Caruana leads in Reykjavik Open with 6.5/7 points

3/12/2012 – Fabiano Caruana has conceded just one draw so far in the Reykjavik Open 2012 (March 6 to 13). The nineteen-year-old Italian GM is in the sole lead, and his 2885 performance has raised him to number six in the world on the live ratings list. In our round seven report we include a big pictorial by WGM Alina L'Ami of one of the geologically most exciting places on earth.

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The N1 Reykjavik Open 2012 is being held from March 6 to March 13, 2012, in Harpa, Reykjavik's spectacular new music hall on the harbour, just five minutes walk to downtown Reykjavik.

The event is a nine-round Swiss, with top players including Fabiano Caruana, David Navara, Ivan Cheparinov, Ivan Sokolov, Hou Yifan, Robert Hess, Gawain Jones, Yuriy Kuzubov, Erwin l'Ami, and many others. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds increment from move one. Prizes are € 5,000 for the winner, € 2,000 for second place, € 1,250 for 3rd, etc., with a total of € 15,000.

Fabiano Caruana leads in Reykjavik Open

We take up from our previous report: in round four Italian GM Fabiano Caruana beat Dutch GM Erwin L'Ami, while GMs David Navara (Czech Republic), Ivan Cheparinov (Bulgaria), Gawain Jones (Britain) Ivan Sokolov (Netherlands) and Robert Hess (USA) all won their games as well to share the lead with Caruana, all with perfect 4.0/4 scores.

In round five Gawain Jones drew Fabiano Caruana, while Sokolov defeated Navara and Cheparinov defeated Hess, so that the Bulgarian and Dutch GMs were in the lead. In round six the two drew their game, while Fabiano won his, leading to a three-way tie for first, with Cheparinov, Sokolov and Caruana topping the list.

Round seven saw Sokolov drawing to Robert Hess, and Cheparinov facing Caruana:

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2012"] [Site "Reykjavik/Iceland"] [Date "2012.03.11"] [Round "7"] [White "Cheparinov, Ivan"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2664"] [BlackElo "2767"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "ISL"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bb5+ c6 8. Ba4 O-O 9. Ne2 c5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Be3 Na5 12. dxc5 {0.20/0} Qc7 {0.46/0} 13. Bb3 {0.18/0} Bg4 {0.25/0} 14. f3 {0.47/0} Bd7 {0.40/0} 15. Qb1 {0.06/0} e6 {-0. 16/0} 16. Rd1 {-0.12/0} Rfd8 {0.03/0} 17. Kh1 {0.00/0} Be8 {0.00/0} 18. Qb2 { -0.24/0} Bf8 {-0.11/0} 19. f4 {-0.45/0} Bxc5 {-0.39/0} 20. Nd4 {-0.32/0} Bf8 { -0.41/0} 21. f5 {-0.79/0} Nxb3 {-0.66/0} 22. axb3 {-0.45/0} e5 {-0.64/0} 23. Nf3 {-0.75/0} f6 {-0.67/0} 24. c4 {-0.72/0} Bc6 {-0.68/0} 25. Qc2 {-0.66/0} Rxd1+ {-0.45/0} 26. Rxd1 {-0.49/0} Rd8 {-0.49/0} 27. Rxd8 {-0.35/0} Qxd8 {-0. 49/0} 28. fxg6 {-0.49/0} hxg6 {-0.49/0} 29. Bxa7 {-0.53/0} b6 {-0.56/0} 30. c5 {-0.49/0} b5 {-0.70/0} 31. b4 {-0.72/0} Bh6 {-0.90/0} 32. Kg1 {-1.00/0} Kg7 { -1.10/0} 33. Kf2 {-1.39/0} Qa8 {-1.19/0} 34. Qa2 $6 {-2.66/0} Bxe4 $19 {-1.31/0 } 35. Qa5 {-1.31/0} Qb7 {-1.63/0} 36. Bb6 {-1.75/0} Qd7 {-1.36/0} 37. Qa7 {-1. 66/0} Bb7 {-1.76/0} 38. Bd8 {-2.25/0} e4 {-2.16/0} 39. Ne1 $4 {-99.0/0} Qd2+ $19 40. Kg3 Qf4+ 0-1

After this remarkable win the table was as follows:

