Six on 4/4 in Tromsø

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Six on 4/5 in TromsøIvan Ivanisevic, Bartosz Socko, Loek van Wely, Chanda Sandipan, Emanuel Berg and Levon Babujian are currently sharing the lead at the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø. These six grandmasters won their first four games. Report with videos.

The playing hall in Tromsø | Photo Bjørn Berg Johansen, more photos here.

The 5th Arctic Chess Challenge is a nine round Swiss played from July 31st to August 8th. There are 164 players, including 25 Grandmasters competing for a 13,850 Euro prize fund. Favourites in Tromsø include Loek van Wely (NED, 2677), Alexander Moiseenko (UKR, 2667), Mikhail Kobalia (RUS, 2648), Bartosz Socko (POL, 2646) and Chanda Sandipan (IND, 2637). The rate of play is 2 hours for 40 moves plus 1 hour for the rest of the game.

Among the players is 13-year-old Ukrainian Aleksandr Bortnik (BlackHorse96), who won his all-expenses paid invitation following his performance at the ICC Arctic Chess Challenge qualifier. Aleksandr came fourth in the online qualifier, but the top 3 GMs, regretfully, had to decline the trip to Tromsø. The winner, GM Dmitry Andreikin, couldn't play as he is going from Biel to represent Russia in the World Junior Championship, the second-placed Indian GM Rajaram Laxman couldn't get time off his work, and GM Alexandr Fier couldn't turn down an invite to a closed invitational in Argentina.

Tromsø is also now an official candidate city to host the 2014 Chess Olympiad, and the FIDE Presidential Board recently met there to find out for themselves what makes this one of the most attractive areas of Europe, and, more importantly, just what the area has to offer all the world's chess players should they successfully win their bid to host the Chess Olympiad. A decision is expected in early October.

A city of 67,000, Tromsø is situated well north of the Arctic Circle of latitude, and although the days of the "midnight sun" have passed, sunlight from below the horizon still pervades the sky through the night.




The field is the largest in the tournament's five year history, with many players returning from past years. The atmosphere is festive with numerous side events and excursions, hampered only slightly by an unusual spate of clouds and light rain thus far.

Macauley Peterson, who provided the above information, is in the arctic wrangling polar bears, and providing video snapshots from the Arctic Chess Challenge. These videos are going on the tournament website's Videos page, but also appear on www.ChessClub.com and are available for cross-posting under the Creative Commons license (BY-NC-ND).



After four of nine rounds, Ivan Ivanisevic, Bartosz Socko, Loek van Wely, Chanda Sandipan, Emanuel Berg and Levon Babujian are sharing the lead in Tromsø with four points. No doubt today an interesting round will be seen (live here), with these players meeting each other: Berg-Van Wely, Socko-Babujian and Ivanisevic-Sandipan. Especially board one could become very interesting, as Swedish GM Emanuel Berg rarely avoids sharp mainlines such as Van Wely's Najdorf! (Although in this tournament he seems to prefer 1.d4 over 1.e4...)

Arctic Chess Challange 2010 | Round 4 Standings
Arctic Chess Challange 2010 | Round 5 Standings


Selection of games rounds 1-4



Game viewer by ChessTempo


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