Arctic Chess Challenge 2010 in August

6/9/2010 – We have told you a number of times before, with great sincerity and enthusiasm: go play in the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø, well within the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. There are many strong players and plenty of opportunities to make title norms. There is also a landscape to dream of, and social activities to make it a great summer adventure. Here is all the information you will need.

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Arctic Chess Challenge 2010 in August

By Sven Wisløff Nilssen

This picture was taken from the heart of Tromsø City, an island situated nearly 70 degrees north in the land of the midnight sun. Norway is known for its coastline with fjords and mountains, ocean and rocks. It has a magnificent nature and you get all of it in a micro scale in Tromsø and surroundings.

Here is my niece up on Fløya – a mountain on the mainland east of Tromsø. As you see from the picture there are many high mountains surrounding the island. They are popular for mountain-climbing, and Fløya even has a cable car that rides up the mountainside. These mountains are up to 1250 meters high, and might be rougher to climb than you first expect.

Here you see last year's winner of Arctic Chess Challenge Monica Socko from Poland. She will participate in this year's tournament too, and it was something special having her as a winner here last year. How often does a woman win a tournament with an average rating of 2590 among top ten participants? Monika did, and amongst the over 100 participants she calmly outranked was her husband, top seeded Bartosz Socko, who also will participate this year.

This year we will have a much stronger field than last year during Arctic Chess Challenge 2010, especially since the number of grandmasters has grown from 13 last year to 28 this year! We also have a record number of titled players this year – 73 and still counting! This makes the Arctic Chess Challenge the perfect place to make norms this summer – so why don't you join us? Last year we had two GM norms in Tromsø, when GM Ray Robson made his first GM norm. IM Luca Shytaj from Italy also achieved a norm north of the arctic circle. Three IM norms and a WIM norm was also achieved during nine days of chess in the biggest city of Northern Norway. It was a golden tournament last year, and in 2010 things will get bigger and better with many opportunities to those who participate.

Top player this year will be GM Alexander  Moiseenko (2669) from Ukraine. He has won numerous open tournaments, and we all remember whom he outshone in a strong field of players in 2007, when he triumphed ahead of rising stars like Vugar Gashimov and Magnus Carlsen! Second seed is Loek van Wely, who is famous for his fierce attacking play in openings like the Najdorf as Black, or the King's Indian as White – even though some of his best games are in solid positional style. He often makes attacking chess look so easy that he is a favorite among chess lovers world wide.

Among all those 28 GMs we also find the Swede GM Emanuel Berg who achieved a four-way tie for first last year. Emanuel is also known for his attractive attacking chess, and he is definitely a player you will want to follow in this tournament. The Norwegian top seed is, as so often in the past, GM Simen Agdestein, who brings with him all his students from NTG – the College of Elite Sports here in Norway. They don't have a Magnus Carlsen any more amongst them, but they sure have some talented young players who wants to take GM scalps as they use to do every year! We hope to see you too in Tromsø – this might be an opportunity to pick up some scalps yourself, or just hunt for rating during your holidays this summer. Since this is a big open with about 150 participants and a huge number of titled players, chances are great to meet one or more of those chess celebrities across the board.


The skyline of Tromsø late at night in early August. It doesn’t get much darker than
this and in the time of the midnight sun it's even brighter.

So let's talk about the field of this year's tournament. The top 20 have an average rating of 2607, which of course is a record high for a chess tournament in Norway. 40 players are rated above 2400, and the average FIDE Elo among the 149 participants is 2232. Here are the participants so far:

1. GM Alexander Moiseenko   2669
2. GM Loek Van Wely 2653
3. GM Mikhail Kobalia 2648
4. GM Bartosz Socko 2644
5. GM Sandipan Chanda 2640
6. GM Igor Khenkin 2627
7. GM Yuri Drozdovskij 2625
8. GM Emanuel Berg 2616
9. GM Vladimir Burmakin 2612
10. GM Sergei Azarov 2609
 
11. GM Mateusz Bartel 2609
12. GM Zoltan Gyimesi 2600
13. GM Julian Radulski 2593
14. GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez   2590
15. GM Alexandr Fier 2581
16. GM Mihajlo Stojanovic 2577
17. GM Simen Agdestein 2570
18. GM Vadim Malakhatko 2569
19. GM Farid Abbasov 2558
20. GM Marijan Petrov 2545

Ladies, all the ladies... and couples

This is WGM Natalia Zdebskaja from Ukraina who is one of many female player during this years Arctic Chess Challenge. We have many WGMs, WIMs and WFMs, and in addition a record number of chess couples:

