Johan Salomon is new Norwegian Champion

by ChessBase
7/21/2016 – IM Johan Salomon is one of the greatest Norwegian talents. But in the National Championship 2016 he had a slow start - scoring only 2.5/5. But then he won the next four games and with this strong finish he managed to win the tournament on tie-break after a nerve-wrecking last round. Thomas Robertsen sends a report with lots of chess and lots of pictures.

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Norwegian Championships (Part 2)

By Thomas Robertsen

From 9th to 16th July the Norwegian Chess Championships took place in Tromsø and 376 participants played in 13 groups. This year’s Championship is the 93rd. The first Norwegian championship was played in 1916, 100 years ago, in a city named Christiania, now better known as Oslo. With an average of roughly 400 participants the Landsturneringen (the official name of the tournament) is year after year the biggest tournament in Norway. Every year between 10 to 20 percent of all members of the Norwegian Chess Federation take part in the tournament.

After five rounds of the Norwegian Championships GM Djurhuus and FM Nilsen led the field with 4.0/5, half-a-point ahead of GM Urkedal, GM Lie, IM Getz and and IM Elsness who had 3.5/5. But in rounds six and seven things suddenly did no longer work for Djurhuus and Nilsen: they both scored only 0.5/2. Elsness, however, won both his games and suddenly led the table with 5.5/7 and was a whole point ahead of a group of six players chasing him. Apart from dreaming about winning the Championship Elsness also had good chances to make his final GM norm.

But his dreams of making a GM were brutally dashed in round eight when he lost with White against FM Nilsen. Nilsen, however, secured his second IM-norm with this win – with one round to go.


With 2.5/5 IM Johan Salomon had a mediocre start into the tournament but after winning three games – and grinding down IM Nicolai Getz in a long endgame in round eight – he suddenly had chances to win the title. He was not the only one: In round eight GM Kjetil Lie won a spectacular game against GM Frode Urkedal with Black and suddenly five players with 5.5/8 shared the lead before the last round and could dream of the title: Elsness, Nilsen, Djurhuus, Lie and Salomon). And what a finish we got!


The ninth and last round extremely hard-fought and only three games ended in a draw, all of them played down to theoretical draws.

With his IM-norm in hand after eight rounds the tournament was already a success for FM Joachim Nilsen and he could play without pressure against Johan Salomon in round nine. But this didn’t help him and he went down in flames after only 21 moves.


With 6.5/9 Salomon was now certain to share first but had to wait how the other games developed. The next game to finish was Kjetil Lie against Frode Elsness – Lie won in 26 moves and caught up with Salomon on 6.5/9.


For the moment Lie had the better Buchholz and was first but this changed with the next result, Johan-Sebastian Christiansen’s win against Rune Djurhuus. With this win Christiansen was certain to become third and win bronze. However, the title was decided in the game between IM Lars Oskar Hauge and local hope FM Espen Forsaa. Forsaa, who before the tournament had not played much chess for a while, had been steadily improving during the tournament and Lie certainly hoped that he would manage to beat Hauge in the final game of the Championship. Because then Lie would become Norwegian Champion 2016 on tie-break. But it was not to be.


As none of the remaining games changed the standings of the leading group Johan Salomon was declared Norwegian champion 2016! Silver went to Kjetil Lie, bronze to Johan-Sebastian Christiansen. Salomon, who last year had finished second, must have been relieved and happy.

But the fight for first place was not the only exciting thing in the last round of the Elite group. For instance, have a look at the game Getz-Hobber. In this year’s championship IM Nicolai Getz was not in top form but he is a very exciting player whose play in the last months earned him a place on the Norwegian team at the Olympiad in Baku. In the last round he showed remarkable attacking skills and demonstrated once again why you should study the masters of the past.


But the best was still to come. IM Maxim Devereaux, who originally hails from England, has lived in Norway for several years. In 2014 he won the first edition of the so called “Brain Game”, now a popular show on Norwegian TV. In this show Maxim showed his abilities in several fields and moreover, he is very likeable and was a popular guest in Tromsø.

In the last round of the Norwegian Championships he played against GM Frode Urkedal and showed his chess talent. For Urkedal the end of the tournament must have felt like a nightmare: he lost three games in a row. But he will surely bounce back very soon.


Happy faces in the Elite group. From left to right: GM Kjetil Lie (2),
Norwegian champion IM Johan Salomon and IM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen.

Final standings

Pl. Name Club Points TB
IM Johan Salomon Nordstrand
GM Kjetil A. Lie Vålerenga
IM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen Vålerenga
GM Rune Djurhuus Nordstrand
FM Joachim B. Nilsen 1911
IM Frode Elsness 1911
IM Maxim L Devereaux Black Knights
IM Lars Oskar Hauge OSS
GM Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal 1911
IM Nicolai Getz OSS
FM Espen Forså Tromsø
IM Atle Grønn OSS
FM Sebastian Mihajlov OSS
IM Andreas G.R. Moen OSS
FM Daniel Jakobsen Kovachev OSS
IM Øystein Hole Akademisk
FM Johannes Haug Nordstrand
FM Anders Hobber Akademisk
Henning Jakhelln Kjøita 1911
FM Eivind Olav Risting 1911
FM Sondre Merkesvik Bergens
Stig K. Martinsen Bergens

Jøran Aulin-Jansson won the Master class, ahead of Gunnar B. Hanssen from Tromsø, and they both earned the privilege to play in the Elite group next year.

