Navara and Mamedyarov draw, three lead

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/15/2015 – All eyes were on the first board, of course, as the top two seeds duked it out. Alas, neither side was able to come out on top and the draw paved the way for two players to reach the summit with 5.5/6: Alexander Fier and Erwin l'Ami, both with huge wins with Black. We bring you an analysis of the top match as well as beautiful tactical instances on "lower boards".

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The Reykjavik Open 2015 will be held for the 30th time from March 10th to March 18th 2015 in Harpa, the 28.000 sqm. concert hall. The 2015 tournament is expected to be very strong and will double as celebration of the 80th birthday of legendary Icelandic Grandmaster and former FIDE president, Fridrik Olafsson.

The 2014 Edition was voted the 2nd best open tournament in the world by ACP. Only Gibraltar was higher on the list.

The City of Reykjavík has sponsored the tournament since its inception in 1964, when Mikhail Tal won it with a record 12½ points out of 13. The tournament was initially held every two years, but has since 2008 taken place every year. It was closed i.n its early years, but has been an open event since the 1980s. Throughout its history the Reykjavik Open has featured many of the strongest chess players in the world at the time, including Mikhail Tal, Nona Gaprindashvili, David Bronstein, Vasili Smyslov, Bent Larsen, Friðrik Ólafsson, Mark Taimanov, Lev Polugaevsky, Jan Timman, Victor Korchnoi, Samuel Reshevsky, Anthony Miles, Nigel Short, Hikaru Nakamura, Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan.

Round Six

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2756 5 ½ - ½ Navara David 2736
2 Gao Rui 2533 ½ - ½ Eljanov Pavel 2727
3 Gupta Abhijeet 2625 0 - 1 Fier Alexandr 2601
4 Stopa Jacek 2544 0 - 1 L'ami Erwin 2605
5 Melkumyan Hrant 2676 4 ½ - ½ Gunnarsson Jon Viktor 2443
6 Pakleza Zbigniew 2498 4 ½ - ½ 4 Movsesian Sergei 2665
7 Granda Zuniga Julio E 2646 4 1 - 0 4 Tari Aryan 2509
8 Kjartansson Gudmundur 2491 4 0 - 1 4 Naroditsky Daniel 2633
9 Cornette Matthieu 2585 4 ½ - ½ 4 Idani Pouya 2496
10 Hansen Eric 2566 4 1 - 0 4 Rombaldoni Axel 2488
11 Arngrimsson Dagur 2366 ½ - ½ Steingrimsson Hedinn *) 2530
12 Maze Sebastien 2564 4 1 - 0 4 Colovic Aleksandar 2482
13 Preotu Razvan 2447 4 0 - 1 4 Stefansson Hannes 2560
14 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 2554 4 ½ - ½ 4 Sarkar Justin 2376
15 Petrov Nikita 2435 4 ½ - ½ 4 Le Roux Jean-Pierre 2548
16 Wang Yiye 2433 4 ½ - ½ 4 Danielsen Henrik 2514
17 Sequera Paolini Jose Rafael 2408 4 ½ - ½ 4 Libiszewski Fabien 2514
18 Hammer Jon Ludvig 2651 1 - 0 Hagen Andreas Skytte 2412
19 Jones Gawain C B 2642 1 - 0 Tania Sachdev 2404
20 Grandelius Nils 2603 1 - 0 Thorfinnsson Bjorn 2403