Top standings after seven rounds

Rk.
Title
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts.
TB1
TB2
TB3
1
GM
Caruana Fabiano
ITA
2767
6.5
32.0
23.5
29.50
2
GM
Sokolov Ivan
NED
2653
6.0
33.5
24.5
28.00
3
GM
Avrukh Boris
ISR
2591
6.0
30.0
22.5
24.50
4
GM
Cheparinov Ivan
BUL
2664
5.5
35.5
25.5
26.00
5
GM
Navara David
CZE
2700
5.5
34.0
25.0
25.75
6
GM
Hess Robert L
USA
2635
5.5
32.5
23.0
24.00
7
GM
Baklan Vladimir
UKR
2612
5.5
29.5
22.0
22.50
8
GM
Hou Yifan
CHN
2639
5.5
29.0
22.5
22.25
9
GM
Halkias Stelios
GRE
2588
5.5
27.5
20.0
21.75
10
GM
Jones Gawain C B
ENG
2635
5.0
33.5
24.0
21.75
11
GM
Kuzubov Yuriy
UKR
2615
5.0
32.0
23.5
22.00
12
IM
Akshayraj Kore
IND
2422
5.0
32.0
23.5
21.00
13
IM
Thorfinnsson Bragi
ISL
2421
5.0
32.0
23.5
20.50
14
GM
Kveinys Aloyzas
LTU
2512
5.0
31.0
22.5
21.75
15
GM
Danielsen Henrik
ISL
2504
5.0
30.5
22.0
21.50
16
GM
Steingrimsson Hedinn
ISL
2556
5.0
30.5
22.0
21.00
17
GM
Kryvoruchko Yuriy
UKR
2666
5.0
30.5
22.0
20.75
18
IM
Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn
ISL
2460
5.0
30.5
21.5
19.50
19
GM
Papin Vasily
RUS
2575
5.0
30.0
22.0
20.50
20
GM
Ipatov Alexander
TUR
2561
5.0
30.0
22.0
19.75
21
GM
Maze Sebastien
FRA
2577
5.0
29.5
21.5
20.00
22
GM
Williams Simon K
ENG
2506
5.0
29.0
20.0
18.75
23
GM
Libiszewski Fabien
FRA
2523
5.0
28.5
20.5
20.25
24
FM
Kiewra Keaton F
USA
2355
5.0
28.0
20.0
19.50
25
IM
Krush Irina
USA
2461
5.0
28.0
19.0
17.25
26
FM
Moen Andreas
NOR
2360
5.0
28.0
19.0
17.00
27
IM
Arnold Marc T
USA
2502
5.0
27.0
19.5
19.25
28
IM
Ziska Helgi Dam
FAI
2456
5.0
27.0
19.0
18.75
29
IM
Kjartansson Gudmundur
ISL
2357
5.0
26.5
18.5
17.00
30
IM
Kristiansen Jens
DEN
2432
5.0
25.5
18.5
16.75
31
  
Perez Flavio
FRA
2269
5.0
24.0
17.0
15.50

Full standings of all 150 players are here. Let's take a look at the rating performances of the top ten:

Rk.
Title
Name
FED
Pts.
Rtg
Perf.
1
GM
Caruana Fabiano
ITA
6.5
2767
2885
2
GM
Sokolov Ivan
NED
6.0
2653
2788
3
GM
Avrukh Boris
ISR
6.0
2591
2696
4
GM
Cheparinov Ivan
BUL
5.5
2664
2725
5
GM
Navara David
CZE
5.5
2700
2673
6
GM
Hess Robert L
USA
5.5
2635
2672
7
GM
Baklan Vladimir
UKR
5.5
2612
2604
8
GM
Hou Yifan
CHN
5.5
2639
2621
9
GM
Halkias Stelios
GRE
5.5
2588
2505
10
GM
Jones Gawain C B
ENG
5.0
2635
2626

And how did our friend, reigning women's world champion Hou Yifan, do? She won her first two games against a WFM and FM, drew the next two against and FM and IM, and then beat an IM, drew with black against Icelandic GM Stefan Kristjansson and beat Icelandic GM Hannes Stefansson with white. Only one opponent, WFM Gudlaug Thorsteinsdottir in round one, was female.


Women's world champion Hou Yifan, who took time off to visit Fischer's grave

And turning to the top ten in the world rankings in the Live Chess Ratings list, we find:

#
Name Rating
+/-
Games
Age
1
Carlsen 2835.0
0.0
0
21 (30.11.1990)
2
Aronian 2824.9
+4.9
3
29 (06.10.1982)
3
Kramnik 2801.0
0.0
0
36 (25.06.1975)
4
Anand 2799.0
0.0
0
42 (11.12.1969)
5
Radjabov 2784.0
0.0
0
25 (12.03.1987)
6
Caruana 2775.8
+8.8
7
19 (30.07.1992)
7
Nakamura 2771.0
0.0
0
24 (09.12.1987)
8
Karjakin 2766.0
0.0
0
22 (12.01.1990)
9
Morozevich 2765.0
0.0
0
34 (18.07.1977)
10
Ivanchuk 2764.0
0.0
0
42 (18.03.1969)

As you can see the nineteen-year-old Fab Fabiano, who had climbed to number seven after the Moscow Aeroflot tournament, a second prize at Reggio and tied second at Wijk aan Zee, has now overtaken Nakamura and advanced to place six in the world rankings. A new Carlsen in the making?


