Norwegian Open – The Arrival Round 1&2

We ended up home around 2.30am from the simul at the RAC club. Luckily Sue had thought ahead (as always) and packed for me so I could curl up and get a quick couple hours sleep before getting up at 4.30 to start my trek over to Norway. Actually the trip was quite painless (except for the lack of sleep) and arrived at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport at around 11. I had to wait until 12.45 for my lift and initially couldn’t find them but after a couple of calls from Øystein I was on the minibus.

Fagernes is about 190km from Oslo. It was a pleasant drive passing lots of lakes, waterfalls and mountains (when I wasn’t sleeping!) but it was hardly a motorway and so took a few hours. We eventually arrived at 4.30pm so I just had time to check in and have a shower before the first round at 5.30. I was rather worried about the game as I’d had such little sleep but luckily it went down a line of the Kings Indian which I have some experience in. I played respectably and managed to exploit his lacklustre play and was on the scoreboard.


Round two however, didn’t go to plan. I was White against a Norwegian FM called Kovachev. I played the Scotch but he surprised me with a critical line which I hadn’t looked at in the morning. I hadn’t looked at it since the London Classic in December and couldn’t remember the theory. I came up with something at the board but it wasn’t good enough and he got a strong initiative. I felt I defended quite well, sacrificing a couple of pawns to start an attack of my own but he declined the second pawn to keep control of the position. I made a further mistake and had to resort to trying to win on time but he made the time control with four seconds to spare. A shame but these things happen and I can’t begrudge my opponent who played an excellent game. Tomorrow’s a double round day so hopefully I can bounce back.

This evening I went for a walk with the other English participant, Matthew Webb who I met for the first time in Aix-les-bains at the European Championships last month. We explored the area and noticed a folk museum sign. The museum looked just like a small library building but behind was a huge group of wooden huts and houses. We walked for a while and thought we were heading back to the hotel although a sense of direction is clearly not our strong point as an hour later we were still on the move. We started to get a bit concerned as the day grew darker and the ground started to rise. Another 15 minutes on and through a gap in the trees we saw our hotel on the opposite side of the lake, seemingly miles away.


At this point we tried to work out what had happened. It transpires that there are two lakes next to each other and we were following the wrong lake back! We managed to get back to the hotel before darkness fell anyway and it was a good way to relax after a disappointing loss. I hope to report to you all happier events tomorrow. Until then, stay tuned!