You shared first place in Tepe Sigeman Chess Tournament last year. How do you rank that achievement?
”Obviously winning a strong round robin is always very pleasing, especially in Malmö. However, it would have been even nicer had there been more rounds.”
Describe the atmosphere in the tournament last year. The pictures of you and the other participants looked like you were a big happy family.
”I’ve played in all editions since 2009 and I must say that every one of them have been most excellent socially. Somehow the atmosphere is always friendly and relaxed, which however doesn’t stop us from trying to win at the board.”
This season you changed teams in the Swedish Chess League. How was it like and how did it go?
”I changed from friendly Eksjö SK to the much more ambitious Malmö AS. So far it’s been a great experience, with a lot of inspiration, something which is also reflected in our results.”
The last 3-4 years, you have been Sweden’s no. 1. Your rating is now steadily around 2650. Have you changed your training methods since the last Tepe Sigeman Chess Tournament?
”In general, I have tried taking a broader perspective on all aspects of chess. There is a great difference between knowing a lot about chess and playing well; something I previously didn’t appreciate enough.”
After Tepe Sigeman, what’s on your chess calendar in 2018?
”Swedish Championship and XtraCon Chess Open in July, and then the next big one is of course the Olympiad in Batumi!”
Do you and Ellen try to play same tournaments?
”Well, Ellen is a university student and I am a professional chess player, so it isn’t too often we manage. But we try, and luckily, every year we play a few tournaments together.”
What was your favourite chess opening when you were twelve years old?
“With white – the Trompovsky. With black – Alekhine Defense.”
And your preferred chess opening nowadays?
“Anything non-standard and complicated!”
What’s your best tip to more easily fall asleep at nights during a chess tournament?
“Physical exercise of any sort helps greatly.”
Do you have any superstitions when you sit down at the chess board before a tournament game?
“Unfortunately not. I kind of just play.”
Who was your first chess trainer?
“At my local club as a kid – Claes-Peter Haväng and Roland Thapper. I’m not too sure how much they helped chesswise, but they inspired me a lot.”
How much chess do you study an average day?
“It really depends on a lot of factors, but normally around 30-35 hours a week when I’m at home.”
Who is your best chess fan?
“My girlfriend Ellen!”
When you think of Sweden, which three things pop up first in your mind?
“My home, the TePe Sigeman tournament and kebab pizza.”
Interview by Ingemar Falk