Diary from the Tromsø Chess Olympiad 2014 – Day 1

(Not sure how to make the diagrams working. Hopefully Jesse will fix them!)

I am this year playing for Denmark for the third time, following the European Team Championship 2011 and the 2012 Olympiad in Istanbul. I also played for Scotland in Turin 2006 and Dresden 2008.

Tromsø is a small town with roughly 60,000 inhabitants quite far north. I plan to use google to work out just how far. It is very beautiful and the view from the plane (when we got under the clouds) blew my gluey eye-lids apart. I am sure google will find better pictures than I can offer, so I will stay with a personal experience.

The hotel room is ok. I am quite happy to share with Nikos, as the single rooms remind a bit of KGB interrogation cells. We have a view and sunlight. Lots of it! 24 hours a night. I bought those girly plane-glasses to keep out the light and it worked. But like a nutcase I had my phone wake me up at 7am, which is the time I had to get up to take the family to watch the hockey at the Commonwealth Games last Saturday.

Food at the Radisson Hotel was ok. As I try not to eat a lot of animal products I am often nervous about commercial food, but I have to say that rice, salad and beans suits me just fine. I hope the opponents do not have an overdeveloped sense of smell!

The Danish Team this time is suffering from absences. GM Peter Heine Nielsen has not played for quite a number of years by now and GM Sune Berg Hansen was too busy with his start-up Den Nye Spritfabrik to participate. For this reason our team looks like this:

1. Davor Palo
2. Allan Stig Rasmussen
3. Jacob Aagaard
4. Jakob Vang Glud
5. Mads Andersen

GMs on board 1-3, while Jakob will get his title awarded during the event and Mads hopefully make his final norm here. Far from the strongest Danish team in history, but we might still be able to play a lot of interesting chess.

Veteran GM Lars Schandorff is our coach and Nikolaos Ntirlis from Greece (Nikos) is our opening specialist, chained to the sofa in his hotel room with two wires from his brain to Houdini and Stockfish.

Round 1

Getting into the playing hall was slow. Once we were inside it was fine. I liked Istanbul slightly better, but no complaints. More toilets was a nice thing to see!

Both the Danish Teams were to play Palestine. As the coach of the Danish Women’s Team, Thomas Schou-Moldt will write extensively about them on Facebook, I shall only analyse the games from the Open section.

In our match Mads Andersen won very quickly on board 4. I won a simple game with only one surprise for me when I came back to check it with the computer. I have to admit I did not consider taking on d3 on move 17; nor 18.Nd4 for him.

Baha Miswadah – Jacob Aagaard

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nxc6 dxc6 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.Nc3

7.0–0 e5 8.Nd2 appears more natural, but Black is fine.

7…e5 8.h3

During the game I was mainly wondering what would happen after 8.0–0 Be7 9.Kh1 0–0 10.b3 Nd7 (10…Be6 11.f4 exf4 12.Bxf4 Nd7 13.e5 Nc5 looks more solid now.) 11.f4 exf4 12.Bxf4 Bf6 . Only when he went another way did I see 13.e5! Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Bxh7+ Kxh7 16.Qh5+ Kg8 17.Qxe5 and White is better.

8…Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.a3 Be6 11.Be3 Qc7 12.Rb1 Nd7 13.b4 a5 14.Ne2 c5 15.c3 Rfd8 16.Qc1 Nb6 17.bxc5

On 17.Rd1 I had planned 17…Ba2! 18.Rb2 Bc4! with an edge.


17…Rxd3! 18.cxb6 Qc4 was much stronger. I did not look at taking the bishop at all. Another point is 18.Rxb6 Rxe3!.


The computer gives 18.Nd4! exd4 19.cxd4 which gives White compensation. Maybe I should play 19…Nxc5 20.Be2 b6 21.dxc5 Bxc5 22.Bxc5 bxc5 and White still have a few practical problems.

18…Nxc5 19.Bxc5?

19.Qc2!? and things are not so bad. 19…a4 20.c4! was not fully on my radar as ok for White.

19…Bxc5 20.a4 Qe7! 21.Qc2

21.Rd1 Qh4 and wins illustrates White’s problems.


I like double threats.

22.Kh1 Rd2 23.f4

Here I spent some time contemplating which advantage I liked best. I went for the least complicated, once I was sure it was sufficient.

23…Rxc2 23…Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rxc2 25.f5 Ba2 is the computer’s favourite. I just felt it was a bit unnecessary.

23…Qd8 24.Qc1 Be3 25.Qe1 Bxf4 26.Nxf4 exf4 27.Rxf4 Rc8 is better, but so far nothing is won.

24.fxg5 Be3 25.Rfd1?!

25.h4 Bg4 26.Ng1 Rxc3 also wins, but maybe with a few more problems.


The rest of the game is just about keeping everything under control.

26.Bd3 Ra2 27.Bb5 g6 28.Ng1 Rc8 29.Nf3 Bf4 30.Ng1 Rxc3 31.Ne2 Rcc2 32.Nxf4 exf4 33.Bf1 Rcb2 34.Kg1 Rxb1 35.Rxb1 Rxa4 36.Rxb7 Rxe4 37.Ra7 a4 38.Bb5 Bb3 39.Kf2 Rb4 40.Be8 Kf8 41.Ra8 Kg7 42.Bc6 Rc4 43.Bb5 Rc2+ 44.Kf3 Bd5+ 0–1

Allan was struggling on board one, having blown a big position after the opening. He lost a pawn and his position was a bit uncomfortable. But Allan is a sportsman the same way as Carlsen of Norway. He just keeps on playing. And eventually a minor piece ending with compensation for the pawn arose. Move by move the opponent was outplayed.

