Swedish Championship in Ronneby

by André Schulz
7/3/2018 – On Saturday, the Swedish Championship started in Ronneby, embedded in a big chess festival. Hans Tikkanen leads after three rounds with 2½ points and showed himself as a virtuoso of the defence yesterday in his game against Nils Grandelius. The tournament has a long history going back over a century to 1917! | Photo: Lars O. Hedlund

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Over a century of Swedish Champions

The Swedish Championships have a history going back to 1917. At this time, the championships were still held in match form and the first national champion was Gustav Nyholm, who had defeated Otto Loewenborg and Karl Berndtsson. Until 1938, there were national tournaments but they had no official status as championship tournaments. Only since 1939 has the championship been played as a tournament. Frequently, but not always, the names of the best Swedish players are among the winners of the championships: Gideon Stahlberg (first championship 1931), Gosta Stoltz or Erik Lundin. Ulf Andersson won the title only once, in 1969.

The 2018 Swedish Individual Championship takes place from June 30th to July 8th. Ten players take part in the round-robin, including most of the top Swedish players, like Nils Grandelius, Tiger Hillarp Persson and Pia Cramling. The Average rating is 2495. That also happens to be the rating of the leader through three rounds, Hans Tikkanen, who also won the last championship in 2017.

The host of the tournament is the Hotel Ronneby Brunn in the far south of the country, close to the Baltic Sea.

The Championship tournament is traditionally embedded in a large chess festival, alongside other tournaments for various rating groups.

Tikkanen scored 2½ points in the first three rounds, among them an important win against Nils Grandelius, the top seed. Tikkanen put up a tough defence in an unpleasant position which emerged from the Caro-Kann Advance variation and later won the endgame.


Play through the moves on the live diagram

White played 19.Bd7 and is considerably better. But after exchanging on c3 with 19...Bxc3 20.Bxc3 Rc7, Grandelius could have kept strong pressure with 21.gxf6 gxf6 22.Ba4.

Instead, 21.Bc1 allowed Tikkanen to eliminate the bone on d7 with an exchange sacrifice 21...Rxd7 and hang on for a few moves until Grandelius gave him a further opening to equalise:


25...g5! 26.Qe5 g4! got Black back into the game with gusto.

Pia Cramling, the only woman in the field, has had a difficult start. Together with Erik Blomqvist, she still graces the bottom of the table with ½ a point. Against Jonny Hector, Cramling missed a win:


With 21...e3 Black could win here. On 22.Re1 there would follow 22...Bg2. Instead Black played 21...Bd5 and had nothing.

Standings after three rounds


Live games and commentary of Round 4


Commentary in Swedish

All games


Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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