Friday, 10 August 2007

Danegeld - Another £5,000 Paid Over

"The Danegeld was an English tribute raised to pay off Viking raiders to save the land from being ravaged by the raiders. The expeditions were usually led by the Danish kings, but they were composed by warriors from all over Scandinavia, and they eventually brought home more than 100 tonnes of silver"

... and the English are still paying. I've witnessed a lot of similar payments over the years. There was a period when another Viking raider, Tiger Hillarp Persson, sailed round various islands around Britain scooping up sackfuls of cash. Done with a smile and no need for the sword and horned helmet. Then Simen Agdestein came to the Isle of Man and carried off the loot a few years ago. One of the first thing he said in his victory speech was "we used to own this place!" - a reference to the fact that the Vikings used to hold dominion over the Isle of Man. I'd never heard a territorial claim made in a chess tournament winner's speech before so this was a first. Judging from the look in his eye and the generally sturdy appearance of the young Norwegians in his party, they could have taken the place back, there and then.

Notice, these Viking chessplayers are always more at home when they are near the coast. It's an atavistic thing - they sense the nearness of their long ships, left on the beach to carry away all the plunder to their villages back in Scandinavia. The ECF should take notice of this and stop holding congresses in seaside towns - it only encourages them. Find somewhere well inland, or well up an estuary where they don't feel as safe... London, say...

Jacob Aagaard wrapped things up with a nice, fighting effort against Glenn Flear. He always gives the other guy a chance, does Aagaard, but his brand of fearless chess did him proud these past two weeks. One thing sent me scurrying to my record books - the fact that he lost two games. It is quite a long time since that happened last. It was in 1988, in Blackpool, when Mestel lost to Chandler in round five and Flear in round nine but still won (with 8½/11).


  1. The Agdestein speech is of course one of many events in chess history to attract unreasonably hostile attention from a Mr N Short of Atherton.

    I was also present and I enjoyed the speech even before I found out Nigel didn't.

  2. On topic with the comments, if not the thread:

    Judgement's out!

    Verdict: Minor violation - Warning

  3. Hi js,

    ... loved the Danegeld article - top-drawer stuff, really nice - keep it coming


    PS - might seeya at Hastings ... that's if the papparazzo isn't going to be there!