Norway, Albena submit Olympiad bids

by ChessBase
5/3/2010 – The bids to host the 41st Chess Olympiad in 2014 were due on April 30, 2010. One came from the Arctic Circle town of Tromsø and carries a government guarantee of NOK 70 million (US $12 million). The other was a last-minute bid by the Bulgarian Chess Federation for the Black Sea town of Albena. Our report includes an interview with Morten Sand, international FIDE advisor. Who will win?

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Norway submits bid for the 41st Chess Olympiad in 2014


Just two Chess Olympiad bids by FIDE deadline

Interview with Morten Sand – Tromsø delivers Norwegian bid for 41st Olympiad

On the last day of April, Morten Sand, the international advisor for the bid organizing committee, submitted an application to host the 41st Chess Olympiad on behalf of the northern Norwegian city of Tromsø. This act marked over three years of preparation by the group, which has combined chess and Olympic Winter Games organizers with experts from Norwegian business in an effort to bring the event to the city.

During this time Tromsø has gathered experience and goodwill through their Arctic Chess Challenge, and gathered political backing thanks to the national pride generated by the stunning results of teenager Magnus Carlsen. Norway's bid has already secured the financial support of the country's government, which also hopes that staging the event will spotlight the far north that they claim is a priority region for the future.

Interview – Jonathan Tisdall
for the Norwegian Chess Federation/Norsk Sjakkblad

Sand, a former FIDE Vice President and legal advisor to FIDE, talked about the methodical campaign to try to land this prestigious event in northern Norway. "I have to say that I am pleased to have just submitted the Tromsø bid in Athens. We are proud of the work we have done, and after three years of effort we believe we have a very strong bid for the chess Olympiad. A great deal of care has gone into the preparation, and we have all the necessary ingredients for a successful Olympiad."

The Arctic Chess Challenge certainly seems to have charmed those who have made the trip to play there, but can a city like Tromsø really stage an event of Olympic scope?

Morten Sand: Absolutely! One of our arguments is that Tromsø is a 'small large city' – and a metropolis is not a necessity for a memorable Olympiad. Tromsø has everything a big city can offer – if on a smaller scale – and with 10,000 university students out of a population of 75,000, it also has a lively pulse. In August, which is the optimal time slot for the Tromsø bid, the weather is mild, and the city has typically 'exotic' Norwegian features – beautiful unspoiled natural scenery, and a diverse cultural setting, with a major hosting role to be played by the indigenous Sami. The region is also noted in Norway for its good-natured hospitality, so the public will be as welcoming as the organizers.

And the organization has full backing at every level – the City of Tromsø, the northern region and the national government. The Ministry of Sport and Culture has approved a grant of NOK 70 million – about EUR 8.8 million at the current exchange rate – which is an extremely reassuring vote of confidence. And since Norway has a majority government, this support is rock solid. A lot of people have done a lot of work to make this happen – we are ready!

While the Norwegian application process has clearly been thorough and patient, the organizing team still faces a tough struggle to land the event, with a demanding political and diplomatic fight still ahead to secure enough support from FIDE nation members. Arguably, navigating FIDE politics may be the hardest part of the process, with this congress being a presidential election year as well?

Morten Sand: The FIDE election process and the bidding for the Olympiad are two completely different issues and should not be mixed. It is extremely important for Tromsø's candidacy – and for me personally – to remain absolutely neutral when it comes to the presidential elections. This is only logical. We want to host the Olympiad in 2014 regardless of the outcome of this year's elections, and this requires a good, equal and untroubled relationship with all possible candidates. Taking sides would obviously be counter-productive for anyone involved with the Tromsø bid, and we are a closely knit team.

Finally – coming this far is a real accomplishment for the Tromsø organization, but what kind of chance do you think the bid has for ultimate success?

Morten Sand: I think our chances are good. Only two bids were received within the deadline set by FIDE – Tromsø and Varna, Bulgaria. Since Varna has staged the Chess Olympiad before, in 1962, we think Tromsø should have excellent chances.

The Bulgarian Varna bid

According to the newspaper “Standart”, Bulgaria is preparing huge investment to candidate for the host of the 2013 World Chess Cup and 2014 Chess Olympiad. Documents have been presented tomorrow to FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos. The events would take place at the Black Sea resort Albena, where the huge playing hall is already under construction.

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The Black Sea resort of Albena in northeastern Bulgaria [Photo: Boby Dimitrov]

Albena is situated 30 km from Varna and is served by the international airport there. It was built on empty ground in the 1960s, one of the purpose-built resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and has a uniform and unique architectural style. Most of the 43 modern hotels, with 20,000 beds, provide direct access to the beach and sea. They also have views of the Baltata National Reserve, a rare combination of dense wet forest and a seashore landscape. The tourist season lasts from May till October.

The candidatures were officially announced today at the press conference hosted by Stefan Sergiev, President of the BCF, Svilen Neikov, Minister of Sport and Tourism, and Stefka Kostadinova, legendary sportswomen and President of the national Olympic Committee. Proposed dates for the Chess Olympiad are 20.9-4.10.2014, at the new sports complex in Albena. There is no prize fund, but all costs for all the teams would be covered by the organizers. FIDE tax is 350.000 EUR.

Previous ChessBase reports on Tromsø

Norway provides US $12 million for Olympiad bid
23.12.2009 – Good news. Boosted by the world number one place of Magnus Carlsen, the Government of Norway has just released the sum of NOK 70 million ($12 million) to support the bid of Tromsø, an island city in the Arctic Circle, to host the 41st Chess Olympiad in 2014. It would be a great place for chess players to go, as we have shown in many past reports. Today we add to these with a whale of a story.