Endre Machlik won the Junior title (U20) and also qualified for the Elite group. Endre is playing for Tromsø, as does the winner of the U16 (Kadett) group, Mads Vestby-Ellingsen, one of the successful local players.

Two happy Norwegian champions from Tromsø. Mads Vestby-Ellingsen (13) left won
the U16 group and Endre Machlik (16) won the Junior group (U20)

Mads in particular impressed everyone with his steady and calm play which brought him an incredible score of 8.5/9.Here is an example that shows his mature play and understanding.


The U12 section was won by Bjørn Robertsen, Moss, ahead of his team mate Tobias Lang Nilsen. The U10 section was won by the 7-year old prodigy Aksel Bu Kvaløy, Stavanger, ahead of Mathias Unneland and Andreas Tenold.

The best in the U12 group. (From right to left) Tobias Lang Nilsen (2),
Bjørn Robertsen (1) and Julian Munk (3).

The Senior (60+) group was won by Ole Ch. Moen, ahead of Arne Danielsen.

The tournament was a great success, with almost everyone satisfied with the playing conditions. The organizing committee did a very good job, particularly in the organization of volunteers, many of whom worked double shifts. Organizing a tournament like this is almost impossible without a large group of volunteers, and they are the true heroes in the story of the Norwegian Chess Championships 2016.

Another hero of the tournament was GM Kjetil Lie. He singlehandedly saved most of the sporting value of the tournament when he agreed to participate as third grandmaster after the organizers suddenly were one grandmaster short a couple of days before the registration deadline. Lie then impressed everyone with his constantly great mood. Apart from playing in the Elite group he also participated in exhibitions in the afternoon, for instance, giving simuls in the malls and showing his amazing blindfold skills.

Kjetil also has great human skills. For me, the finest moment of the tournament was when I attended a very special meeting between two of the greatest chess enthusiasts I have ever met. 10-year-old Torbjørn Valvaag was playing in the U10 section and he trains chess several times a week and is, despite his young age, also very interested in chess history. He has a fantastic memory and practically remembers everything he reads and hears and seems to know everything about all the World Champions: When they became champions, who they beat and even the result of the matches. He also knows his Norwegian grandmasters and Kjetil Lie – together with World Champion Magnus Carlsen – is one of his favorites.

Kjetil and Torbjørn became friends during the championship. Kjetil showed Torbjørn
some useful tricks and even secret analyses, but was also impressed by Torbjørn´s knowledge.

A truly inspiring meeting for both – in the next round both players won in great style.


Concentrated and determined

GM Frode Urkedel dreams about his next tournament.

IM Maxim Devereaux scored 5.5/9 points and finished the tournament with a spectacular win.

Chess makes happy

Local boy in the Elite group, FM Espen Forsaa

The newly elected president of the Norwegian Chess Federation Morten L. Madsen (left)
together with the Chairman of the organizing committee, Jan S. Berglund

Chess interest in Norway reaches new limits

Local players in the U10 group. Kristine (9) and Birk (10) both won quickly in the last
round and immediately volunteered to help in the cafeteria.

Chess is exciting

Elise Sjøttem-Jocobsen (16) participated in the Olympiad in Tromsø two years ago.

A hard fighting Embla Ekeland Grønn scored 5.0/9 points in the U12 group which gave her a fine 10th place.
In the last round she also came close to beating the eventual winner, Bjørn Robertsen

Daddy, IM Atle Grønn, playing in the Elite group against the young FM Eivind Olav Risting. Atle made his debut in the Elite group in 1988(!)
and he is a well-known player, expert on Russia, TV-commentator and now author. This autumn his book “Chess or Life” will be published.

Even Liverpool will win a trophy this year

Happy guys in the Senior B group at the prize-giving

That goes for the guys in the Senior A group as well. Norwegian champion
Ole Christian Moen in the middle is a true gentleman of Norwegian Chess
and has been so for decades.

All photos: Anniken Vestby

Tournament page

About the author

Thomas Robertsen is a passionate chess enthusiast who follows the great players and tournaments with great interest. He is also very fond of chess history and enjoys reading about the players and tournaments of the past. In the past three years he has been preoccupied mostly with chess administration as a Board member in the Norwegian Chess Federation. Tom also headed the sporting committee which picked players for our national teams in last year's Olympiad. Leaving the adminstration this summer he hopes to get to play more on my own. "I`m not a great chessplayer, but peaked at a decent 2275 a few years ago. Besides playing I hope to get to write more about chess in the near future."

Thomas lives in Tromsö and is the father of Sander (21) and Hannah (7). He works with children and young people as a psychiatric nurse.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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