Europe's best kept secret is back

by Srinath Narayanan
6/6/2018 – In a rugged archipelago situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, a different world lingers. Lush green valleys, basalt cliffs, treeless moorlands, refreshing atmosphere, and the warmth of the people beckon. A place truly unspoiled, unexplored and unbelievable. Faroe Islands! Faroes Open 2018 takes place from July 7-14 2018 in Sandavagur. The line up features 7 GM’s in a total of 28 players, lead by GM Gawain Jones. With a lineup 25% filled up with GM’s and 15 titled players out of 28, the tournament aside from being nature’s delight, also promises to be a norm fest. An unforgettable experience awaits those who visit the Faroe Islands. | Photo: Hanna Ólavsdóttir Jacobsen

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One month away

In the month of May 2017, it seemed like my life was at it’s lowest ebb. Paralyzed by a minor surgery, and beset with an ‘emotional accident’, I was desperate for an escape. Seeking a release, I opened my Chessmix and wrote to several organizers from Europe and went to sleep. When I received a prompt reply, it took me a while to figure out which tournament I had written to, as the location ‘Kollafjørður, Denmark’ didn’t ring any bells. However, as I began googling about ‘Faroe Islands’ it didn’t take long for me to get enticed.

Two months later, it turned out that I had found an idyllic escape. After having travelled to more than 30 countries, I managed to find my favourite place in the Virgo Supercluster (so far!). I experienced the refreshing blow of serene winds, clean water, mesmerizing sights and the company of some of the finest and warmest people I’ve ever met. I climbed a mountain, went on my first fishing trip, and in the process, I also managed to win a small open. In short, I had an unforgettable experience. ‘Life-changing experience’ is an adjective that can only be used for an handful of experiences in anyone’s life. However, in my short life so far, the trip to Faroes definitely counts as one. At the least, I did change my life in a space of two months, and it acted as the stepping stone to several more insightful experiences later. I can perhaps write a whole book about this (someday!) but for now I invite you to Faroes Open 2018, so that you too can have the experience of a lifetime like I did!

Prime Minister

It’s not every day that one gets an opportunity to receive the champion’s trophy made of basalt from a head of the state | Photo: Hanna Ólavsdóttir Jacobsen

Faroes Open 2018

The Faroes Open is a 9 round Swiss open with a total prize fund of €5570. Due to the high % of titled players amongst the players, the tournament is an ideal playground for norm scoring opportunities. The Faroes Open 2017 was held to the 50th year of Kollafjørður chess club. Fares Open 2018 will mark the 50th year of Sandavágur Chess Club.


The beautiful Sandavágur beckons | Photo: Erik Christensen CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Gawain Jones is set to be the favourite; Maxim Vavulin will definitely be a contender; The wisdom and experience of Alon Greenfeld is worth three of me | Photos:

Helgi Dam Ziska

Helgi Dam Ziska, the ‘Magnus Carlsen of Faroes Chess’ will lead the local challenge | photo: IA Mogens Nielsen

How to get here?

Travelling to the Faroe Islands is easy by air and sea. Daily connections by air are with both Atlantic Airways and SAS, and by sea with Smyril Line ferry Norrøna. For assistance, please contact the organizers from the contact form in the official website or at

Side events

Aside from the main tournament, the organizers have also arranged for a series of fun side events.  There will be short hiking trips in the beautiful Faroese nature, fishing trips and visits to historical sites, and if there are enough people willing, a game of indoor football. Of course, activities are not planned to miniscule detail in this Island’s life, as one can experience all four seasons in a single day. An account of the side activities can be found in the Faroes Open 2017 report.

Apartment outdoor

Buildings in Faroe Islands are strong and sturdy, built to withstand the extremes of the nature | Photo: Faroes Open organizers

Apartment inside

Participants would either be housed in a wonderful apartment like this | Photo: Faroes Open organizers

Giljanes hostel

Or the wonderful student hostel ‘Giljanes’] | Photo: Faroes Open organizers


Srinath is a 23-year-old Indian Grandmaster. A former World Under 12 champion, at the age of fourteen he became an IM and had shown surprising and unswerving loyalty to the title ever since, until March 2017, when he crossed the 2500 mark and completed the requirements to become a grandmaster. He loves chess and likes to play in tournaments all around the globe.


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