Chess Grandmaster Honorary Citizen of Reykjavík

January 29, 2015 11:02
Updated: January 29, 2015 11:15

Friðrik Ólafsson, Iceland’s first grandmaster in chess, was given the title Honorary Citizen of Reykjavík at a ceremony in Höfði yesterday. Friðrik, who celebrated his 80th birthday on January 26, was made an honorary member of FIDE (the World Chess Federation) at the same occasion.

With the title, Reykjavík City Council would like to thank Friðrik for his achievement in the chess, which is popular in Iceland. No one is considered to have had a bigger impact on the development of chess in Iceland than Friðrik, a press release states.

“Chess fascinated me. I became obsessed and couldn’t escape so [my career path] was a given,” Friðrik told RÚV after yesterday’s ceremony. At the same time, the Icelandic Chess Federation established a fund in his name to encourage young chess players.

“Because I have a relationship with chess, I’m very touched that my life’s work is considered to be this important,” the grandmaster added. “In my youth … I often walked past this house [Höfði] and I never dreamt that one day I would sit here and be given this title.”

Born in 1935, Friðrik became Icelandic champion in chess at only 17 and Nordic champion the following year. In 1958 he became the first Icelandic grandmaster in chess and earned international recognition as a chess player.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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