw to a player rated 334 points below him. Things are not going as expected in this years event! Let me remind you of last year when the 7 top contenders at the end all had 2/2 at this stange. It's simply not good for your tie-break rules to get behind so early on. 

FM Joachim Thomassen (2300) played the white side of a Caro Kann versus GM Igor Khenkin (2634). 18 years old Thomassen choose the advance variation and when Khenkin used Botvinnik's receipt 3...c5, young Thomassen grabbed the pawn and kept it. Well, it's all theory of course and the first 16 moves have all been seen before. Black seems to have massive positional compensation for the gambit pawn here and I thought that Khenkin would take this struggle home at some point in the game. That was around move 20 when he got his pawn back but with some accurate Knight moves Thomassen neutralized black's play and with 24.Nd4! he even seemed to have an edge. Then Khenkin found out it was time to offer a draw which was accepted. The variation
25.Rc8+ Bf8 26.Qe8 h6 27.Qxf8+ Kh7 28.Qh8+ Kg6 29.Rg8 looks promising for white. But futher analyses shows that black has defenive resources: Rybka gives here the quite forcing line 29...f5! 30.exf6 Kxf6 31.Rf8+ Kg6 32.Rf3 Ra1! with a drawing position. 33.Rg3+ Kh5 34.Qe8+ Kh4 35.Rh3+ Kg5 36.Rg3+ Kh4! and white can't make progress. So the players was right and Thomassen is on his way to a IM-norm - I hope!

The Ukrainian GM Yuri Drozdovskij (2629) played FM Kari Tikkanen (2283) from Finland as white in a Slave where he didn't get alot for a long time. Then his deep positional style got hunch of an ending with a good Bishop versus not so good Knight with Queens on and when he got a clear structural plus he was like a machine. No mercy! But it took 61 moves so it was a long day at work for the 25 years old GM.

GM Emanuel Berg (right) from Sweden played the black pieces of a Kan Sicilian and he got an early edge to work with. Then he won a pawn and he never look over his shoulder but finished off 16 years old Lasse Løvik (2296) in a convincing way. It was all over in 32 moves and Emanuel Berg is perhaps the one that got the easiest ride so far.

GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (2583) showed the local hope Pål Røyset some Spanish Torture with the white pieces in a Sicilian. Yes, it started out as a Sicilian with 3.Bc4 but transposed to structures known from the Ruy Lopez or Spanish Opening if you like. Hammers win was quite instructive and quite convincing even though it took some time.

GM Malakhatko from Belgium (right) was defending a long time against Kaj Engstrøm (2274) as black in a French opening. As late as the time control at move 40 it seemed as if Malakhatko had no more than a draw with sober play but it still was plenty with pieces left and some room for errors. It came when the Swede went for a fairytale with his Queen on the Queenside. It ended with tragedy and Malakhatko is still among those 18 players with a perfect score.

GM Sulskis (2559) played the white side of an English opening versus WIM Silje Bjerke (2231) and tricked her with the double edged 6.b4!? in the opening. The Norwegian went for a counter attack but it all turned out badly for her and after only 18 moves the black King was doomed. 1-0 for the GM.

Peter Vas (2232) from Sweden played the white side of an Italian game versus GM Julian Radulski (2539) from Bulgaria. It got pretty boring pretty early on with symmetri and exchanges but then Radulski got a small structural edge due to a dobble pawn for white. The GM even won a pawn but since it was dobbled it was'nt crucial. Vas managed to hold a draw due to a locked pawn chain - quite a surprise!

GM Allan Stig Rasmussen (2536) spent a lot of time against 19 years old Johannes Kvisla from Norway (2222) in a Ruy Lopez but it was well invested and he won a convincing game after 38 moves. The Danish Dynamite is still in the race with a perfect score.

Student and teacher - Peter S Poobalasingam (2224) and GM Matthew J Turner (2517) from England. Last year they also met early and they then took a short draw which turned out well for both of them. Matthew ended as nr.3 and Peter got a stunning 9th place. The only difference this year was that they played a Scotch instead of English opening. It all was theory and pretty grim to watch - isn't the teacher supposed to give his student a lesson or two?

14 years old Wonder Boy, and IM Ray Robson (2491), from the USA has played a lot of strong tournaments in Europe before like Reykjavik Open 2008, Essent 2008 in the Netherlands and Aeroflot Open 2009 in Moscow. In Moscow 2009 he beat the strong GMs Van Wely, Bocharov and Akobian in a row in the middle of the tournament! So now you know what this lad is capable of! Today Ray played the white side of a French game versus the local Gunnar Berg Hanssen (2215). In a position where not to much where happening after 16 moves Hanssen blundered by giving Robson a tactical shot with 17.Nxd5!. Such things the little tactical wizard sees 100 out of 100 times and he collected the full point by stearing the boat threw some tactical lines. Robson is up there with a perfect score!
Torben Sørås from Narvik is one of those local players who benefits from having such a strong tournament in Northern Norway. It's quite som inspiration! Today he lost with the white pieces to IM Bjørn Tiller from Oslo who still has 100% and will face GM Sarunas Sulskis tomorrow.

