The Wildcard


Round 3 of the Altibox Norway Chess Qualifier at Fagernes is about to start. The players compete for the 10th and final spot of the Altibox Norway Chess super tournament in April, 18-30, in Stavanger. Who will it be?

The Altibox Norway Chess tournament aims to be one of the top three strongest chess tournaments in the world at all times. In order to achieve this ambitious goal the tournament has to have the top rated players in the world competing together. We have, however, from the beginning had a twist to the composition of players. In order to create something new and different and to add some additional excitement to the super tournament, the 10th player of the tournament is each year a wildcard player. The wildcard gives an opportunity to a chess player that is not in the top 20 on the FIDE live rating list to meet some of the strongest chess players in the world.

In 2013, the first year we arranged the super tournament, the final spot was given to the Norwegian GM, Jon Ludvig Hammer. The following years the wildcard has been chosen through a qualifier tournament. In 2014 Hammer and GM Simen Agdestein, today ranked 2610 by FIDE and is the third strongest chess players in Norway, played against each other in a qualifier. Agdestein won and got to play in the Norway Chess tournament. Last year the final spot in the super tournament again went to GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, who qualified for the spot through the EnterCard Chess Qualifier in Oslo. The Qualifier then had six players, which included Agdestein, as well as GM Nils Grandelius and IM Aryan Tari (see below), and GM Laurent Fressinet (France) and GM Curt Hansen (Denmark).

This year we have invited four very promising chess players to play in the Altibox Norway Chess Qualifier Tournament, which is organized as part of the TV 2 Fagernes International (20-27 March). The players are GM Jon Ludvig Hammer from Norway, which as mentioned above has taken part in the Altibox Norway Chess tournament twice before. Hammer has since 2009 been the second strongest Norwegian chess player after Magnus Carlsen. This year he passed the prestigious 2700 level. GM Hou Yifan from China, is the current Women’s World Chess champion. Yifan became a grandmaster at age 14 in 2008, and is (still) the youngest female player to earn that title. If Yifan wins the Qualifier she will be the first female player in the Altibox Norway Chess super tournament. GM Nils Grandelius became a grandmaster in 2010, and is today the highest ranked chess player in Sweden. IM Aryan Tari is currently the fourth highest ranked chess player in Norway, and is considered a very promising chess player in Norway. At age 16 he is also the youngest player in the Qualifier tournament.

The players rankings are as follows:

GM Jon Ludvig Hammer – 2701  (Norway)

GM Hou Yifan – 2667 (China)

GM Nils Grandelius – 2646 (Sweden)

IM Aryan Tari – 2553  (Norway)

The set and the pairings of the tournament are as follows:

Classical games:

Round 1: Wednesday 23 March at 14:30: Tari – Hou Yifan, Hammer – Grandelius

Round 2: Thursday 24 March at 14:30: Tari – Hammer, Hou Yifan – Grandelius

Round 3: Friday 25 March at 14:30: Grandelius – Tari, Hammer – Hou Yifan

Rapid games:

Round 4: Saturday 26 March at 11:00: Hou Yifan – Tari,  Grandelius – Hammer

Round 5: Saturday 26 March at 14:00: Hammer – Tari, Grandelius – Hou Yifan

Round 6: Saturday 26 March at 16:00: Tari – Grandelius, Hou Yifan – Hammer

In case of a tie for first place there will be organized blitz games Saturday 26 March at 18:00, and then we will know the 10th player of the Altibox Norway Chess Super tournament 2016.


You can follow the round live on (link:  or on the Swedish Chess Federation YouTube channel (in Swedish). (link: You can also follow us on twitter for updates.