  • GM Bartosz Socko and GM Monika Socko from Polen
  • GM Yuri Drozdovskij and WGM Natalia Zdebskaja from Ukraina
  • GM Zoltán Gyimesi and IM Nóra Medvegy from Hungary
  • GM Mateusz Bartel and WGM Marta Przezdziecka from Polen
  • GM Vadim Malakhatko Vadim and WGM Anna Zozulia from Belarus
  • GM Loek van Wely The Netherlands  and WIM Lorena Zepeda El Salvador
  • IM Gediminas Sarakauskas and WIM Zivile Sarakauskiene from Litauen

To make a good tournament you need a good blend – a mixture of everything. During the Arctic Chess Challenge people from all over the world come together and socialize and play chess. Younger people and grownups meet, males and females, professionals and amateurs, titled and untitled, West and East – they are all there and with over 150 chessplayers this has to be a happening to remember!


This picture was actually taken at the playing venue in the Scandic Hotel Tromsø. You see one of the South Africans who visited us last year, with a stuffed polar bear inside the hotel.


This is Igor Khenkin from Germany, who last year went fishing and swimming in the Arctic Ocean. It was cold but refreshing! He is coming back this year and is ready to take part in similar social activities, he says.

Igor Khenkin was a trainer of Vladimir Kramnik during his youth, and he owns a diploma as a coach, teacher and manager in chess from the prestigious academy of sports in Moscow. Khenkin is one of many GMs who are returning to Tromsø after visiting the city once. This is a good sign for the tournament and it tells us that we have been doing something right.

If you want to take part this year here is some basic information: Tromsø is situated in Northern Norway, one hour and 45 minutes by flight from Oslo. The best airport to use in Oslo is Gardermoen. There are two air shuttles you can use from Oslo to Tromsø and back: Norwegian, a lowcost airline, and SAS.


View Arctic Chess Challenge in a larger map

The Hotel Scandic, which is five minutes by car from the airport, is the playing venue. The prices are reasonable prices – you will find all the info you need on this webpage. You can take a bus from the hotel to the city – they run quite often, but there are also other shopping possibilities close to the hotel. Mother nature is also right outside your window so you can take a walk or exercise whenever you like. An important part of the event is the social dimension. You will be offered many side events, such as mountain climbing, fishing trips, city walks and of course the by now famous barbecue party. Be sure to be there on time!


Previous ChessBase reports on Tromsø

Chess professional vs soccer star in Tromsø
04.06.2010 – Last weekend more than 200 people from the Sports Board and athletic federations in Norway met in Tromsø, Norway, to discuss sporting issues. To kick things off the world's highest ranked player, Magnus Carlsen, played an exhibition game – two minutes vs five minutes – against Norwegian soccer star Sigurd Rushfeldt. The event was carried on national TV.

Norway, Albena submit Olympiad bids
03.05.2010 – The bids to host the 41st Chess Olympiad in 2014 were due on April 30, 2010. One came from the Arctic Circle town of Tromsø and carries a government guarantee of NOK 70 million (US $12 million). The other was a last-minute bid by the Bulgarian Chess Federation for the Black Sea town of Albena. Our report includes an interview with Morten Sand, international FIDE advisor. Who will win?

Norway provides US $12 million for Olympiad bid
23.12.2009 – Good news. Boosted by the world number one place of Magnus Carlsen, the Government of Norway has just released the sum of NOK 70 million ($12 million) to support the bid of Tromsø, an island city in the Arctic Circle, to host the 41st Chess Olympiad in 2014. It would be a great place for chess players to go, as we have shown in many past reports. Today we add to these with a whale of a story.

Interview with Monika Socko, winner of the Arctic Challenge
20.08.2009 – Grandmaster Monika Socko is from Poland, married to Polish GM Bartoz Socko, who is two hundred points higher than her on the FIDE scale. Still, Monika finished first in the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø, with 7.0/9 and a rating performance of 2639, while her husband came 13th, a full point behind her. Son Szymon also played. Misha Savinov spoke to the winner.

How young Ray made his first GM norm
13.08.2009 The Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø ended last Sunday, with four players sharing the top score of 7.0/9 points. One of them, a 14-year-old lad, stood to make a GM norm. But to do so Ray Robson had to hold the Swedish Champion GM Emanuel Berg to a draw in the final round, with the black pieces. To compound matters Berg was desperate to win. Pictorial report by Misha Savinov.

Tromsø 2009 – Socko, Petrov and Robson lead
08.08.2009 – Make no mistake, it is GM Monika Socko, not her top-rated husband Bartosz, who is leading the Arctic Challenge with 6.0/7 and a 2703 performance. No less sensational is that 14-year-old IM Ray Robson is sharing first with a 2679 performance. The action is exciting ("hammer time") and the landscape lovely in the land of the midnight sun. Big illustrated report by Misha Savinov.

