Wednesday 3 October 2012

Swedish Elitserien starts this weekend

This weekend starts Swedish chess league, Elitserien...
The league is a team competition between 10 best Swedish clubs (or their first teams).
It is worth to notice that Swedish league (Elitserien in the rest of the text) is going to be played on 5 occasions.
Two times during a season teams will play three matches during a weekend and there will be three matches when clubs will play home or away.
It sounds a bit confusing, but this is much better than how it looks for couple of years ago.
This is my second year in the row when I will play for my new club Eksjö S.K.

The whole concept of Elitserien is quite amateur oriented (like a huge majority of chess events in Sweden) as it is played exclusively on weekends and it is played during a long six  months.
We can compare this with leagues in countries with more developed chess culture, for example in the east (Russia, Ukraine...) where the whole league is played during a 9 days, but also there are examples when a league is played just like in Sweden, for example German Bundesliga.
However, for couple of years ago, when I moved to Sweden, Elitserien was played by twelve clubs and there were just one weekend with 3 games and 8 separate matches.
There were absolutely no quality in the league which could support that system.
I will not talk about league before 2007/2008 as I simply don´t know what happened then.
In the seasons 07/08 , 08/09 , 09/10 and 10/11 I played for LASK, club from the Lund and together with them I won one bronze, one silver and one gold (after 33 years waiting).
In the season 08/09 I had the best result in the whole league, but in the season 10/11 my 8 out of 9 was even more worth (I didn´t played two games in that season).
Last year I decided to change a club, and I played for Eksjö S.K.
This season I will again play for them, as I am very satisfied with this friendly club.
This format of 10 clubs was introduced last year, and was actually the best thing what could happen to Elitserie.
The second novelty was that league begins with first weekend when three rounds is played (it started actually in 09/10 if I remember good) which reduces number of separate round to only three.
This is much more oriented to professionals, and is good novelty for Elitserie.
What is the worst thing now is that you don´t know your board in the team!
If you are rated number 5 in the team, you can play every match between board 3 and 7!
This is not very serious, as in extreme cases some player can play all his games with White.
It is done for amateurs (again) in order to avoid opening preparation by professional players, but of course this is just non-sense, as professionals will prepare much easier and quicker for 4-5 players and if nobody prepares at all, it is still in the advantage of professionals as their repertoire is much better.
Conclusion - opening preparation in the games between amateur and professional can just reduce difference in the playing strength and is in advantage of amateur.
Then why am I against this "2 boards" rule?
Well, even if it is in my advantage by means of opening preparation, I just know that it is unfair, as everybody should play equal number of games with white and black pieces, and everybody should count of their opposition in the forthcoming rounds (just in the case of possibility to play for IM or GM norm, and so on). 
One more thing is positive and this is playing conditions in the Elitserie, which are much better now compared for 5 years ago (when it was possible to play games with analog chess clocks!).
As Elitserie is Elo rated competition it is very confusing to play in , for example, March with your October rating!
Officials send Elo rapport only once, and nowadays when we have new Elo lists every month, it is just not serious.

Malmö 5-7 October

All right. This season Elitserien starts with two separate parts, one with six clubs in Malmö and one with four clubs in Gothenburg.
Eksjö S.K. will play in Malmö and we should be placed somewhere between fourth and sixth place at the end of Elitserie.
The last year we avoided relegation by victory in the very last match!
It was not so good for Eksjö S.K. which has some respectable players.
Our matches this weekend will be very interesting.

Round 1, Friday 05. October

Limhamns Schackklubb - Eksjö Schackklubb

This should be very even match between clubs with the same ambitions and approximately a players which are equally strong.
Limhamns S.K. is host of the first three rounds and is one the biggest clubs in the country.
However, last year we won with 4,5-3,5 and it can be very interesting against them!

Round 2, Saturday 06.October

Schackklubb Rockaden Umeå - Eksjö Schackklubb

This is not so strong club by means of their average rating, but last year we played against them in Stockholm, with very strong team (We were better rated on every single board) but they crashed us with 6-2.
Umeå lays on the north of Sweden and their players are mostly underrated as they don´t play as much Elo games as players from south.
We hopes that this year we will defend our role of favourites.

Round 3, Sunday 07. October

LASK - Eksjö Schackklubb

On Sunday we will play against one of the two biggest favourites (second is current champion Team Viking) for the crown, Lunds akademiska schackklubb.
They have the better team then in 2010/2011 when they won a gold medal (with me in their team) and they are big favourites against us.
From the difference from seasons when I played there, LASK team is not filed by home players, but as a mixture of home players (some of them are best in the country) and legion of foreign players (most of them are Danish).

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