Before the Match
In addition to preparations, I’ve played the Chess Olympiad in Baku in early September and an online match against Nakamura last week since the last blog.
The Chess Olympiad for national teams ended with a remarkable 5th place for our young Norwegian squad. The more remarkable, as the team overall lost rating. I was not particularly energetic, and second board Hammer had a lackluster event. Young Frode and Aryan on the lower boards did well. But most importantly, for once we had a reasonable good finish.
With the US and Ukraine at an impressive 20/22 points and Russia at 18, we were not really in contention for a medal after the loss against US in round 9. Having won the previous rounds, as well as the penultimate round (10) 3.5-0.5 against the young and very promising Iranian team, and the drawn match against 4th place India, the second half of the Olympiad was indeed something the whole team can be very proud of. No, we did not play Russia, so I did not play my World Championship opponent Karjakin in Baku.
With 5 wins and 5 draws I cannot really complain, and a couple of the games went quite smoothly. As black against D. Solak, Turkey, I took some risk against a decent opponent and found a good way to develop my position. Everything fell into place. The way it worked out if might have looked deceptively easy.
The team spirit was quite good. Most chess players are individualists, and I’m certainly not an exception. Still, there is something both motivating and comforting being part of a team, sharing ups and downs. Maybe that is also why I’ve enjoyed the cooperation with my trusted long time first main sponsors Simonsen Vogt Wiig and Arctic Securities so much. This autumn we have worked together for 7 years and still counting. Thank you!
I’ll revert with some more on the Nakamura online match later this week.