Interview with Monika Socko, winner of the Arctic Challenge
20.08.2009 – Grandmaster Monika Socko is from Poland, married to Polish GM Bartoz Socko, who is two hundred points higher than her on the FIDE scale. Still, Monika finished first in the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø, with 7.0/9 and a rating performance of 2639, while her husband came 13th, a full point behind her. Son Szymon also played. Misha Savinov spoke to the winner.

How young Ray made his first GM norm
13.08.2009 The Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø ended last Sunday, with four players sharing the top score of 7.0/9 points. One of them, a 14-year-old lad, stood to make a GM norm. But to do so Ray Robson had to hold the Swedish Champion GM Emanuel Berg to a draw in the final round, with the black pieces. To compound matters Berg was desperate to win. Pictorial report by Misha Savinov.

Tromsø 2009 – Socko, Petrov and Robson lead
08.08.2009 – Make no mistake, it is GM Monika Socko, not her top-rated husband Bartosz, who is leading the Arctic Challenge with 6.0/7 and a 2703 performance. No less sensational is that 14-year-old IM Ray Robson is sharing first with a 2679 performance. The action is exciting ("hammer time") and the landscape lovely in the land of the midnight sun. Big illustrated report by Misha Savinov.

Tromsø 2009 – four lead in Arctic Chess Challenge
06.08.2009 – At the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø 120 players are competing in the year’s most prestigious Norwegian event. After five of nine rounds there are four players in the lead. Three are GMs, one a female, but the fourth is of particular interest: 14-year-old US American IM Ray Robson, whom some people are calling the new Bobby Fischer. Pictorial report by IM Torstein Bae.

Tromsø 2009 – the Arctic Chess Challenge
02.08.2009 The Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø is this year’s most prestigious event in Norway. More than 35 titled players are taking part, including 13 GMs. Top seed is Polish GM Bartosz Socko, rated 2656, with three more super-GMs just below him. The tournament is truly an international open: the 118 participants hail from 26 countries, and from all parts of the world. Pictorial report.

Tromsø 2009 – the Arctic Chess Challenge
22.07.2009 – The city of Tromsø, located within the Arctic Circle in Norway, has become a hot-bed of chess. Not only is Tromsø bidding for the Chess Olympiad 2014 – every year they stage a very attractive chess tournament in this beautiful location. This year the Arctic Challenge will be staged from August 1st to 9th, with 132 entries and lots of title holders – an ideal opportunity to make norms.

Tromsø – a Chess Olympiad in the midnight sun?
18.11.2008 – It lies well within the Arctic Circle and has a history of chess activity. Now the city of Tromsø is bidding to host the 2014 Chess Olympiad in one of the most attractive regions of Europe. A full presentation is being made at the Olympiad in Dresden. We visited the city this summer and support their bid with some WYSIWYG evidence of why it is ideally suited for an Olympiad. Photo report.

Chess in the Arctic Circle – GM Igor Kurnosov triumphs
18.08.2008 – For the third time the Tromsø Chess Club staged an International Open in the Arctic Circle. It ran from August 2nd to 10th 2008, with sky high prizes, by Norwegian standards (total prize fund 11,000 Euros). The venue is spectacular, the atmosphere warm and generous. And the place is full of Carlsens: Magnus, Henrik, Sigrun, Ellen, Ingrid and Signe. Part one of our big pictorial report.

Moiseenko wins the Arctic Chess Challenge
12.08.2007 – In the end it was a super-GM who took the unshared first place in the Tromsø Midnight Sun tournament: Alexander Moiseenko of the Ukraine scored 7.5/9 to overtake the long-time leader, "Mr Sunshine" Kjetil Lie, who had beaten him in round four. Top seed Magnus Carlsen recovered from a poor start to share 2-4. Like his parents we expect Magnus to scale the Store Blåmannen.

Carlsen vs Carlsen – Magnus beats his dad
10.08.2007 – That is hardly a surprise, since the 16-year-old is over six hundred points stronger than his first teacher. But then again Henrik Carlsen has grounding powers... After seven rounds of the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø it is Norwegian GM Kjetil A. Lie who is in the lead, with 5.5 points, followed by four players with 5.0 points each. Report with pictures and videos.

Second Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø
07.08.2007 – The Norwegian island town of Tromsø lies well within the Arctic Circle, which means that this time of the year the sun never sets. Tromsø is playing host to a strong GM tournament from August 4th-12th, 2007. Top seed is Magnus Carlsen, who rushed in from his victory in Biel and did not have a great start here (3.0/4, place ten). Two other GMs, Macieja and Lie, lead with 4.0/4. Round four report.

Shipov wins Midnight Sun, Carlsen second
03.07.2006 – The Midnight Sun Chess Challenge in Tromsø, Norway, was won by Russian GM Sergei Shipov, who scored 7.5 points in nine rounds. Second was fifteen-year-old Magnus Carlsen with 7.0, who beat Leif Erland Johannessen on tiebreak points. We bring you a final report with pictures from Whale's Island.

Carlsen leads the Midnight Sun Challenge
28.06.2006 – A fifteen-year-old super-grandmaster, blessed with an Elo of 2646, is leading the Midnight Sun Chess Challenge in Tromsø. Magnus Carlsen of Norway looks set to break a few new records with the form that he is showing these days. The event is being held well within the Arctic Circle, where at this time of year the nights are bright as day. Misha Savinov reports.

Midnight Sun Chess Challenge in Tromsø
26.06.2006 – There are parts in the world where, during a certain period of the year, the sun never sets. The northern Norwegian town of Tromsø, which lies well within the Arctic Circle, is one such place. From June 24th to July 2nd, in the middle of the midnight sun period, it is holding chess festival with GMs like Krasenkow and Magnus Carlsen. Big illustrated report.

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