Friday, 27 August 2010

Schwarzach Round 7

Sunny day in St Veit

We finally got up early enough to explore and meet a few locals

and check out the sights. St Veit is a tiny Austrian Village in the Pongau region nestled between mountains with an imposing Church

a Graveyard with a View to die for (pun intended)

and very colorful houses.

In the evening we went down to Schwarzach for round 6 and between the five of us we amassed half a point. I lost to GM Mladen Palac for the umpteenth time. 22....Ng5 would have been interesting but instead I tilted with ....c5. Oh well....

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Schwarzach Round 5

Nice game today with 1.a3. Like I said yesterday, I am playing better with black lately.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Schwarzach Round 4 Black is beautiful

Another win with the black pieces. Although I have been suffering with the white pieces lately I won my seventh game in a row with black. Am seriously considering playing 1.a3 :-)

Schwarzach Round 3

A sad day Chesswise. My excuse could be that I had wake up 7am to drive 400 to Munich and back in the morning but even that does not explain the rush of blood to the Head that lead to my sacrifice which was good enough only for perpetual, which I spurned after only a minutes thought to throw even the half point away.

Schwarzach Round 2

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Life is Beautiful

After a wonderful month in Norway I flew back to beautiful Bavaria on Wednesday. I was picked up at the Airport by my mate Klaus and taken straight to the Augustiner am Woerthsee. I had a need for a Weissbier and Schweinshaxn and Klaus sacrificed himself by having a few Beers as well. Then we went back home for a Pizza and a good nights sleep. Friday we went to the Munich Chess Academy where we were made a brilliant Coffee by Natalia. So good was the Coffee that we Kidnapped her and took her back to Woerthsee.
                                                     Natalia, Claudia and Klaus.
We took a little walk around the lake but all too soon it was time for me to leave because another tournament was starting. I am now in Schwarzach in the Pongau but it is not as bad as it sounds in English :-)
My Home is the Sonnenterrasse
where I am sharing a huge Apartment with four Austrian friends, George, Stefan, Michael and Thomas. We have Wi-fi, a Swimming pool and an Incredible View.
Life is good and I feel as if the "Gods" are smiling on me lately. Further proof was my game where I was definitely the beneficiary of divine intervention. Both 23.Bh7 and 28.Bc4 just win for my opponent.  Sorry folks bot the Chess Game replayer isn't working so I'll just put the PGN.

[Event "Schwarzacher Open 2010"]
[Site "Schwarzach"]
[Date "2010.08.21"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Ebner, J"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2024"]
[BlackElo "2375"]
[ECO "A40g"]
[EventDate "2010.08.21"]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.f3 Ne7 6.Bd3 f5 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4
O-O 9.Qc2 Nbc6 10.Ne2 Qe8 11.O-O-O fxe4 12.fxe4 Qh5 13.Bg3 Bxc3 14.
Qxc3 d6 15.d5 Ne5 16.Nd4 exd5 17.exd5 c6 18.Bxe5 dxe5 19.Ne6 Rf6 20.
g4 Qf7 21.g5 hxg5 22.Rhf1 cxd5 23.Nxg5 Qh5 24.Qxe5 Ng6 25.Qg3 Raf8
26.Rxf6 Rxf6 27.cxd5 Nf4 28.Ne4 Rf8 29.Kb1 Qxd1# 0-1

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Norwegian Saga Pt2

I left Tromso on a Monday, energized and ready to explore the mysterious Islands to the north. Legend had it that there was a land there which no Australian Chess-playing Biker had ever been to before. After crossing the Bridge to Kvaloya I turned right (north) in search of this place called Karlsoy Island. After about 30km I came to the Underwater tunnel Klavsundtunnelen, connecting Kvaloysletta to Ringvassoya. It was here that I received my first important lesson of this trip

LESSON: If you are Cycling downhill in a Tunnel and you suddenly can't see a thing  STOP. 

I continued hoping to reach light but instead hit a traffic-cone, going A/T. This did however prevent me hitting a pile of rocks. There was roadwork being done in the tunnel and therefore many of the lights were out. Slightly shaken but not seriously injured I continued to Hessfjorden where I camped for the night. The next morning I continued to Hansnes where I met three wise men from Olso.
We shared some food and some stories. They told me they had just been to this fabled land called Karlsoy and had attended a Festival. They told me I had to take the ship and go for there I would find both what I seek and that which I did not even know I sought.

First I went to the inter-dimensional Tardis-tourist office but got not much help. I decided to ask some of the local residents
who told me to go to Sandvika. Sure enough, there it was, what I had been seeking. A Camping place with a view of the Beach and fresh water nearby. 

Nearby I found signs of previous habitation. This could be the remains a Pre-Festavillian Hippie Civilization

and this must be either their place of worship where they burned herbal offerings to Gaia or just watched Rainbows which also seems like a good Idea

That evening I cooked Rice with some Mushrooms and herbs I had found nearby and watched the Sky

A few days passed before I felt the need to explore a bit further. The mountain was calling me. It had something to show.

Go to the town and buy some more supplies the Mountain said. The shop is open until 2. It was there that I met the Oracle of Karlsoy. She made many predictions ie: "I will leave the Island before you" and I kid you not, they all came true!!

