Football fever: Swedes pause chess clock

by Ingemar Falk
7/6/2018 – Sweden is currently in football fever. In the face of the game against England on Saturday even the kick-off time for the rounds of the Swedish Championships in Ronneby was brought forward to 10:00 CEST, but not for championship group. There, Hans Tikkanen leads by one point. On Wednesday he defeated Jonny Hector. Ingemar Falk gives an insight into the soul situation of the country before "the big game". | Photos: Lars O. Hedlund

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Swedish Championship round postponed!

Football fever has struck Swedish chess championships. Sweden is having their best world championships in football since 1994 and will play quarterfinals on Saturday against England. Thousands of people in the capital Stockholm wear yellow t-shirts before the game. You can most certainly say that Sweden has gone bananas!

The football fever has also reached Ronneby where Swedish chess championships are being played right now. The excitement for the England game on Saturday among the chess players has lead the organiser to reschedule the round on Saturday — that’s a very rare case in the history of Swedish Chess Championships.

boy in jersey

A young victim of the fever | Photos: Lars O. Hedlund

Normally the round on Saturday starts at 15:00 CEST, which might unfortunately lead to a very significant risk of an unusually high drawing percentage due to the football game's scheduled start just one hour later!

The organisers have therefore given the players the opportunity to start their game already at 10:00 in the morning. But that luxury is not for all: the players in the elite group have to start at the ordinary time at 15:00 CEST.

Two players that perhaps will not will take a short draw in their games and run to the big screen TV are GM Hans Tikkanen and GM Nils Grandelius. Grandelius (2668) was the big favourite coming into the Swedish championships, but Tikkanen (2495) has shown splendid strength right from the start.

Tikkanen is currently in the driver’s seat after his win against Grandelius in the third round and leads with a full point ahead of the top seed with four more rounds to go.

History is also in Tikkanen's favour. He has won Swedish Championship four times while Grandelius has struggled several times and only managed to take one title.

In the fifth round, Hans Tikkanen celebrated his fourth victory, this time over Jonny Hector, keeping his pursuer at bay.

 

Black's attack crashed through with 32...Bxg3! 33.Ng5+ (33.fxg3 Nxg3+ leads to mate or heavy material losses) 33...fxg5 34.fxg3 Qh7 and White is helpless.

The final move was quite a sight:

 

Can you find the coup de grâce?

In Thursday's sixth round, Tikannen drew with Pia Cramling and thus maintains a full point lead over the rest of the field.


Round 6 results

 

Standings after Round 6

 

Here are the final pairings for the leader and the chaser:

Hans Tikkanen - 5.0 points
Round 7: (plays black) GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (2546)
Round 8: (w) GM Erik Blomqvist (2505)
Last round: (b) IM Oskar von Bahr (2432)

Nils Grandelius - 4.0 points
Round 7: (b) GM Jonny Hector (2499)
Round 8: (w) GM Pia Cramling (2452)
Last round: (b) GM Tiger Hillarp Persson (2546)

All games

 

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