It's not like me to write about chess politics (i.e. my last post), but I'm sure I'll have no choice at the Olympiad next week. Not to mention Australian politics; these days, it's hard for me to read the politics section of The Australian without a shudder and a groan or two. So it's nice to have a little respite before the FIDE elections begin. I'm in Helsingor, a cozy seaside town in Denmark, for the Politiken Cup. (And therein lies the headline pun. Okay, I was really reaching this time.)
Usually, being a part-time chess tourist, I like to play different tournaments in different places. So the Australian Olympiad team was a little surprised when I suggested they join me in Denmark for my second visit at this event, as a warm-up for Tromso. And a couple of my other friends have asked me what's so great about the tournament. Well, without going into too many details or hyperbole, let me outline a typical day here in Helsingor.
8.00: Wake up; the sun is shining and it's already a charming 25 degrees. Sneak in a quick gym session (on site), then breakfast outside in the garden, overlooking the ocean.
9.30: Chess preparation (naturally).
11.30: Duck off through the woods to the beach for a dip in the (surprisingly warm) ocean.
12.30: The lunch here - I'm not exaggerating - is by far the best food I've ever eaten at a chess tournament. The seafood, in particular, is astonishing.
13.00: The round begins. One round a day is a must in a place like this!
17.30: Soccer - again, on-site. Last night was "GMs versus the rest." No prizes for guessing the result.
19.00: Dinner is also outside; the sun stays up for a ridiculously long time in the Scandinavian summer.
20.30: Normally, show-and-tell of our games in the bar; a few games of pool (free, and also on-site). Otherwise, a variety of social chess events are sometimes on offer, such as knockout blitz, pairs blitz or a problem-solving competition.
23.00: Sleeping as the sun sets, as nature intended.
Tough life. The only downside is that I'm far too relaxed to play quality chess. I've had a rubbish tournament so far, but thanks to some very favourable pairings, I find myself in a position to challenge for the top spots. Still, I can't see my luck holding up. I did have one nice finish to a game, however, which will be the only chess contribution from this post. Enjoy.