Gawain is now in Tromsø,Norway competing in the World Cup. Now what kind of tournament is it? A 128 player knock out with a schedule of 2 long play games then a rapid tie break. before commencing to Round 2 e.t.c – Why play in such a tournament? Well it qualifies you for the Candidates and if you then win the Candidates you then head into the World Championship as Boris Gelfand did. There is one other Englishman participating this year, England Number 1 Mickey Adams who had a fantastic tournament in Dortmund.
Norway has had a huge boom in chess of course thanks to World Number 1, Magnus Carlsen. So many Norwegian juniors are up and coming and they are so talented and scary to play. I’ve never been to Norway but have heard horror stories about the cost of everything there. Expect to pay around 90Kr for a Big Mac meal which is nearly £10! Fingers crossed I can drop by Tromsø this weekend depending on Gawain’s results or else I’ll have him home.
Gawain is seeded 72 in this tournament so just in the bottom half and here’s his journey assuming he wins his games and all the top seeds also win their games.
Mickey on the other hand is seeded 14th and his draw is slightly “easier” to start though I don’t know how you differenciate high 2600s and 2700s.
Both are on opposites side of the draws so imagine an England vs England final! In this kind of tournament I do think luck is involved. How much, I’m not sure but quite a bit.
The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move from move one. The tiebreaks start with two games of 25 minutes for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move. If the score is 1-1, another mini-match of two games will be played with a time control of 10 minutes plus 10 seconds increment after each move. If the score is 2-2, another mini-match of two games will be played with a time control of 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment after each move. If the score is 3-3, an Armageddon game will decide with 5 minutes for White and 4 minutes for Black who has draw odds. (In this game, from move 61 there will be a 3-second increment).
I’ve spoken to Gawain briefly daily on skype but the connection is slow and a bit dodgy. The players are staying near the airport and I believe the playing area is somewhere in the hotel. Gawain said that it gets dark about 10pm and light at 3am but overall he’s getting enough sleep. The center of town is a few kilometeres away and the World Cup is a run up before Tromsø 2014 where this small town will be flooded with chess players.