Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Off-Topic: Norwegian Chess Pyjama Girls

The whims of my blog readers never cease to amuse me. Currently the 2014 World Chess Championship is taking place in Sochi, Russia, a rematch of last year's battle between Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand and Magnus Carlsen. Last year Vishy was the world champion and Magnus was the challenger. This year the roles are reversed. What has amused me is that of the detailed game reviews I made last year only one has been revisited by my readers, the third game, and has become so popular that it's currently in 8th place in my list of the month's most popular posts. (See the sidebar if you're reading my blog on a PC). It wasn't the best game, but it was the post in which I reported on Magnus' supporters, the now famous quartet of 16-year-old schoolgirls dubbed by the press as Norway's "Chess Pyjama Girls".

I don't have any new photos, so I'm republishing the pictures I used last year. In last year's post I made a mistake that I'll put right here. I assumed that the girls were present at the game, but they were actually posing for the photo in Veierland, Norway. Anyone who stands half naked outdoors in Norway at that time of year must be very brave indeed.

From left to right: Amalie (EN), Sandra (C), Sara (AR), Helle (LS).

Here's an interview that the girls gave on a Norwegian television show. I apologise for the stupid adverts that appear first. I've added an English translation.

TV Host: Chess fever is everywhere, and Magnus Carlsen is receiving more and more fans. We'll show a picture where four schoolgirls are cheering for Magnus in a special way. The picture has been shared on the Internet many times since it was uploaded. We have two of the girls with us on Skype,  Amalie Dehli and Sara Hansen. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea of making this picture?

Amalie: We were watching the match on NRK and wanted to show our support for Magnus. So we decided to make this picture and send it to NRK-Sjakk.

TV: What letters did you have?

Amalie: I had EN.

Sara: I had AR.

TV: Wasn't it cold?

Sara: It was a bit cold and it rained also, but it went well.

TV: Who came up with the idea of undressing and holding up the Norwegian flag?

Sara: We agreed as a group to do something and then inputs were put in action.

TV: If anyone else wants to do something similar, what kind of paint did you use?

Sara: Waterbased paint, so you can get it off again.

TV: I see. When did you get interested in chess?

Sara: When we saw it on TV on Saturday.

TV: Are you following the match? Did you watch Sunday and today?

Amalie: Yes. Now we have been really ”bitten” by chess. We also have Helle with us here.

TV: Hi Helle. What were your letters?

Helle: LS, I think.

TV: Are going to upload more tribute pictures?

Helle: Yes, if we can find some more funny ideas.

TV: Are you watching VGTV now?

Sara: Yes we are.

TV: Can you show us how it works?

Sara: Like this.

TV: So if we, who are in studio, wave at you, you can see us?

Sara: We think so.

TV: In a while, this will be on VGTV, but aren't you supposed to be in school, and not watching chess and appearing on VGTV?

Sara: We are in school, but we have taken some time off. We are so into chess. 

TV: Very good. Send your next pictures to VG-Sjakk and we'll bring them in the show. Thank you for taking time to talk to us.

Sara: Our pleasure. All the best.

Will the girls be back this year? I hope so.

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