Chess fever in Norway

by Holger Blauhut
12/7/2018 – In 1925, people in Moscow were so seized by chess fever as a result of an international chess tournament that the famous movie of the same name was created. In Norway, it was almost the same during the World Championship match Carlsen-Caruana. Holger Blauhut reports on a memorable tournament in Fredrikstad. Plus, for your next trip to the capital Oslo, be sure to hit up the new chess-themed bar known as The Good Knight.

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Black and White

The Carlsen enthusiasm in Norway during the World Chess Championship was once again incredible. Two Norwegian TV stations broadcast all games live and the Norwegians apparently loved it. Judging from the numbers, anyone who still was not a chess lover after the many previous Carlsen successes is one now. 

I was asked to run a chess tournament at a painting supplies wholesaler during the World Championship match. In fact, 20 players met for the blitz tournament. All were painting wholesale customers, i.e. painters. So, 20 local painters to play a chess tournament. 

Chess fever

Some of them had a chess club experience, while others hit a chess clock for the first time in their lives. One player did not understand the meaning of this chess timing contraption thing at all. Of course, there were plenty of illegal moves among the many inexperienced players, but the overall atmosphere was great. 

The first four times I watched players try to castle were all wrong. I especially enjoyed seeing a king land on f8 rook on e8. I was called in to arbitrate the fifth castling attempt (and that was the only time in the whole tournament where it became necessary to intervene) but this time the player castled correctly, so the protest was unfounded!

There was food, prizes and t-shirts for all. The games by Carlsen and Caruana ran in the background on a large screen. It's really great what happens here outside the organised chess world.

Some of the players wanted to visit a chess club immediately after the tournament or even start a new one.

More at the Fredrikstad Chess Club...

Have a Good Knight

A chess-themed bar/cafe opened on the eve of the World Championship match, exactly one month ago. The Good Knight is a pub owned and run by chess players. It even has a grandmaster on staff as a bartender. The tables come with chess-boards built in, with plenty of clocks, chess sets and blitz opportunities on tap. 

During the match, patrons could naturally watch the Carlsen vs Caruana games on big screens while knocking back a pint. They plan to host classes and tournaments, starting with a daily blitz bash every afternoon.

Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson

Author, publisher and office worker. Holger Blauhut lives in Fredrikstad in Norway.


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