Erik Blomqvist wins Västgöta Open

by Holger Blauhut
11/5/2022 – Pia Cramling is a regular guest at the Västgöta Open, the open championship of the Swedish Västergötland Chess Federation, which was again held as a rapid chess tournament in Skara last weekend. This time, however, the Swedish chess icon had to concede the tournament victory to Erik Blomqvist. She came third. Holger Blauhut (11th place) also played and sent a report. | Next to the window, GM Erik Blomqvist plays against FM Lars-Goran Eklund, while GM Pia Cramling faces GM Petro Golubka on the next board.

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Västgöta Open

After only local players were admitted to the Västgöta Open last year due to the pandemicnow everyone was allowed to take part again. Among the four participating grandmasters were regular guests Pia Cramling and her husband Juan Bellon. The event was played in Skara, in the ballroom of the newly renovated Stadshotell. How much they value chess is immediately visible in the lobby.

Skara City Hotel

Thanks to Tony Miles, the small town of Skara has immortalized itself in chess history. It was here that he beat Anatoly Karpov in the European Team Championship in January 1980 with the (then) daring opening 1.e4 a6. More than 40 years later, chess fever has not died out in the town, as can be seen, for example, in the second-hand china trade.


The tournament was pleasantly calm, so tournament director Rickard Dahlström and arbiter Josef Håkanson did not have too much to do. There were no cheating complaints and no one who disagreed with their opponent or their moves.

In contrast to previous years, when 7 rounds were played with a time control of 45 minutes + 10 seconds per move, this year the organizer reduced the allotted time to 30 minutes + 10 seconds per move, as to increase the number of rounds to 9. It will be decided in the next few weeks whether this will remain in the future, or whether the next tournament will be played with the old format again.

Great playing conditions in the hotel ballroom

The tournament victory was decided among the grandmaster. Only Juan Bellon fell a little short. Two-time Swedish Champion Erik Blomqvist, the top seed, won with 8½ points from 9 games, ahead of Ukrainian GM Petro Golubka with 8 from 9. The two drew against each other and Golubka gave up half a point to Pia Cramling, who finished third with 6½ points. Fourth place went to 1632-rated Andre Thyberg, who achieved a performance of 2240.

The author of this article convinced himself of the tournament’s winner strength in the second round — Pia Cramling played on the next board | Photo: Anna Blauhut

The winners: Pia Cramling, Erik Blomqvist and Petro Golubka

As usual, there were plenty of cash prizes. Besides prizes for the best seven players, the five best players from Västergötland also received cash prizes, as well as the three best players over 60 and under 16. In addition, there were ranking prizes. 

But it is not only prizes that attract people to Skara. The Västgöta Open is a fine weekend tournament in a pleasant atmosphere. For those who want to stay longer, there is a lot to see and experience in the surroundings of Skara. For example, the Varnhem Monastery, Skara Sommarland and Hornborgasjön, with its many waterbirds and migrating cranes.

If you feel like playing in Skara, you do not need to wait too long. The next Västgöta Open will be held on 18-19 February 2023.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Blomqvist Erik 8,5 49
2 Golubka Petro 8 47,5
3 Cramling Pia 6,5 51,5
4 Thyberg Andre 6,5 47,5
5 Madebrink Lars 6,5 46
6 Eklund Lars-Goran 6 49
7 Aroven Mikael 6 46
8 Ronneland Daniel 6 42,5
9 Johnson Daniel 6 42,5
10 Bjorklund Thomas 6 41,5
11 Blauhut Holger 6 40,5
12 Nilsson Patrik 1978 5,5 46
13 Bengtsson Jessica 5,5 45
14 Bengtsson Siv 5,5 43
15 Magnussen Pal 5,5 42,5
16 Bellon Lopez Juan Manuel 5,5 42
17 Lind Jan-Olov 5,5 41
18 Danielsson Fredrik 5,5 39
19 Moborn Anders 5,5 37,5
20 Gustavsson Ingemar 5,5 37
21 Kleimark Anders 5 47,5
22 Bailly Thierry 5 38
  Koski Viljo 5 38
24 Johansson Stefan 1957 5 37
  Jonsson Mose 5 37

...63 players

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