Wednesday 18 April 2012

Venice of the North

Stockholm by night
click to enlarge
This phrase in the title is usual reference to Swedish capital city Stockholm. Stockholm is a city situated on fourteen islands and indeed is very beautiful (although I don´t know much about comparabilities with Venice because I never been there). I don´t remember how many times I visited Stockholm but not all of my visits were related to chess. The very first time was in the summit of 2007 when I played Rilton Cup , the biggest Swedish (many would say, and only serious) open chess tournament. I never went back to play Rilton Cup again despite good memories from 2007/2008 . There are a few reasons. First of all I usually play in Czech Republic in January and one more tournament would be to much and second reason is that there are not good conditions for IMs (which is partly my fault)
My other visits (which are chess related) were only when I played in a Swedish league. Currently, I am playing for Eksjö-Aneby Alliansen  and I have to admit that I enjoy very much. A Swedish league, known as Elitserien, is mostly amateur oriented league (which will hopefully change). From last season (2011/2012) there are ten clubs in the league and before that there were twelve. Elitserien plays for two weekends (three rounds per weekend) and three stand alone matches. Or, fortunately it should be stand alone matches but one club is located in Umeå, far north  (observe that Sweden is 2000 kilometres long), and it is not practical to play away match there (or for them to play away match somewhere else). Thanks to current Swedish team champion, Team Viking, we could play two of our matches in Stockholm (against Rochaden Umeå and Team Viking) for one weekend (14th and 15th January).
Stockholm gamla stan
Click to enlarge
I travelled day before and had enough time to rest for a game. We stayed in the little hotel with colourful name Tre små rum which means Three little rooms  on Swedish. Of course, there were more than three rooms and I got one bad room (which is very good for my team mates because I snore occasionally).
Next day we were playing against Rochaden Umeå and were clear rating favourites (although some of us were a little bit worried, because these guys from the North never plays to much ELO games and are mostly underrated). Everything went wrong in this match. We were crushed with 6-2. Many times Swedish champion, IM Axel Ornstein lost his game with two more pawns in rook endgame. We had two GMs on the first and second board and they took half out of two. I was lucky enough to win my game (combination from previous post). After the game I spent some time with Christopher Krantz and GM Slavko Cicak desperatly trying to find a cinema with a decent movie. At least they learned that it can´t be trust to my estimation of distances. We are a bit worried because our ambitions were just to stay in the league (which we eventually did) but we had some hard matches in front of us. The hardest one were next day (Sunday,15th January) against Team Viking. We lost with 6-2 and I lost against GM Evegnij Agrest.
I was very satisfied to survive a pressure after the opening and I almost equalized a position. In Sweden if you almost equalise against Agrest means that you almost get a draw. Here is a critical position:
chess diagram Agrest Bejtovic
Click to enlarge
I was in time trouble and I played by intuition:
I was trying to put my queen-side pawns on dark squares where his bishop can´t attack them. Wrong! His bishop got a powerful square c4. He combined threats on both flanks and won comfortably.
The best move was
with idea of Ke8 and Kd8. That position is almost equal (remember, almost and Agrest). If he tries 
31.Tc8+,Td8 32.Tc6,Td6 33.Txd6 ?!, exd6
with Nc7 in the next move and black has a fortress.

On a way back to Scania (South Swedish region) I spent some time with Team Viking player and my friend IM Daniel Semcesen. We discussed some games with a coffee and ice-cream while waiting a train to Malmö. Thanks to efforts of EAA president Håkan Åkvist I got a first class ticket which was very nice (considering four hours free internet access).
Stockholm gammlastan
Click to enlarge


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