General Feb 8, 2021 | 5:05 PMby Sean Marsh

Knights at the Opera

Mention ‘opera’ to chess players and the majority will become misty-eyed with thoughts of Paul Morphy beating the Duke and Count. Some will even be able to quote all of the moves to the famous game; others will suddenly remember how important it is to develop their pieces as soon as possible.

The Opera Euro Rapid on chess24

A lot has happened since 1858 and recent times have not been at all good for opera. Even the long-running London version of The Phantom of the Opera was forced to close down during the current emergency. This is ironic, as for some time The Phantom was the only man in London prepared to wear a mask each evening.

However, the curtain has definitely not fallen on all forms of opera - and the Champions Chess Tour is bringing Opera to the chess players’ lexicon in a whole new way.

Opera is a famous Norwegian software company and the title partner of the Opera Euro Rapid, the current tournament of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour organized by the Play Magnus Group. Opera is also the Official Browser Partner of the Tour.

The Opera Euro Rapid line-up

Today brings the last rounds of the preliminary stage and tomorrow's Opera Euro Rapid sessions will feature a very special guest - Norwegian web pioneer Håkon Wium Lie.

Håkon Wium Lie developed CSS | photo: Kmosman/Wikipedia

According to his own website:

In English, my first name is unpronounceable, my middle name is shortened to a single letter, and my last name does not build confidence. I therefore go by the name howcome which, although grammatically dubious, is the closest pronounceable approximation.

In 1994, Håkon created Cascading Style Sheets ('CSS'), a language to describe how web pages are presented not only on screens, but also in print and, indeed, to be read out loud.

Håkon was also the Chief Technology Officer of Opera Software from 1999 all the way up until 2016, when Opera was sold to a Chinese consortium.

Spending time watching the Opera Euro Rapid games will keep Håkon away from all of his other activities for a short period of time. These activities cover a wide range of subjects from the local scene to the global stage, as we discovered on his website:

In the neighborhood, I fight senseless graffiti, tasteless advertising, and motorways on the beach. On the city level (Oslo), I fight high-rise buildings in favor of classical elegance. On a European level, I fight against software patents, and for traditional buildings. On a global level, I fight for open web standards.

As important as those issues undoubtedly are, another one is also on the agenda: 'My long term project is to build a pipe organ.'

There are plenty of articles on the rise of the Opera Web Browser here and an interview with Håkon over at the PC Mag website.

Whether your own plans include the magnificent world of the opera or are mere pipe dreams, we hope the Opera Euro Rapid tournament will keep you entertained as we head into the quarter-final stage.


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