Comeback kid Sadler leads in Oslo International

by ChessBase
10/7/2011 – This Norwegian tournament has two heroes: on the one hand, the successful author Hans Olav Lahlum, who has saved the Gausdal tradition by creating and sponsoring a new event after the former disappeared. The second is the British GM Matthew Sadler, who, after a protracted absence from chess, is back with a vengeance. Big report with pictures by GM Sergei Tiviakov.

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The well-known Gausdal chess tradition, lasting from 1970 until 2008, like all good things unfortunately ended. But its successful organizer and arbiter, Hans Olav Lahlum (37), decided to re-establish this legendary Norwegian chess tradition – on new grounds in Oslo! Now cooperating with Akademisk SK (the chess club from the University in Oslo), and with the former Gausdal hotel manager Lars Petter Mathisen (now manager of the new conference hotel Thon Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo), Lahlum organized a grandmaster qualifying title tournament called Oslo Chess International 2011. This new international tournament has been designed to bring back the combination of a serious title tournament and the friendly atmosphere which was the hallmark of Gausdal.

Hans Olav Lahlum (born 1973) is a well known Norwegian chess player and chess organizer, having the titles of International Organizer (IO) and International Arbiter (IA) from FIDE. Apart from Gausdal 1999-2008, Hans Olav has organized numberous international events and has been chief arbiter in many other large tournaments including the Norwegian championships 2006-2010. Lahlum is also a famous historian and bookwriter in Norway, with works on all the US presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama, and a best-selling historical biography about the legendary Norwegian politician Haakon Lie. In 2010 Lahlum released a new historical book about the Norwegian Labour Party, with the title "Noen av oss har snakket sammen..." ("Some of us have spoken together..."). In the past months he has also had success with his first criminal novel "Menneskefluene" ("The Human Flies").

Back in 2004 Hans Olav interviewed a young chess talent, and in fact...

...played some blitz against him. The report is definitely worth rereading.

The Oslo Chess International has eleven GMs in a field that includes 37 titled players. Top seed is GM Sergei Tiviakov, who has found time to send us a large number of pictures from the tournament and from Oslo (see below). But the hero is the second seed, who is leading by a full point.

Standings after seven rounds

Pl Name
GM Matthew D Sadler
 2856 (+12.10)
GM Sergey Volkov
 2650 (+3.30)
GM Sipke Ernst
 2643 (+5.30)
GM Sergei Tiviakov
 2647 (+1.00)
IM Frode Elsness
 2617 (+9.90)
GM Vladimir Burmakin
 2557 (-1.50)
GM Jon Ludvig Hammer
 2661 (+4.60)
GM Victor Mikhalevski
 2615 (+6.30)
GM Eduardas Rozentalis
 2555 (-0.60)
10  WGM Nino Batsiashvili
 2490 (+6.40)
11  IM Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal
 2480 (+2.80)
12  GM Rune Djurhuus
 2418 (-2.00)
13  GM Nick E De Firmian
 2544 (+3.10)
14  FM Geir Sune Tallaksen
 2507 (+5.70)
15  IM Gerard Welling
 2503 (+21.60)
16  IM Danny Raznikov
 2502 (+6.00)
17  Brede Alex. Kvisvik
 2484 (+29.85)
18  GM Kaido Kulaots
 2472 (-8.50)
19  FM David Klein
 2427 (+9.75)
20  IM Roger Moor
 2410 (+1.20)
21  FM Sander Van Eijk
 2402 (+5.10)
22  Bharat Arjun
 2387 (+27.75)
23  IM Øystein Hole
 2385 (+1.20)
24  IM Eirik Gullaksen
 2362 (-0.00)
25  IM Nicolai Getz
 2360 (-2.70)
26  WGM Nazi Paikidze
 2357 (-3.20)

British GM Matthew Sadler is staging an astonishing comeback. Born in 1974, Sadler won the British Championship at the age of 21 and 23. He represented England in the 1996 Chess Olympiad, scoring 10½/13 and winning a gold medal for the best score on board four (England finished fourth). He also played in 1998 scoring 7½/12, and was widely tipped to reach the heights scaled by such leading players as Michael Adams and Nigel Short. But Matthew stopped playing competitive chess and opted for an IT career in Holland, moving to Amersfoort in the Netherlands. He has a French mother, speaks French perfectly and is also qualified to play in closed French events.

Comeback kid: GM Matthew Sadler leading in Oslo

Sadler returned to chess in 2010 in a rapid-play tournament held in nearby Wageningen, which he duly won. After that he broke back into the international chess scene with a vengeance, winning the the Sants Open at Barcelona in August. Now he is on track to win the Oslo Chess International.

Oslo International – pictorial impressions by GM Sergei Tiviakov

The Thon Ullevaal center where the tournament is being held

The playing hall just before the start of a round

Round five is under way, with Matthew Sadler vs Sipke Ernst

[Event "Oslo GM Open"] [Site "Oslo NOR"] [Date "2011.10.05"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Sadler, Matthew D"] [Black "Ernst, Sipke"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "2625"] [BlackElo "2581"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2011.10.02"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Qb3 Bc8 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Ne5 e6 9. f4 Be7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 Ndxe5 13. fxe5 Bd7 14. Rf3 Nb4 15. Be2 a5 16. a3 a4 17. Qd1 Nc6 18. Bd3 g6 19. Qe2 f6 20. exf6 Rxf6 21. Raf1 Kg7 22. Be1 Rxf3 23. Qxf3 Bf6 24. Bg3 Na5 25. Bc7 Qe7 ({Naturally not} 25... Qxc7 26. Qxf6+ {and mate to follow.}) 26. Bd6 Qd8 27. Bc7 Qe7 28. Bd6 Qd8 29. h4 {Of course he is not content with a draw.} Nc6 30. h5 Be8 31. h6+ (31. h6+ Kxh6 32. Bf8+ {mates.}) 1-0

Nick de Firmian, 2516, vs Sergey Volkov, 2614 ended in a draw after 45 moves

Second: GM Sergey Volkov 2614, with 4.5/7 points

IM Frode Elsness, 2491, also 4.5/7, with his daughter

Seventh: Norwegian talent GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, 2601, 4.0/7

Ninth: GM Eduardas Rozentalis, 2575, 4.0/7

WGM Nazi Paikidze, rated 2412, with 3.5/7 points

WGM Olga Dolzhikova, 2275, with her son

The famous Ullevaal Stadion, home ground of the Norway national football team

With a capacity of 25,572, Ullevaal is the largest football stadium in Norway

A typical house in this part of Oslo


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