Icelandic Chess Fest in Greenland’s Remotest Village
BY ALËX ELLIOTT
Icelandic chess club, Hrókurinn, is this weekend holding a chess festival in the remotest village in Greenland. It is the eleventh Easter weekend in a row that the festival has taken place.
Expedition leader Róbert Lagerman told RÚV that the children of the village have been extremely excited about the tournament, which began with an open chess session at the local school on Thursday.
The team from Hrókurinn arrived in the East Greenland village of Ittoqqortoormiit on Wednesday. There are no roads to the village and getting there requires 50 kilometers of dog sledding from the nearest airport. The nearest other settlement is Kulusuk, 800 kilometers away.
There are 450 inhabitants in Ittoqqortoormiit, including around 70 children. “We will be holding a chess festival all over Easter weekend,” Róbert says. It includes open chess sessions, an Easter egg hunt and a more formal town chess championship. Members of Hrókurinn will also visit the hospital and the town’s elderly residents and pre-school children.
Róbert says the festival is something the locals really look forward to: “Right from the beginning of the year there has been great excitement, especially among the kids, because there’s not usually much going on in this village, it is very isolated.”
Polar bears regularly visit the village and locals have permission to shoot them if they threaten people’s safety—but Róbert says he has not seen any bears shot, because they have so far all left again without bothering anybody.
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