News & Reports Aug 11, 2014 | 2:18 PMby Tromso Olympiad 2014

Blitz on the waves

The side tournaments in blitz during the 2014 Chess Olympiad move around the city of Tromsø, for instance visiting the Art Museum of Northern Norway and the Arctic experience centre Polaria. One of the most interesting places they visit is the old ship Nordstjernen (The North Star) berthed next to the playing hall.

by Sylvia Johnsen, Woman’s FIDE Master and COT volunteer

GM Helgi Gretarsson playing blitz | photo: Sylvia Johnsen

The ship’s cafeteria served as venue for the blitz event two days running. The ship is old, but restored to its current glory during the 50s. Nordstjernen travelled the famous coastal route from Bergen way up north for half a century, and today the ship gives the impression of what it is - a living testimony of days past. Although old, the standard is tip-top; fresh, with an exclusive retro design.

Gunnar Bue is living on the water during the Olympiad | photo: Sylvia Johnsen

GM Helgi Gretarsson from Iceland, a law professor and expert in FIDE rules, took a break from committee work. He chose to use the free time to participate in the blitz tournament, and seems to enjoy the atmosphere of playing in a museum. 

Norwegian blogger Gunnar Bue shares the sentiment and loves being able to sit on the ship every day and follow the tournament. He is staying in one of the ship’s cabins during the event.

Hotels are full, and the ship offers bed and breakfast in a stylish maritime environment. Residents are in a plum location to experience the Chess Olympiad - every day players on their way to the hall entrance walk along the waterline.

Father and son Carlsen on the way to the playing hall | photo: Sylvia Johnsen

Bue has chosen to write his chess blog from Nordstjernen, and comments on the games while watching live TV from the Olympiad. Bue takes things in his stride. We caught up with him playing on last board in the blitz tournament, and it didn’t seem to worry him much. For guests living on board Nordstjernen, the biggest problem is that the ship leaves Tromsø a day before the finish, forcing chess fans to move to a hotel, or go home without getting to see the closing ceremony.

Where's the strangest place you've ever played chess?

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