A chess tournament at sea

by Michael Dombrowsky
10/26/2017 – The "Chess tournament at sea", organised by Jörg Hickl, recently set out from Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, and is currently nearing its destination in Miami, Florida, on a route that takes it via the Azores, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among the special features, that make this seven round Swiss open unusual: the players will cover 7800 km during the tournament! German entrant Michael Dombrowsky, Elo rated 1997 (the number two seed!), sent us this "postcard".

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Making waves

When one takes a trip, then he has a lot to tell. Embarking on the the chess journey from Copenhagen to Miami, the Danish capital can already offers you something perplexing. At least if you arrive by train.

The Mermaid

From the train, let's say you first look for a tourist office. In the large main station you look for a sign to point the way. You look in vain until, after a long search you find one — above the tourist office. (It's a bit like your friendly GPS voice informing you that "you have reached your destination". Why thank you! So I've seen.)

The search took time. Too much, considering you have five minuted until the door is locked. The posted hours says that closing time is 5 pm. Oh well, then you just grab a city map — no no my friend...there in none to be found at all.

And so, at last you must risk a taxi, that is, "risk" being laughed at by the driver when the hotel is only a few meters away from the station. Luckily, the hotel turns out to be just far enough away that it's worthwhile, and the driver proves to be extremely friendly.   (Above) Statue of the Little Mermaid | Photo: M. D.

Grandmaster Jörg Hickl and his travel company took 18 participants on this trip, dubbed "The New in Chess Cup", and held on board the massive Norwegian Getaway cruise ship.

An international field has come aboard: two Danes, a Spaniard and an American are there. This fits well, and finally, the tournament is Elo rated. But although the tournament is normal, it has some unusual features. For example, the game time is "10 am ship time". This sounds strange, but since four time zones will be passed during the tournament, the clocks must be changed throughout. Needless to say, the very fact that the tournament hall itself moves 7800 kilometers over the course of the event is marvelous.

Cruise ship Norwegian Getaway, upper deck complete with waterslides | Photo: Michael Dombrowsky

After each round, a jury, led by the tournament organiser, and International Mhampion Erik Zude, selects the game of the day. In the first round the Spaniard Fernandez Garcia Alfonso Javier received this special honor. Here is a small sample.

 

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Standings after Round 6          

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Moelvig Julius Printzlau 5,0 20,5
2 Moelvig Henrik Peter 4,5 22,0
3 Wagner Frank 4,0 22,0
4 Käsemann Holger Dr. 4,0 20,5
5 Dombrowsky Michael Rudolf 4,0 19,0
6 Hilbenz Guntram Dr. 4,0 15,5
7 Hellmann Thomas 3,5 20,5
8 Wunderlich Frank 3,0 19,0
9 Kopischke Maik 3,0 17,5
10 Ebeling Hans-Jürgen 3,0 15,5
11 Grunwald Günther 3,0 15,5
12 Fernandez Garcia Alfonso Javier 2,5 20,0
13 Ludwig Ines Louise 2,5 17,5
14 Moujan Pablo Miguel 2,5 16,5
15 Limper Cornelia 2,5 13,5
16 Back Andreas 2,0 16,0
17 Manthe Jörn Horst 1,0 13,5
18 Kolkmann Cornelis 0,0 14,0

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Michael had been working for almost 40 years as editor and journalist for various newspapers and magazines before he started to write chessbooks. His first chess book was "Berliner Schachlegenden", in which he tells about the lives of a number of famous chess players in Berlin which gives insights into the history of Berlin and a chess culture of the past.
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SULAYI_LANG SULAYI_LANG 10/26/2017 07:48
GM Hickl...he once played a 20 board simul back then in Cebu in 1996 and as far as i can recall he lost 2 and drew 4...but what a field he was playing...the organizer was not even filtering who could participate - most are in 2000 - 2200 rated and with few NMs. Its hard and i could see him frawning and perhaps lost a lot of stamina holding some difficult positions...in our game, he retracted a move, and i was surprised. I could have insisted of the touch move rule and gain a huge advantage and possibly won - eventually i lost but anyway its just a simul game. At that time he was the 2nd strongest player in Germany next to Huebner. Congratulations GM Hickl...Mabuhay ka!
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