GM Kaido Kulaots of Estonia
(ELO 2556 – born 28.02.1976)
This actually is a very popular “welcome back”, as Kulaots played his first tournament in Norway when finishing shared second in the Open Norwegian Junior Championship played at Gjovik in 1993! Having done well in several international youth championships as a junior, Kulaots achieved his GM title aged 25 in 2001. Later he has established himself as Estonia’s best chess player and first chess personality (fairly typically representing the “Kaido Kulaots chess club”!), but so far still failed to become a 2600-player – remaining instead a very solid and reliable 2550-player.
Having played much in Scandinavia for the last ten years, Kulaots at some stage played more than 30 games at Gausdal without a loss. It might be questionable whether the sound Kulaots can win enough games to candidate for top three in this tournament, but no doubt he is a very strong prize candidate being very difficult and dangerous trying to defeat for everyone. Kulaots did excellent on the first board from Estonia in this year’s chess Olympics, remaining undefeated at 7.5/10 with a performance of 2669. It will be exciting to see whether he can continue his advance against 2600 at Gjovik.
Text: Hans Olav Lahlum