Tromsø 2009 – the Arctic Chess Challenge

by ChessBase
8/2/2009 – 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.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Tromsø – Arctic Chess Challenge 2009 – Round one

Report by IM Torstein Bae

The top rated player is Polish GM Bartosz Socko, FIDE rating 2656. Three more super-GMs are taking part: GM Igor Khenkin of Germany, GM Yuri Drozdovskij of the Ukraine, and GM Emanuel Berg of Sweden. The Norwegian prodigy GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (19) is ranked as number five.

The city of Tromsø is the Norwegian candidate for the 2014 Chess Olympiad. One aim of the Arctic Chess Challenge is to demonstrate that the city is able to organise important tournaments. Another aim is to show the beauty of Tromsø. Located north of the polar circle, the city can offer both amazing nature (for two months in the summer, the sun never sets) and urban pleasures. In fact, Tromsø is often called “The Paris of the North”.

The chief organiser Jan Sigmund Berglund and the beautiful Tromsø nature

At 3 p.m. local time on the 1st of August, the chief arbiter Panagiotis “Takis” Nikolopoulos declared that the games could start, and more than 110 players sprung into motion. Some players did not make it to Tromsø in time. GM Amon Simutowe of Zambia lost by default in round one; he will arrive in Tromsø in time to play round two on Sunday.

The playing hall

There were not too many surprises in round one. A lot of lower rated players fought well, but in the end the masters proved to be a bit too strong. There were some notable exceptions, however. On board one, GM Bartosz Socko was held to a draw by local hero Frode Bull Jaeger (2015). An even better result was achieved by the Norwegian 13-year-old Gregor Taube, who beat Danish IM Nikolaj Mikkelsen in the first round. Taube recently won the Norwegian U13 Championship, and is now on his way to a great result in Tromsø.

First round surprise: Taube (left) vs IM Mikkelsen, 1-0

Even though there were some surprises, just about everyone is of the opinion that one of the GMs will be on top after nine rounds. Here are the main contenders for the first prize.

The Socko family: GM Bartosz (Elo 2656), GM Monika (2449) and Szymon (untitled)

GM Igor Khenkin (Elo 2634), one of the strongest German players

GM Yuri Drozdovskij of Ukraine, elo 2620

GM Emanuel Berg (2610), who recently won the Swedish championship for the first time

GM Vadim Malakhatko of Belgium, Elo 2570

GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (elo 2583), who recently replaced Simen Agdestein as
Norway’s second strongest player. You might know who is the strongest…

GM Sarunas Sulskis of Lithuania, Elo 2559

GM Julian Radulski of Bulgaria, Elo 2539

But of course there is more to the Arctic Chess Challenge than all these GMs. As a true open there are players of all levels participating. Here are a few of them.

Gorata Leso of Botswana

IM Ray Robson, who recently won the US Junior Championship

Marianne Wold Haug, 16 years old and number six on the Norwegian women’s rating list

IM Alex Wohl, one of the strongest Australian players

The Arctic Chess Challenge is being played in Tromso from August 1st to 9th. The first five rounds (August 1st to 5th) start at 3 pm local time; the last four start at 12 pm. Every round you can follow nine games live on or at the tournament website (link below). At the website you can also play through games and look at more pictures.


Previous ChessBase reports on Tromsø

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.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register