The Kragerø Grand Prix 2020

by Holger Blauhut
9/19/2020 – The Norwegian holiday resort Kragerø is a popular venue for Norwegian Grand Prix tournaments. Recently, another one of these tournaments was played, though this year under special conditions. Holger Blauhut reports about a live tournament in times of corona.| Photos: Tanja Cecilie Kveim (TCK), Holger Blauhut (HB)

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Kragerø Grand Prix

After the many cancellations, it was great to see that the organizers spared neither expense nor effort and held the Kragerø Grand Prix from September 4 to 6.

Sportell Kragerø (HB)

 The tournament area (HB)

Compared to previous years, the chess players had to be spread across more rooms to ensure that the minimum distance was maintained. For the players, down to the last board in the B group, this meant fantastic playing conditions. At least as far as the venue was concerned.

Somewhat more unusual were the other hygiene regulations given by the Norwegian Chess Federation. For example, food was forbidden in the game room (including chewing gum), spectators were not allowed, and the players were not supposed to stay at other boards – which some found difficult. In order to keep the prescribed distance between the players, only the player to move was allowed to bend over the board. Because of the large tables this was not a problem.

But as this rule is not very practical in time pressure, the chess federation recommends to play only with time controls in which each player gets at least a 10 second increment per move. And then there was the request not to touch one's face with one's hands. If anyone had forgotten himself and was resting his brooding head in his hands, an arbiter was nearby and left, as a discreet hint, a bottle of disinfectant at the board.

Dag Trygve Haug - Anna Blauhut 0-1. The photographer captured a clear violation of the hand-face-rule. (TCK)

I very much liked that the entry fee payment was already processed before the tournament and that you could register by SMS on the first day of play. This prevented queues in the game room and the tournament started on time.

On Friday evening two rapid games were played with a time of 20 minutes + 10 seconds per move. On Saturday and Sunday followed two games with a longer time control: 90 minutes + 30 seconds per move. Between the games the complete playing material was disinfected, which demanded full effort from the organizers, especially on Friday in the short break between the rapid games.

The tournament was played in two groups, with the separation at about ELO 1600. In the Norwegian Grand Prix system there is also a division according to (rating) classes which, however, does not affect the actual tournament but the prize-giving because the winners of the rating classes won money. A lot of players also won books as prizes.

The award ceremony with plenty of space in front of the "pig house", where the B group played. (HB)

Since no spectators were allowed, the organizers had provided for the live transmission of 12 games per round. These games were commentated live on Twitch by players of Magnus Carlsen's club Offerspill. 

In the last round there was a real final: FM Jens E Ingebretsen (4,5 points) - IM Geir Sune Tallaksen Østmoe (5 points) 1-0 (TCK)

The Kragerø Grand Prix showed that Norway's juniors play quite well. Of the six players who finished in the first three places in the A and B groups, only one was older than 16 years.

14-year-old Shazil Shehzad secured 3rd place because the author forgot to checkmate him in the last round (TCK)

FM Jens E Ingebretsen won the A-group ahead of IM Geir Sune Tallaksen Østmoe and Shazil Shehzad. In the B-group Ingvar Torjesen Kveim was in front. He won ahead of Martin Holten Fiskaaen and Simen Nikolai Storlid.

Winners of the A group (left to right): Jens E Ingebretsen, Geir Sune Tallaksen Østmoe, Shazil Shehzad (TCK)

Winners of the B group (left to right): Ingvar Torjesen Kveim, Martin Holten Fiskaaen, Simen Nikolai Storlid (TCK)




Translation from German: Arthur Paul

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


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