A Norwegian Adventure

GM Shankland
Apr 20, 2014, 5:08 AM |

I just finished the Fagernes International with 7.0/9 and a performance rating of 2770, definitely my best result yet. Remarkably, it was not even enough for first as there was a huge swing in the final round where the other critical game went from +4 to -4 in one move:

I would win the tournament with a white win or a draw in this game. Here, black's last move, Qd4-d3?? loses the game instantly to the pretty tactic Rcxf6! gxf6 Qc6! and all of a sudden black is checkmated. In addition to this crushing tactic white has plenty of moves that maintain equality, but instead he found Rxb4??, after which Qf3 Qg1 Ne4 leads to checkmate in the other direction, and relegating me to second place.


While it is unfortunate, it is nobody's fault but my own. I think chessplayers have a responsibility to fight, no matter what the circumstances are, and I did not follow this principle when faced with an awkward pairing in the final round:


Rather a shame to play my training partner in the final round, not to mention it being played at 9am and not leaving us time to prepare something that we have not looked at together before (which is just about everything). Still, a better strategy for the final round would have been the one I took the last time I played with Jon Ludvig:

If I had played with more fire in my heart against my longest time training partner in the chess world and managed to win (which is a big assumption), I'd have won the tournament. Caissa punished me for not trying, probably justifiably. Such is life. Second place still got me a decent paycheck, and 18 rating points is a massive gain from one event (taking me to an all-time peak of 2634). I also played some very interesting games. The one I liked the most was also the poorest quality, it looked very flashy and fun but please don't run it with an engine because it will explode from frustration after seeing so many poor moves:

Most of my games were well played, but this one was not, and it included the only moments I was in danger of losing during the whole event. However, it was a lot of fun and a real fight that gave me a large adrenaline rush. On the whole my first trip to Norway was a great success, and I hope to be back soon for the Olympiad!

Best of luck to all,

GM Sam Shankland