Tromsø 2009 – four lead in Arctic Chess Challenge
06.08.2009 – At the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø 120 players are competing in the year’s most prestigious Norwegian event. After five of nine rounds there are four players in the lead. Three are GMs, one a female, but the fourth is of particular interest: 14-year-old US American IM Ray Robson, whom some people are calling the new Bobby Fischer. Pictorial report by IM Torstein Bae.

Tromsø 2009 – the Arctic Chess Challenge
02.08.2009 The Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø is this year’s most prestigious event in Norway. More than 35 titled players are taking part, including 13 GMs. Top seed is Polish GM Bartosz Socko, rated 2656, with three more super-GMs just below him. The tournament is truly an international open: the 118 participants hail from 26 countries, and from all parts of the world. Pictorial report.

Tromsø 2009 – the Arctic Chess Challenge
22.07.2009 – The city of Tromsø, located within the Arctic Circle in Norway, has become a hot-bed of chess. Not only is Tromsø bidding for the Chess Olympiad 2014 – every year they stage a very attractive chess tournament in this beautiful location. This year the Arctic Challenge will be staged from August 1st to 9th, with 132 entries and lots of title holders – an ideal opportunity to make norms.

Tromsø – a Chess Olympiad in the midnight sun?
18.11.2008 – It lies well within the Arctic Circle and has a history of chess activity. Now the city of Tromsø is bidding to host the 2014 Chess Olympiad in one of the most attractive regions of Europe. A full presentation is being made at the Olympiad in Dresden. We visited the city this summer and support their bid with some WYSIWYG evidence of why it is ideally suited for an Olympiad. Photo report.

Chess in the Arctic Circle – GM Igor Kurnosov triumphs
18.08.2008 – For the third time the Tromsø Chess Club staged an International Open in the Arctic Circle. It ran from August 2nd to 10th 2008, with sky high prizes, by Norwegian standards (total prize fund 11,000 Euros). The venue is spectacular, the atmosphere warm and generous. And the place is full of Carlsens: Magnus, Henrik, Sigrun, Ellen, Ingrid and Signe. Part one of our big pictorial report.

Moiseenko wins the Arctic Chess Challenge
12.08.2007 – In the end it was a super-GM who took the unshared first place in the Tromsø Midnight Sun tournament: Alexander Moiseenko of the Ukraine scored 7.5/9 to overtake the long-time leader, "Mr Sunshine" Kjetil Lie, who had beaten him in round four. Top seed Magnus Carlsen recovered from a poor start to share 2-4. Like his parents we expect Magnus to scale the Store Blåmannen.

Carlsen vs Carlsen – Magnus beats his dad
10.08.2007 – That is hardly a surprise, since the 16-year-old is over six hundred points stronger than his first teacher. But then again Henrik Carlsen has grounding powers... After seven rounds of the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø it is Norwegian GM Kjetil A. Lie who is in the lead, with 5.5 points, followed by four players with 5.0 points each. Report with pictures and videos.

Second Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø
07.08.2007 – The Norwegian island town of Tromsø lies well within the Arctic Circle, which means that this time of the year the sun never sets. Tromsø is playing host to a strong GM tournament from August 4th-12th, 2007. Top seed is Magnus Carlsen, who rushed in from his victory in Biel and did not have a great start here (3.0/4, place ten). Two other GMs, Macieja and Lie, lead with 4.0/4. Round four report.

Shipov wins Midnight Sun, Carlsen second
03.07.2006 – The Midnight Sun Chess Challenge in Tromsø, Norway, was won by Russian GM Sergei Shipov, who scored 7.5 points in nine rounds. Second was fifteen-year-old Magnus Carlsen with 7.0, who beat Leif Erland Johannessen on tiebreak points. We bring you a final report with pictures from Whale's Island.

Carlsen leads the Midnight Sun Challenge
28.06.2006 – A fifteen-year-old super-grandmaster, blessed with an Elo of 2646, is leading the Midnight Sun Chess Challenge in Tromsø. Magnus Carlsen of Norway looks set to break a few new records with the form that he is showing these days. The event is being held well within the Arctic Circle, where at this time of year the nights are bright as day. Misha Savinov reports.

Midnight Sun Chess Challenge in Tromsø
26.06.2006 – There are parts in the world where, during a certain period of the year, the sun never sets. The northern Norwegian town of Tromsø, which lies well within the Arctic Circle, is one such place. From June 24th to July 2nd, in the middle of the midnight sun period, it is holding chess festival with GMs like Krasenkow and Magnus Carlsen. Big illustrated report.

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