It was clear that around time trouble there was a very tense atmosphere. Everyone knew there was something big happening. And sure enough, though Hauge and Tari were the most important actors for me. Others went to a congress, supposedly. Which was even more tense, supposedly. For me there is only one thing at this tournament and that’s the chess. I like putting chess first, it has taught a lot of life skills to a lot of young people. In that sense chess is a great addition to a world where hardly anyone is able to focus for longer than 30 seconds without looking at some sort of screen. Normal people cannot even imagine people being able to focus for such a time.
This is the reason why the NM is such a great tradition, so many chess fans from all around Norway finding each other to play a game that is worth mentioning. I am from a small country with three times as many people, and our Dutch championships have just the same amount of participants. Can you imagine, the longest Dutch train ride does not take longer than four hours! This means, that getting nearly 600 participants here is a huge achievement for Norway especially from an international perspective. I hope Norwegian chess will stay this way, congresses will not matter. Intentions of countless volunteers matter.
So chess first. In the Elite group the main game to watch was Hauge – Tari. Hauge managed to surprise his opponent with 1.f4, resulting in a wild game where both sides have had good chances for a full point. We love to see fighting chess, and I am sure Hammer likes it as well as he tried to win against Elsness’ Berlin wall. Sometimes the drawing margin of a position is too big. A win was on the table for Kjetil Lie, who started the tournament a little slow, missing a win in the first game and saving energy in the second. Lie also played an early surprise against Risting. This might make the surprise the best weapon this tournament up to now. You can check the analysis of the games of Lie and Tari below.
Again I would like to praise the Junior group for their fighting spirit, it gives us great games. The Junior group has a group of three leaders with two points. I have analysed the game of one of the leaders: Sebastian-Bruaset which was nearly flawless from the White side. A magnificent performance of you ask me, taking the initiative right out of the opening and not letting his poor opponent Bruaset off the hook for a single moment.
The last game which you should not miss is Andersen – A. Fossan: An English opening, where positional manoeuvering suddenly leads to incredible tactics where a move, gaining thirteen pawns in one move, was not the best move! Andersen stayed in the lead after two rounds in the Mester group.