BNbank Blitz 2010
Hikaru Nakamura to defend the last year’s trophy

On Saturday 27th November, the final of BNbank Blitz will be played at Oslo Central Train Station. 12 players will compete, among which are five invited professionals, six qualifiers from the regional tournaments and one seat was auctioned on the Internet.

Chessdom / Chessbomb platform will be the official game broadcast system. The event starts at 12:00 CET.

Invited players

Hikaru Nakamura – The king of swift decision-making at the chess board, Hikaru Nakamura is the man to beat in BNbank Blitz. Last year he defeated world number one Magnus Carlsen in the final match, and “Naka” is definitely looking for a second straight win in Oslo.

The Japan-born grandmaster is the top rated player in the US, well ahead of former world championship finalist Gata Kamsky. Nakamura is a two time winner of the prestigious US Championship, having won the title in 2005 and 2009.

Nakamura is popular because of his aggressive style of play, and some very unusual opening choices. Blitz is known to be his specialty, which makes him particularly dangerous in BNbank Blitz. In December, he will face off with Magnus Carlsen in the London Chess Classic. BNbank Blitz could be the perfect warm-up for the bold American.

Kateryna Lahno – The 2010 Women’s Blitz World Champion is looking for a new spectacular success in Oslo. The Ukrainian prodigy is currently the world number seven on the women’s ranking list, and is set to achieve great things in the coming years.

Born the year before her compatriot Sergey Karjakin and Norway’s miracle kid Magnus Carlsen, Kateryna Lahno was one of the really hot names of chess some 6-7 years ago. Her climb towards the top of women’s chess has been steady – and fast.

Kateryna Oleksandrivna Lahno achieved the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM) at the tender age of 12 years, breaking the record of the legendary Judit Polgar. Three years later, she won the European Women’s Championship, ahead of scores of experienced masters. In 2008, she won the European championship for the second time, an astonishing achievement for such a young player.

Jovanka Houska – International Master from England, ELO 2421. 30 years old. A former European Junior Champion and a seasoned professional, Jovanka Houska is looking for at least a place in the semifinals in her BNbank Blitz debut.

Simen Agdestein – For a long time, “chess player” was synonymous with “Simen Agdestein” for the average Norwegian. This changed when Magnus Carlsen burst into the spotlight, but Simen Agdestein is still a great profile in Norwegian chess. And not without reason. Apart from Magnus, Simen’s results are head and shoulders above the rest of the Norwegians. Note the use of first names in the previous sentence. These two are the only Norwegian chess players who are addressed in this way, the definite sign of their status.

In 1985, Simen became Norway’s first grandmaster, and the world’s youngest grandmaster ever at that time – an amazing achievement. In June 1989 he was ranked as number 16 in the world. He won his first Norwegian championship in 1982, 15 years old. His seventh and last championship to date came in 2005, when he defeated 14-year-old Magnus Carlsen and thus retained his record as the youngest champion ever. His results also include three Nordic championships.

Kjetil Aleksander Lie – Kjetil A. Lie was always among the top players in his age group at the national level, but it was certainly no sure thing that he would attain the grandmaster title. In January 2000 his rating was barely over 2200 – nothing spectacular for a 19-year-old. Half a year later, things looked quite a bit different. His rating had shot up by 150 points, and it was clear that he would soon play for the national team. There have not been any more 150-point leaps, but his rating has increased a bit every year. The 2400 mark was passed in 2002; the 2500 mark in 2005.

Among Lie’s best results is runner-up in the Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø 2007, with a performance rating of 2675. Lie also became a Norwegian hero during the 2008 Olympiad, when he won against world class GM Bu Xiangzhi as Norway sensationally defeated China. In later year’s Lie has not played very much, instead focusing on his work, family and friends in the small Norwegian city of Porsgrunn. When he does play, the result is usually very good.

By his own admission Kjetil Lie is a fierce competitor, who is always looking to win. That quality ensures that he is always an interesting player to follow, and that his opponents will have to be at their very best if they are to avoid defeat.

Qualified players

Abdulla M. Muhsen, Bergen (2185)
Anders Olsen, Kristiansund (2076)
FM Daniel J. Kovachev, Oslo (2305)
Anders Hobber, Porsgrunn (2157)
IM Vadims Daskevics, Stavanger (2463)
Jon Kristian Røyset, Tromsø (2180)

More information on the official website

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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