That's a lamp, not a halo above his head, people!


Icelandic Adventure

By WGM Alina L'Ami

I've been playing chess for more than twenty years now, travelled a lot, seen a lot, experienced and lived a large number of incredible stories. You might think there is not much that still amazes me anymore, and yet, that is exactly what happened!

Together with my husband I flew to Iceland to participate in the 27th Reykjavik Open, and right from the start, from the moment we entered the airplane, I felt it was going to be good. Not because of the excitement which the unknown brings, nor because of the three extra days we had before the tournament started. I still cannot fully explain my enthusiasm, but there was something in the air… something that made my heart jump – contagious enthusiasm, I guess?!

Despite the lack of sun during winter and its seasonal affective disorder, Icelanders seem to me exceptionally friendly, joyful, open minded and in close harmony with their country. Which is amazingly beautiful, by the way. I have seen only a small part, but I can already say that you shouldn't take my word for it and check for yourself. Perhaps in the Reykjavik Open next year!

The only things I have trouble with, being a Romanian, are the extremely strong wind and the changeable weather. I have never seen anything like this: such a moody climate, changing from sun to hail, from rain to snow, and back to sun! All in no time at all! In half an hour you can experience all of the above: one second I am enjoying the warm breeze, charging my batteries with the power of the sun, and next second I am being blown into the Atlantic Ocean or covered in snow from top to bottom. Wondering how the poor meteorologists predict the weather.

I should also add that the organizers outdone themselves, when you consider the almost endless numbers of possible activities throughout the entire festival: excursions, lectures, commentaries, football matches, chess quiz, exhibitions, blitz competition etc. – there is something for everyone! And on top of all that: there is a city which awaits you, to discover its Viking past and its rich chess history from the famous Cold War match. If only we would have more time…


A view of the harbor and the sea on the way to the tournament hall


Icelandic landscape, wind-swept and covered in snow at this time of the year...


... with the famous Pyramid Mountain, built for the pharaoh by 20,000 workers over
five thousand years ago – no, strike that, it's
a natural volcanic formation

A panorama view of Pingvellir National Park (scroll to the right to see the full image)

Þingvellir is of historical, cultural, and geological importance and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is the site of the rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Þingvellir National Park was the first national park in Iceland and was decreed "a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged." The late Bobby Fischer enjoyed visiting this area.


Tourists – us – enjoying the view of this great national treasure


Typical Icelandic architecture in Þingvellir


Strokkur, a very active fountain geyser in the famous Icelandic geothermal valley.
It erupts every 4-8 minutes and gushes 15-20 m, sometimes up to 40 m high


Strokkur geyser in action – there are some impressive sequence pictures here


It is highly recommended not to touch the water – but almost everyone does


Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river. Together
with Þingvellir and the geysers Gullfoss is a popular day tour for tourists in Iceland.

Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The wide Hvítá rushes southward. About a kilometer above the falls it turns sharply to the left and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a crevice 32 m (105 ft) deep. The crevice, about 20 m (60 ft) wide, and 2.5 km in length, is at right angles to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime. The highest flood measured was 2000 m³/s. [Source: Wikipedia]


That's me with my husband Erwin L'Ami at Kerio crater

Kerið is a volcanic crater lake, one of several in the area, which were created as the land moved over a localized hotspot. This one has the most visually recognizable caldera, composed of a red (rather than black) volcanic rock. It is 55 m (180 ft) deep, 170 m (560 ft) wide, and 270 m (890 ft) across. Kerið’s caldera is one of the three most recognizable volcanic craters because at approximately 3,000 years old, it is only half the age of most of the surrounding volcanic features. The lake itself is fairly shallow (7–14 metres, depending on rainfall and other factors), but due to minerals from the soil, is an opaque and strikingly vivid aquamarine.


Icelandic horses, smaller than the ones I am used to


The most famous tourist attraction in Iceland: the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa

The "Bláa lónið" is a geothermal spa whose steamy waters are part of a lava formation. I simply loved it, although at times hail, rain or snow was falling down my head, which actually makes it so special! I never thought I would be swimming outdoors at sub zero temperatures!

– To be continued –


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