IM Frode Elsness, Moss

(ELO 2440 – born 15.06.1973)

Østfold’s favourite chess son Frode Elsness as a young teenager introduced himself for the rest of Norway as a remarkably ambitious and hard kicking chess boxer. The highlight of his junior career however remained his title as Norwegian junior champion, which he aged 17 won with an amazing 9/9 (!).


Against opponents above 2400 young Elsness remained a bit too loose and hot headed, and early in the 1990s he reduced his chess playing. Following a new offensive during his study years in Oslo he completed his IM-title the autumn of 1999 – only to declare his chess career ended the autumn of 2001. Having established his practice as a medical doctor he however hit remarkably hard back in the championship class of the Norwegian Championship 2004. Elsness landed on fourth place, but including a win against GM Simen Agdestein and a pole position midway the result still inspired for more chess hours.

Four years later Elsness is safely seated ahead of two GMs on the top board for Moss’ strong team, and appears a stronger player than ever before. The undisputed top point of his career so far came in the Norwegian Championships of this year, as Elsness following a slow start accelerated to reach 6,5/9 and a play off against IM Jon Ludvig Hammer – which a very well prepared Elsness at his home field in Moss unexpectedly won 1.5-0.5. Despite many strong game results against GMs, he is however still waiting for his first GM-norm. It will be exciting to see whether he can make it at Gjøvik, 17 years after he played his first championship class in the Norwegian championship here. Frode Elsness remains uneven and unpredictable, and it is still a critical question whether he has got enough stability and balance to keep a GM-speed for nine rounds. Anyway the current Norwegian champion following his total lack of respect and his chronic will to win however is a great attraction for this GM-Swiss, and he is a hungry chess shark making the water dangerous also for the swimming super-grandmasters.

Text: Hans Olav Lahlum