Finally there was Jakob’s game. He outplayed his opponent in the opening, but then missed the somewhat complex win. Later on his opponent trapped his own knight and all Jakob had to do was to pick it up. How this was done was possible to see, but required a bit of concentration. I am not sure if Jakob was short of time (the clock faced away from me), but I know that 43 seconds was not enough to find the win! In the end his opponent insisted on losing the game and we got off to the favoured 4-0 victory!

Jakob Vang Glud – Attallah Tamra

1.c4 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.a3 Nf6 6.Rb1 a5 7.e3 e5 8.Nge2 d6 9.0–0 0–0 10.d3 Be6 11.Nd5 Rb8 12.Nec3 Bxd5?! 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.Bxd5 Ne7 15.Bg2 d5 16.cxd5 Nxd5 17.Qb3 Ne7 18.Bd2 b6 19.Rfd1 Qd7 20.Be1 Rfd8 21.Rbc1 Qf5 22.Qb5 Qe6 23.b4 Qb3

The first critical moment of the game. Jakob misses a rather nice option.


24.Rb1! Qxa3 25.bxa5 bxa5 26.Bb7!! was winning. For example: 26…a4 27.Ba5 Rf8 28.Qc4 Nf5 29.Bc7 Rbe8 30.Rdc1 and so on.

24…Qxc4 25.Rxc4

25.dxc4! was more dangerous, but Black is already holding, I fear.

25…axb4 26.axb4 cxb4 27.Bxb4 Nd5 28.Be1 Bf8 29.Rb1 b5 30.Rc2 b4 31.Kf1 Nb6?!

The start of a poor plan. Something like 31…Rd7! made more sense. But Black tries to force a draw, feeling uncomfortable just sitting still.

32.Ke2 Na4 33.Rc4 Nc5?

The actual losing mistake.

33…Nb6 34.Rc6 Nd5 and Black should still hold without problems.

34.Rbxb4! Rxb4 35.Bxb4 Nxd3 36.Bxf8 Kxf8 37.Be4 Nb2 38.Rb4 Nd1 39.Rb3 f5

With lots of time on his clock Jakob bashed out the next move in 43 seconds. A clear sign that he is not yet in the groove.


I was considering if the ending after 40.Bd3 e4 41.Kxd1 exd3 42.Kd2 gives White real winning chances. My guess is “probably yes”.

40.Bg2!! however was the winning move. After Ke1, Bf1–e2 wins the knight. This was actually Jakob’s plan it turned out, he just assumed he could put the bishop wherever he wanted!

40…Rc8 41.Bb7 Nc3+ 42.Kd2 Rc7 43.Ba8 Na4 44.h4 Nc5 45.Rb8+ Kg7 46.f3 Ra7 47.Kc3 Rc7 48.Kd2 h6 49.Ke2 Nd7 50.Rb5 Kf6 51.Ra5 Nc5 52.Bd5 Kg7 53.Ra8 Nd7 54.Ra6 Nf6 55.Bc6 Re7 56.e4 fxe4 57.fxe4 g5 58.Ke3 gxh4 59.gxh4 Nh5 60.Bd5 Nf4 61.Ra8 Ng2+ 62.Kf3 Nxh4+ 63.Kg4 Ng2 64.Ra3 Nf4 65.Kf5

White has nothing but illusions left – but luckily also an audience for them!


Creating problems out of nowhere. 66.exd5 Kf7 67.d6


67…Rd7 68.Kxe5 is unpleasant, but Black holds objectively after both 68…Rd8 and 68…Rb7 69.Rc3 Rb1 and the draw is obvious if you know only a bit about rook endings. The key comparison to the game is that Black needs to lose the e5-pawn to draw!

68.Rc3! Rb6 69.Rc7+ Ke8 70.Ke6 Kd8 71.Ra7 Kc8 72.Ke7 Kb8 73.Ra4 1–0

I am not promising to publish daily!

5 thoughts on “Diary from the Tromsø Chess Olympiad 2014 – Day 1”

  1. Jacob

    Many thanks for this, it is very much appreciated. Slightly tougher draw tomorrow!

    It is interesting to hear your feedback on the venue as it is being reported on the russian site “Chess-News” as very poor, especially the toilets situation. This may be because the facilities laid on for journalists appear to be non-existent.

  2. @Matt
    The toilets seems much better than 2012, where they were very poor. The food is fine, even for someone preferring a vegan diet like myself. If you hate fish and vegetables, you will survive, but the choice is less broad.

    Getting into the hall was not great, but tomorrow I assume this will be better (150 meter long queue). Overall I think it is fine. It is better to be in the centre of a nice town than at Istanbul Airport…

  3. Congratulations on the 4-0 start!

    Strangely, instead of the embedded game diagrams, I see just big purple squares. (Safari and Chrome, on a Mac.)

  4. Thanks for the games and commentary.
    Congratulations with the victory.
    I will look every day, greetings, Bab

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