Team competition

| Sjakkbloggen
| Oslo, Norway

Apart from the official FIDE national team championships (biannual Olympiad, World and continental team championships), there are not many team competitions at high level. Today the Norway Gnomes won our match in the new chess.com PRO league team competition. It is amazing that nobody has come up with this concept earlier. Each must present a team with maximum average rating 2500, but to attract the elite the 2700+ players count as 2700. Mission accomplished in that several top players are participating. We play 4 games of rapid chess (15 minutes + 2 sec increments) online every Wednesday. After a difficult start, we managed to scrape by from the initial group stage, and today won our first match in the playoffs. My own play has varied in the initial games while today I’m reasonably satisfied making only a very limited number of blunders and scoring 4/4.

The League has been a good source of practical chess training in February (besides playing games against myself on the Play Magnus app :))

In the Tata Steel tournament in January I came second in the end with 8/13. The result was no catastrophe but my play left a lot to be desired, especially in the second half. It was not what I had envisioned. My plan for 2017 remains the same; I want to significantly improve my play compared to 2016.

Wesley So was still within reach for three of us before the last round. However, Aronian and Wei Yi both lost and shared third with Adhiban, while So benefited from a huge blunder from Ian Nepomniachtchi and won easily with black to take clear first with 9 points. Wesley has had a terrific halfyear. Congratuations!

As usual the organizer put together a great event continuing the cooperation with host cities (Rotterdam and Harlem this year). I hope to be back next year!

After Tata Steel I played two simultaneous displays in Oslo, and two weeks from now I’ll fly to Nice for main sponsor Simonsen Vogt Wiig. After that focus will be on the next elite events. I’m trying to do some cross country skiing in Norway as usual in February and March and hope to be really energetic in next main event Grenke Chess Classic in the middle of April.