Leaving the Politiks behind
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.