Icelandic Chess

Why play chess?

I pose this question to Einar Dagur Brynjarsson and Gudrun Fanney Briem, who are playing chess in the Analysis Room. Both are in Group E, the group for the tournaments youngest participants, born 2009 or later. And both are from Iceland. They have not learned to speak Danish yet, so we speak in English. The language of YouTube.

Nine-year-old Gudrun has learned chess at home. Both her brothers play, as they both are in the tournament as well. Ten-year-old Einar stumbled upon it a little more coincidental. He plays soccer, and some day, as he after practice was waiting to be picked up, he saw somebody he knew enter a building. He followed, and met some people who played chess, and then he was hooked. Apart from him, no one in his family plays chess.

Why is chess fun, then?

Well, Einar says, the best thing is that it is so calm. He still plays soccer, there is so much action, and he therefore enjoys after practice and playing games to relax with chess. Gudrun is very fond of that it is a thinking-sport. The best thing is when she has classes with the girls group in the chess club. There the single student receives more attention. She likes that.

Have they done well in the tournament?

As we speak they have just played round four. Gudrun has won twice – she is okay satisfied. Einar has only one point. One win. He is not quite satisfied. “I should have won more”, he says. That’s one way to put it. Many participants of the tournament probably agrees. As long you can still relax with chess, though, I think it is pretty much okay.