Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, as Nat King Cole sang of, invariably means lots of sunshine. And if it is sunshine and chess you are looking for, then look no further than the Norwegian city of Tromsø, famed for this time of the year for having the midnight sun, not to mention more polar Northern lights, "Aurora Borealis", than anywhere else in the world.
And this weekend kicks-off yet another Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø - and already there's a big line-up of grandmasters waiting to experience what has become a "must-play" tournament now on the busy summer festival calendar. Leading the field is the likes of Loek Van Wely, Alexander Moiseenko, Mikhail Kobalia and Batosz Socko.
Also among the 180+ player International Open is the young 13-year-old Ukrainian Aleksandr Bortnik (BlackHorse96), who won his all-expenses paid invite there following his performance at the ICC Arctic Chess Challenge qualifier. Aleksandr came fourth in our online qualifier, but the other 3 GMs, regretfully, had to decline going to Tromsø due to clashes with other tournaments they had already accepted invitations to.
Qualifier tournaments such as the Arctic Chess Challenge is restricted to ICC members-only. Sign-up today to become a member by clicking here.
The Arctic Chess Challenge is a 9 round tournament running July 31st through August 8th. ICC will be covering the top 15 games live each round, with play starting each day at 8am ET (Rd. 1 10am ET with the final round at 4am ET). Also now in Tromsø to cover all the action is ICC's roving reporter Macauley Peterson, who each day will be providing us with video highlights of the tournament.
Tromsø is also now an official candidate city to host the 2014 Chess Olympiad - and just last week, the FIDE Presidential Board met there to find out for themselves what makes this one of the most attractive areas of Europe, and, more importantly, just what the area has to offer all the world's chess players should they successfully win their bid to host the Chess Olympiad there.