Saturday 6 July 2013

de Verdier explains - First round of Swedish championship

Today the Swedish Championship started. 
My last participation was back in 2008, but in 2010 I was the official commentator of the main tournament. 
This year is the third year in a row that I follow the event from abroad, but not with less interest, it should be mentioned.

Especially interesting for me is the fact that in recent years the tournament seems to have played a role in the political discussions that have been prevalent in Swedish lately, especially when it comes to compensation to professional players, the role of the elite players in the Chess Federation and so on. 
It’s interesting to note that some of the players that have been most active in these discussions are taking part in this year’s tournament. 

It should be known that the Swedish chess scene is quite small, and for some (including me) it will be very interesting to follow the lower classes, especially if you know some of the characters that will play there, but I will focus on the main tournament in this round 1 report.
The blog’s famous owner already made his predictions for the tournament in his last post, and I would tend to agree with him on most things, and the results in round 1 more or less confirms his suspicions as we shall see. 
Let’s start by looking at the two favourites’ games. Tiger Hillarp Persson had the white pieces against Jonny Hector, who was out of form in the Sigeman tournament in May. A spectacular game ensued:

A strong start for Tiger, but what about the other main favourite, Marley Grandelius? He played against the winner of the last two Championships, Hans Tikkanen. After nine moves the following position arose:

Black just played


and it seems to me that White can just continue with 10.Be3 to have a nice position, and a small advantage at least.
Instead Grandelius chose 

10.dxe6 e.p. 

and the game soon ebbed out and finished in a draw, although other players will surely go more in depth about how the players arrived to this result.

My new team-mate in Eksjö SK, Pontus Carlsson, had a fine position against the solid Pia Cramling, but wanted too much and lost himself in an attempt to mate his opponent. Cramling kept her calm and fended off the attack to take the full point.

The most uneventful game was that between Wiedenkeller and Brynell. A sharp opening promised a lot but the game soon finished in a perpetual. The exact same game has been seen before on the top level, for example between Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot in 2009.

Smith took a pawn against Lindberg in their early scontro della colonna destra, and looked to be a bit better. Lindberg got some compensation though and could have continued in the diagram position.


39.Raxb6 Qxb6 
40. Rxb6 Rxb6 
41. Qxc5

...only White can hope for a small chance to win, although yet again I will leave it for other players to decide how big those chances were.
Instead he chose to repeat moves with some random rook moves and the game was drawn. 

This leaves us with the following standings after round 1:

  1. Tiger Hillarp Persson , Pia Cramling

½.   Axel Smith, Bengt Lindberg, Nils Grandelius, Hans Tikkanen, Michael Wiedenkeller, Stellan      Brynell

  1. Pontus Carlsson, Jonny Hector

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