15 years old Bejamin Arvola impressed with a controlled draw in a Kings Indian versus GM veteran Heikki Westerinen. In Politiken Cup he beat GM Yrjø Rantanen and he seems to have made a habit of taking points versus those Finnish veteran GMs!

IM Torbjørn Ringdal Hansen was Magnus Carlsens first coach and in a recent interview with this blog Magnus said that IM Ringdal Hansen and GM Simen Agdestein meant more than anyone else for his developement as a player! Today Ringdal Hansen (2440) won with white and with his perfect score he meets GM Hammer (2583) in a Norwegian Derby tomorrow!

WGM Natalia Zdebskaja 2412 from Ukraina is one of the female favorites. She played a draw today with black against Daniel Ceballos Hornero (2183) from Spain.  

Todays Lucky Luke was the Norwegian Junior Champion 2009 (U20), Sondre Waage Tofte (2119) (right) who beat IM Anna Zozulia (2341) from Belgium in a Ruy Lopez as black. Zozulia was completly winning when she blundered in time trouble being a piece up for nothing at all.

Tobias Petterson from Northern Sweden is one of the players that comes back every year and we really appreciate it! He has traveled 800 km with car to paticipate and is one of only 4 swedes in ACC. Today he got a gift from IM Harald Groetz (2350) Austria, which he took advantage of and won in 26 moves. Nice IM-catch Tobias!
Two years ago Magnus Carlsen met Nick de Firmian in the second round of ACC after a catastrofic start from both of them. This year GM Amon Simutowe (2481) from Zambia got a Walk Over loss in the first round since he didn't get his flight after a late last round in a tournament in Libia and couldn't reach Tromsø in time. He came Sunday morning and faced top seed Bartosz Socko (2656) - not the best present to get after his accident with the missed flight! But in a sharp Sicilian as black Simutowe had the superior chances but failed to full fill it and reached a draw right before the time control at move 40. Top seed Bartosz Socko (2656)  looks shakey so far!

Bartosz' son Szymon (7) is the youngest participant in this years edition of ACC. He is 1400 in Polish rating which is a bit higher than the Norwegian system. Szymon also lost today so his mam, GM Monika Socko, had to save the families honor with a win as white over Jeroen Van Den Bersselaar (2184) from the Netherlands. GM Monika Socko is then the only female player with a perfect score so far, and tomorrow she meets one of the tournament favorites - GM Emanuel Berg - as black.

This is 13 years old Gregor Taube that I promissed you all a picture of yesterday after his spectacular win over IM Mikkelsen (2399) from Denmark. This is how happy you become the first time you beat a International Master in chess! Gregor is the product of Norwegian Scholar Wizard Johs Kjekens work in the Club 1911 in Oslo. Gregor is coached by his club mate IM Torstein Bae and has a bright future in Norwegian chess! Today Gregor (1835) showed his great potensial again by saving a tragic game, where he blundered a pawn in the opening, versus FM Espen Forså as black.

Peter Flermoen from Harstad won a tactical slugfest in the Dragon as white versus Ole Jakob Hegelund (1476) from Trondheim in this round. Peter is Nordic Champion 2009 in his age group and even though Gregor Taube is strong - Flermoen is still the best 13 years old in Norway I think. But I predict a rat race between these two youngsters in the years to come.

15 years old Elise Forså (1728) comes from a chess family in Tromsø. Both her parents are in the organizing staff and her elder brother Espen is playing for an IM-norm. Elise won her first game in ACC today when she beat Isabella Asiema from Kenya as black.

Liné Nieuwoudt is one of 12 young players from South Africa participating in this years Arctic Chess Challenge. In the end some of the African players didn't show up due to problems with Visa but we are extremely happy with the rather large delegation we got in cooperation with Tromsø 2014.

Susan Polgar was invited by Tromsø 2014 to Tromsø and here you can see her with Mr. Morten Sand (left) who is the most central person for Tromsø's bid to get the Chess Olympics in 2014 and the General Manager of Tromsø 2014, Mr. Børge Robertsen.

Gary Robson was quite impressed when he saw Susan Polgar enter the playing hall and watch the games like the true chess fan and celerity she is. Gary is of course living the the United States and he knows how huuuge Susan is in the chess world! The father of prodigy Ray Robsons enjoyes the tour to Tromsø big time. He is a social guy that makes the best possible impression and he is just as supportive for Ray as needed without beeing overwhelming at all. A perfect role model!

