Friendly match
Norway - Sweden

By Hĺkon


A friendly international between Norway and Sweden
over 100 boards 100 years after the dissolution of the union.


The Swedish Chess Federation’s Correspondence Committee (SSKK) have challenged
the Norwegian Correspondence Chess Federation (NPSF) to a friendly international over
100 boards 100 years after the dissolution of the union between the two countries.
Sweden even suggested that the match be started on 17th May, the day Norwegians
celebrate the establishment of their constitution, and so shall it be!



An accumulation of accidents, chance, and misunderstandings could have pushed Sweden
and Norway into a war with each other in 1905, but restraint and moderation won the day.
The dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian Union that year is therefore one of the few
examples of a peaceful dissolution of a union of the 20th century.


The good relationship between our two countries has been further strengthened after
that time even though there often arise friendly jokes about each other. Although
not everyone will admit it, I think we can assert that the relationship between our
two countries is about the same as between two siblings – there has to be a little
healthy rivalry concerning one’s place in the hierarchy …


The relationship between our countries has attracted comment even outside chess circles:


With FIDE GM Simen Agdestein (NOR) against FIDE GM Stellan Brynell (SWE) on board 1, and FIDE GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR) against FIDE GM Emanuel Berg (SWE) on board 2, this

Simen Agdestein

Stellan Brynell

Magnus Carlsen

Emanuel Berg

 international match has attracted great interest among chess-friends in both Norway and Sweden, even outside correspondence chess circles.


Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on the centennial of the peaceful dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden, which appeared in
the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter:

”This centennial is an inspiring occasion for all of us who work in the cause of peace. As Sweden and Norway were negotiating to dissolve their union, both sides were willing to compromise, making it possible to settle the issue peacefully. Today, the Karlstad agreement remains an example to aspire to in our world, a world still riven by conflict.
Norway and Sweden went on to become good neighbours, close partners in regional Nordic cooperation, and exemplary Member States of the United Nations.”


The background for the union and its dissolution:

Denmark-Norway was on the losing side in the Napoleonic Wars 1807-14, while Sweden under Crown Prince Karl Johan supported the victor. In 1809 Sweden had lost Finland to Russia. At the declaration of peace in Kiel, with the signing of the Treaty of Kiel on the 14th of January 1814, Sweden therefore received Norway from Denmark as compensation for the loss of Finland five years earlier. Thus were the seeds of the Swedish-Norwegian Union sown in the international power-games after the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

In Norway at this time however there were forces prepared to take advantage of the situation to try and win full independence. Political manoeuvring and intrigues in the winter and spring of 1814 ended with the constitutional assembly that was gathered at Eidsvold from the 10th of April until the 17th of May approving what was for the time a very liberal constitution.

On the same day the Danish royal heir and vice-regent of Norway, Christian Frederik, is chosen to be the new king of Norway. This is understandably cause for a slight conflict between Norway and Sweden, who, under the leadership of Crown Prince Karl Johan demand that the obligations of the Kiel treaty be met. The Great Powers support Sweden’s claims, yet Christian Frederik refuses to abdicate.

In the summer of 1814 there is a short war, where Karl Johan marches against Christian Frederik and Norway on the 29th of July. The Swedish troops easily overcome the Norwegians resistance, and on the 14th of August a ceasefire is put into operation through the Moss Convention, under which Christian Frederik is forced to give up the government of Norway.

A new parliament is called which shall change the constitution to allow for the Union of the two countries. There are long negotiations between Karl Johan’s representatives and the parliament, which ends up with there being an union under which Norway manages to keep a great deal of freedom and much of it’s new constitution. The union between Sweden and Norway is agreed on the 4th of November 1814, and is formalized though the State Act of 1815.
The summer and autumn of 1905 became a time for heavy negotiations. In July the Swedish parliament’s (Riksdagen) demands became clear, but the Norwegian parliament managed to sneak their nose in front by suggested a referendum on the dissolution of the union. Leading up to the referendum Norway experienced a powerful campaign to get all those who were allowed to vote to meet up and vote YES.

The campaign ended as a national celebration with a record turnout and overwhelming support to the government and parliament, but in the meantime there had been yet another change of government in Sweden where the strongly conservative Christian Lundeberg had taken charge. He it was, therefore, who lead the Swedish delegation when negotiations on the terms of dissolution started in Karlstad on the 31st of August.

Negotiations were difficult, and accompanied by military tension, mobilization and rising fear of war. Fortunately, they came to an agreement, though there arose a debate in both countries on the results of the negotiations. At the same time another important debate started in Norway – what form of government should the country have after the dissolution?

In October 1905 the union between Norway and Sweden is formally dissolved after both parliaments approve the Karlstad Agreement and King Oscar gives up the throne of Norway on behalf of himself and his family.

After this recognition from Sweden other states begin to recognize Norway as an independent diplomatic power. Border guards were stood down and the military situation in both Norway and Sweden became normalized again. The debate concerning Norway’s future form of government raged on with steadily greater intensity. The republicans managed to get a referendum set up on the but lost the battle for a republic when the people went to the ballot boxes for the second time in 1905. The new royal family came to the country on the 25th of November, and the process of establishing Norway as a constitutional monarchy independent of a the union with Sweden was completed with the crowning of Haakon VII in Nidarosdomen on the 22nd of June 1906.


Many hands make light work:


Many have contributed to making this historical correspondence chess match a reality.
First and foremost SSKK represented by Sture Olsson who launched the idea and sent
the original invitation to NPSF. This invitation has been sent further and has attracted
the attention of many Norwegian chess players. This has again led to many new members
and participants in the match (around 30) for NPSF. This is thanks to a splendid
recruitment campaign in which many have participated.

The event has been organized by Sweden’s Sture Olsson, Norway’s Geir Brobakken,
and myself (H.A.) – and of course Roald Berthelsen is naturally the Norwegian
team captain for this great match.

Geir Brobakken

Sture Olsson

Roald Berthelsen

At a moment like this we also send our thoughts to Sweden’s Crown Prince Karl Johan
and Norway’s King Christian Frederik!  Nobody knows how things would have turned
out without these two’s deeds and that which happened later in Karlstad. Maybe it was this
that was the first seed of the idea behind the conception of ”Amici Sumus”!? J


Too see the whole match :

The source for parts of the material:

Translated by Chris Hinman


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