IM Eirik T. Gullaksen, Bergens
(ELO 2400 – born 26.07.1966)
Despite his many strong national and international results for the last three decenniums, Eirik T. Gullaksen remarkably remains more famous as an organizer than an IM. He past includes not only more than 20 years as chairman of the Bergen chess club, but also 12 years as webmaster for Norway most popular (and best) chess webpage. This century he has quietly also made outstanding efforts as webmaster for the world wide famous Gausdal tournaments – which he himself has not been present at for nearly 15 years. Youthfully dynamic but at the same time careful and rational on the chessboard as well as outside of it, he has apparently been aged about 35 from 18 until his recent 42.
Following a late start he was never considered a whiz-kid, but following patient improvements he reached a 2300-level in his early twenties. 1992 became somewhat of a breakthrough year as he after making his first IM-norm and finishing third in the Norwegian Championship improved more than 100 points within a six months period, and following this just reached the 2400 required for an IM title. The next years he following a hard working schedule combined with much non-paid chess work on his spare time slipped down towards 2300 again, but playing more he in 1997-98 suddenly hit back and made the two necessary norms to complete his IM-title. Later he has for ten years remained a very strong amateur, using most of his working holidays to play about three international title tournaments a year.
The organizer was very happy to see him as one of the first registered players of this GM-Swiss, all the more as he for the last years has chosen to play almost exclusively in various large cities across Europe. He results in average has stabilized above 2400, but this actually hides many up and downs under as well as between his tournaments. Despite a solid and technical style of play based upon a rather predictable opening repertoire he remains an attacking player, and has several times had a GM-norm within sight. Hardly noticed by the Norwegian press Gullaksen did his best result in his last start four months ago. Peaking at 6.5/9 in Barcelona he then missed the GM-norm with “that bitter half point”, after several times being one second away from winning his last drawn game on time… Chronically modest and realist by nature he still repeats that a GM title is out of the question, but it is worth noting that he does not any more rule out a GM-norm. The norm for sure will come sometime somewhere. And if sometime somewhere turns out being Gjøvik this week, it will be an extraordinary popular title norm among chessplayers all over Norway.
Text: Hans Olav Lahlum