Tournaments postponed in Sweden and Norway due to the sanitary crisis

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
3/27/2021 – Scattered over-the-board tournaments have been played during the first quarter of the year, and a number of well-known events announced the dates for this year’s editions. However, there are countries that have been showing a rising trend of Covid-19 cases, which has prompted the organizers of the TePe Sigeman & Co and the Norway Chess tournaments to postpone their starting dates. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Better safe than sorry

FIDE’s decision to hold the Candidates Tournament last year was applauded by some but heavily criticized by others, with one of the participants, Teimour Radjabov, even declining to participate due to the then unknown effects of the virus — there were, after all, numerous scientific sources that advocated for strong measures to be taken as quickly as possible.

We all know what happened next: to say it was a tough year is a massive understatement. However, after we went through two waves of infections worldwide and massive vaccination became a reality, organizers began to announce the return of their tournaments — to be played over the board — in 2021.

While the Candidates Tournament is set to start on April 19 and the Grand Chess Tour will have its first event of the year on June 3 in Romania, the organizers of two top tournaments have announced that, due to the restrictions prompted by the third wave of the virus, their planned starting dates have been postponed.

First, the TePe Sigeman & Co tournament, which remarkably included Anatoly Karpov in its lineup, was postponed to an unspecified date later in the year. The message in the official website reads as follows:

The current restrictions imposed by the EU and the Swedish government has once again made it impossible to continue planning this event. But, right now we are investigating the possibility to go through with the tournament later this year instead (somewhere in August-October).

TePe Sigeman & Co chess

Pre-Covid — the opening ceremony of the 2019 TePe Sigeman & Co event

Perhaps more surprising was to find out that the Norway Chess tournament will not be played in May as it was originally planned, since the organizers had managed to impressively go ahead with the 2020 edition in October last year. They have, however, provided a specific date for this year’s event:

Norway Chess 2021 is postponed to September 7 to 18. Due to rising numbers of Covid-19 in Norway and globally, as well as closed borders in several countries including Norway, it becomes impossible to organize the event in May as planned.

“We were prepared to organize the tournament in May as we managed to organize the tournament in October 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. However, with closed borders in Norway and several other countries, it becomes impossible to plan and go through with the event in May.”  – Benedicte Westre Skog, project manager.

There will be some changes to the player lineup, however several players are confirmed to participate in September, world champion Magnus Carlsen being one of them. More information to come.

Altibox Norway Chess

Against all odds — the playing hall of the 2020 Altibox Norway Chess Tournament | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Luckily for chess fans, the online action continues, with the Play Magnus Group recently announcing a new tournament for rising stars and the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour already a monthly feature in our calendars. The European Club Cup will also take place online starting today, while the European players who intend to get a spot in the next World Cup through a qualifying event will play a knock-out hybrid chess tournament in May.

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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