The next day I packed my Tent and got ready to take the Ferry back to reality but Karlsoy had other Ideas. An hour before the Ferry was due to depart the Sky opened and a Storm swamped the Island. I sought Shelter from the Storm in the Houses of the Hippies.
They welcomed me with open arms, fed me with Rice, Oats and Quinoa, played Shamanic Music for me and let me use the Computers as much as my heart desired. I spent two days and nights there (after five in Sandvika) and besides what I already mentioned, watched "Esoteric Agenda" and "Kymatica" as suggested by one of the young Shamans.
Yesterday it was time to leave. The Oracle who goes by many names had left the night before just as she had predicted days before and after breakfast at Hansnes with a fellow traveler I Biked back to Tromso. I put the seventy-five kilometers to Jan Sigmunds farm behind me as if they did not exist. The tunnel presented no challenge this time and by five pm I was there. After a hot beautiful shower Jan pressed the first of many beers into my hand and then fed me until there was room only for some Wine. I was then reunited with my beloved Laptop. We listened to Music, played some Blitz and then I slept like a baby in a warm soft bed. So what wisdom did I acquire from my spiritual journey to Karlsoy? A new appreciation of the trappings of civilization. Hot Showers, warm soft Beds, Wi-fi, Beer etc.  

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Kobalia wins Arctic Chess Challenge

Mikhail Kobalia crushed Loek Van Wely in the last round to finish on 7.5 points and share 1st place with 21 year old Manuel Leon Hoyos  winning on tiebreak.
And here is a gratuitous picture of the Women's prize winners

I ended my tournament with a rather lackluster performance against GM Normunds Miezis. After completely missing Nh4 I failed to put up any resistance. Losing your last two games with white is never good but I am not too unhappy with my result and the bright side is that it is easy to improve on the finish :-) Here is the disaster.

So tomorrow morning I am heading off to explore the sparsely inhabited Island north of Tromso. After 10 days of Luxury at the Scandic Hotel in Tromso I am again ready for the Wilderness.
Stay tuned for my Norwegian Saga Pt2

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Party pt2: Sami songs

Now some Videos of Lars singing in Sami

and finally a Duet with Igor

Party + Gm norm missed

Last night there was a great party at Jan Sigmund Berglund's farm. We gorged ourselves on Salmon, Barbecued Meats, Salads,  Wine, Beer Vodka, Strawberries and Ice Cream etc, etc. My favorite was the Salmon soup. The View was breathtaking
The Kids played Football

The older players mingled, drank and ate to their Hearts content,

and Jan Sigmund showed that he could sing as well as organize an excellent Chess tournament and party.

Here he joined Lars Andreassen on Stage. Lars plays folk music in his native Sami language. The Sami are the indigenous peoples of northern Scandinavia. So after a lot of food and drink plus some Russian songs courtesy of GM Igor Khenkin
we headed back to the Hotel for a few hours sleep. Rumor has it that some MAD Englishmen and one Norwegian Girl got up at 6am(after playing Bridge and drinking until 3am) to Climb a Mountain. I diligently prepared, got a good position out of the opening against GM Kobalia but then showed why it's better to relax and climb Mountains. Losing meant that tomorrow I cannot make a GM Norm anymore because I needed someone at least 2540 and got a 2500. That'll teach me....something? Probably not :-)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Tromso Round 7 + Boat trip + Happy Hippo

This morning started slowly. After not quite enough sleep and a quick breakfast we went to the Harbour by Bus to board the good Ship Caroline Mathilda

for a little excursion. There were many different thing to do, socialize, take in the view, prepare for the game with a few cold beers ?!

catch a Cod,

make new friends,

or just relax and enjoy the trip. As you can see the Sun came out as soon as we left port and stayed out all day

We got back half an hour before the game started and the sea air seemed to have the same effect on me as the mountain air did a few days previously and I played an entertaining game. Was it correct? You be the judge

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

I climbed to the Mountaintop

I woke up this morning to the sound of "Mr Bobby" by Manu Chao, quickly showered, had a five-minute breakfast and then it was time to catch the bus to the Cable-car which took us to a Mountain overlooking Tromso.
Then we walked another half-hour to the Summit. It was a beautiful sunny morning yet cool enough not to make it too demanding. There were thirty two of us from many different countries.

Including Australia and South Africa!
Our Guides brought Coffee and snacks supplementing the meager breakfast I had had due to sleeping too long. After another hour, give or take half an hour we headed back down past some impressive scenery.
Suddenly we spotted a Helicopter. We were all very excited and snapped one photo after another not realizing that the reason was that one of our warriors had fallen. If I am not mistaken it was Mr Christian Hess from Hamburg. He slipped and broke his leg and had to be taken to Hospital. This is his Ambulance

After such an invigorating morning it was easy to play Chess and I managed to beat Frodo Elsness. Maybe a walk in the Mountains should become part of my morning routine :-)

Monday, 2 August 2010

Last 3 Rounds of Leiden

As you can see in the last game I was more than a little lucky :)
The first third of the Arctic Chess Challenge is over and I  finally got around to posting my games. The first round was quite unevenful, the second was a disaster. After an exciting opening and middle game we got a dead drawn ending which i slowly but surely managed to lose. Today was just funny. See if you can guess blacks next move in this position.

hint: it's not a good move.
I did win the game in the end because my opponent missed the one-move refutation.

Tromso Round 3

Tromso Round 2

Tromso Round 1