The deputy Arbiter's Karl Johan Rist and Trond Romsdal enjoy's the huge success Arctic Chess Challenge has become. The idea for the tournament came from Mr. Romsdal years ago and he is a man of vision. This years edition of Arctic Chess Challenge has 119 participants from 26 countries! A total of 13 GMs, 13 IM's and 1 WGM is in the field among a total of 38 titled players! You should also know that one participant has withdrawn so in fact it is 118 playing with no walk overs.

One the left you see one of the South African ladies that got a new friendship with Rosi Floer (in white) in the organizing staff. Rosi is one of those warm hearted persons that offer private accommodation for our guests during the week of Arctic Chess Challenge. FIDE's slogan is "Gens Una Sumus" which means "We are all one family". Nothing could be more true than this during this week of chess in Tromsø!

Here you see the view from the cafeteria.
The weather was almost too good to be true on this Sunday. 22 degrees with blue sky all over. The weather forecast says it is rather certain than temperatures will stay around 20 degrees with sunny weather at least 5 more days. What a joy for all our excursions! With air condition in the playing hall temperatures are also fine for some good chess.

The official homepage of Arctic Chess Challenge with results, table and games.
Here is a link to a video from the second round of ACC taken by press officer Torstein Bae.

All photos and text (C) by Sven Wisløff-Nilssen 2009.

10 kommentarer

Joachim Solberg

03.08.2009 kl.10:09

Sven,A pleasure to read your report from the second round of the ACC. I am impressed by your work. The text and the pictures made my morning extra good! Thank you, mate!

Th v S

03.08.2009 kl.11:50

Må bare si du gjør en fantastisk jobb, og håper du ikke blir demotivert av kommentarer ala Zarathustra... Flott også med personlige betraktninger fra innsiden, som når du fortalte fra flyplassen om hvordan du "skremte" Socko ved å advare mot Frode. B. J og turneringsfavoritten nesten ender med å bli sablet ned av sistnevnte. Morsomt. Positivt også at du trekker inn folkene bak arrangementet. De fortjener helt sikkert den rosen de kan fåmvh


03.08.2009 kl.12:11

Joachim Solberg and Th v S,Thanks for the positive feedback. The objective of this blog is to come a bit under the skin of the tournament and bring out some moments behind the results, some impressions, some of the atmosphere and so on.

03.08.2009 kl.12:17

Keep up the good work.Jeg leser din særdeles gode blogg med stor glede og interesse.


03.08.2009 kl.21:01

Sven, from where do you take all this energy? Please let me know! Either you should start playing chess again, or you should be a professional photographer. Thanks for sublime entertainment!!!(six exclamation marks)


03.08.2009 kl.21:13

Padda,Me, energy?? I really don't feel like I have that after spending some time with Susan Polgar today. She is exactly my age and have what it takes. But thanks for the compliment about the blog, it's sooo nice too see my regular readers still being around even though it's chess in the Arctic it's all about and not only Magnus Carlsen...

Runde 3 (nei ikke Hans Arild)

03.08.2009 kl.22:39

Og vi registrerer at du fester med GM`gjengen fremfor å skrive om dagens runde her... men ok, ACC bør ta barregningen (og mange fler) om du du fortsetter i samme gode spor :)


03.08.2009 kl.22:47

Huff, eneste festen jeg tillater meg selv denne uken er grillfesten på fredag, og den har jeg da ærlig fortjent ;-)

Runde 3 (nei ikke Hans Arild)

03.08.2009 kl.23:07

Ja, absolutt - og et billedlig høydepunkt fra i fjor var et blinkskudd av vår finske venn Heikki W. som graver i vannrenna til Jan Sigmund, lykkelig finner en brun flaske og bøtter innpå med ekte finsk sisu. I bakgrunnen ser vi Henrik (pappa Magnus) nippe til et glass hvitvin eller musserende under et hvitt telt, og jeg vet ikke helt hvorfor jeg synes akkurtat det bildet er helt utrolig morsomt, men det viser litt av mangfoldet tror jeg. Det virker som om folk er ved godt humør der i år også. Og faktisk må jeg gi honnør til liveoverføringen som faktisk VIRKER knirkefritt! Takk og thank you


03.08.2009 kl.23:18

Ja, jeg husker godt det bildet. Husker også bildet jeg tok av Heikki for to år siden. Da plantet han en fot på hver side av bekken der ølet sto, og inntok sjefsstillingen. Ja, for som du kanskje skjønner så gikk den ene flasken etter den andre opp fra den iskalde bekken til vår finske bohem...

Skriv en ny kommentar



48, Tromsø

Sven Wisløff Nilssen - Visejuniornorgesmester i brettsjakk 1989. Norgesmester i postsjakk 1995. To ganger deltaker i eliteklassen både i brettsjakk og postsjakk. I dag, avdanket sjakkspiller med fortsatt lidenskap for spillet. Kontaktadresse: sjakkfantomet[a]

Søk hos Sjakkfantomet:

only search Sjakkfantomet

free counters for more details and full list

Daily chess puzzle