Mamedyarov was unable to keep his steamroll in Reykjavik and this gave the opportunity for two players to catch up with him at the top.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.14"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Navara, David"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2756"] [BlackElo "2736"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. e3 {When Kramnik played this move against Gelfand in London Candidates 2013, Krasenkow who annotated the game for ChessBase Magazine wrote, "No theory, Just play!" This is not the case anymore. Games are being played in this system quite often and White is scoring pretty well.} dxc4 {This should be real test of White's idea.} 6. Nd2 ( {The game Kramnik-Gelfand continued} 6. Ne2 Bg7 7. O-O O-O 8. Na3 Nbd7 9. Nxc4 Nb6 10. Na5 Qc7 11. b4 e5 $11 {When Black had equalised.}) 6... Be6 $146 {Not surrendering the pawn so easily. The line is still in it's first few years and hence this move is already a novelty.} 7. Ne2 {The knight threatens to go to f4.} Bh6 {Preventing Nf4.} 8. Qc2 b5 {White is going to have to work hard to get back his pawn.} 9. O-O (9. a4 {could have been considered but I think Black was all prepared to give up his rook on a8.} Nbd7 10. axb5 cxb5 11. Bxa8 $2 Qxa8 $17) 9... O-O 10. b3 {Following in the footsteps of the game Kramnik vs Giri from the Qatar Open. In fact this pawn sacrifice is quite common and gives White excellent compensation.} cxb3 11. axb3 a5 12. e4 {Somehow this does not feel right. I think it would have been more in the spirit of the position if White went about clamping down the c5 square. But it is not so easy to achieve. For eg.} (12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Qb6 14. Bb2 Rc8 15. Rfc1 Nd7 $15) 12... Na6 {Giving back the pawn to complete his development.} 13. Qxc6 Bd7 14. Qc2 Nb4 {Slowly and steadily Black is gaining the initiative.} 15. Qb1 Rc8 16. Nf3 Bxc1 17. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 18. Nxc1 (18. Qxc1 Nxe4 $17) 18... Qc7 19. Ne1 Rc8 {Black's position is definitely much easier to play. He has dangerous queenside majority, while White's central dominance is not too effective.} 20. Ncd3 Qc3 21. d5 Nxd3 22. Nxd3 Qd4 23. Ne1 Ng4 24. Ra2 Ne3 $6 {Navara gets carried away and in a very promising position he goes for a flashy continuation that throws away all his advantage.} (24... a4 $1 $17 {was a much more logical way to continue. With this move Black gets an outside passed pawn and the pressure against his kingside remains. In such situations it is quite common that the defending side blunders.}) 25. Qd3 $1 {Maybe this is what Navara missed.} (25. fxe3 {Of course Mamedyarov was not going to take this knight.} Qxe3+ 26. Kf1 Rc1 $19) 25... Qxd3 (25... Rc1 26. Qxe3 Qxe3 27. fxe3 Rxe1+ 28. Kf2 {and the a5 pawn falls.}) 26. Nxd3 Nxg2 27. Kxg2 {White is completely fine now and defends the position with ease.} a4 (27... Rc3 28. Ne5 $14) 28. Ne5 Be8 29. bxa4 bxa4 30. Nc6 Bxc6 31. dxc6 Rxc6 32. Rxa4 {A very close escape for Mamedyarov who stills lead the tournament albeit jointly.} 1/2-1/2

One of the players hails from Brazil, but lives in Georgia. After a successful appearance in Cappelle la Grande, Alexander Fier continues with his resourceful play.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.14"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Gupta, Abhijeet"] [Black "Fier, Alexandr"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E12"] [WhiteElo "2625"] [BlackElo "2601"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rn1q1rk1/p2p1pb1/bp3np1/2pP2Bp/7P/P1N2N2/1PQ1PPP1/R3KB1R w KQ - 0 11"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] {This comes from the Petrosian-Kasparov Variation of the Queen's Indian. Abhijeet was in an aggressive mood and decides to rip open the Black king.} 11. g4 $5 hxg4 12. h5 (12. Nh2 $5 g3 (12... Qe8 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Nxg4 Bg7 15. h5 $16) 13. fxg3 $13 {with a complicated position.}) 12... Qe8 (12... gxf3 {is met with the thematic} 13. h6 Re8 $5 (13... Bh8 $2 14. h7+ Kg7 (14... Nxh7 15. Bxd8) 15. Qd2 $1 {The threat is to play Bh6 followed by Bg7 and Qh6#} Qe7 16. Bh6+ Kxh7 17. Bg7+ Kxg7 18. Qh6+ Kg8 19. Qxh8#) 14. hxg7 Kxg7 $16 {But I have a feeling that the Black position is not so solid and will go down pretty soon. }) 13. Bxf6 (13. h6 $5 Bh8 14. Qa4 $1 Kh7 (14... gxf3 15. h7+ Nxh7 16. Qh4 $18) 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Qxg4 $40 {with a strong attack.}) 13... Bxf6 14. Ne4 Bg7 15. hxg6 $2 {This is not at all a good move and Alexander Fier gets a winning position now.} (15. h6 $5 {and white has a fine position.}) 15... f5 $1 $19 ( 15... gxf3 $2 16. Nf6+ $1 {This was the beautiful point behind Abhijeet's idea of hxg6.} Bxf6 17. g7 $18) 16. Nd6 Qxg6 {White is not only a pawn down but his attack has also come to an end.} 17. Nh4 Qxd6 18. Nxf5 Qe5 19. Nxg7 Qxg7 { Black is just a piece up and has to play with a little care to convert his advantage but as you will see even at such a high level it is not always easy to make the best moves in an unorthodox position.} 20. Qe4 Bc8 $6 {This is a bad move which lets White back into the game. The main problem being that it undevelops. But Fier's idea was to play d6 when his bishop would control the e6 square. Unfortunately his opponent doesn't allow it.} ({The most natural move d6 is incorrect.} 20... d6 $2 21. Qe6+ Rf7 (21... Qf7 22. Qxg4+ Qg7 23. Qe6+ $11) 22. Rh6 $1 Kf8 23. Qxd6+ Re7 24. Qd8+ Kf7 25. d6 $40) 21. d6 $1 Nc6 22. e3 $1 {Threatening Bc4+} Ne5 23. Qd5+ (23. Rh5 {was very interesting.} Bb7 (23... Nf3+ 24. Kd1 {There is no way to stop Bc4+}) 24. Qxe5 Qxe5 25. Rxe5 { White is not at all worse.}) 23... Nf7 24. O-O-O $2 {This provides Black with the precious time to finish his development.} (24. Qxa8 Qxb2 25. Rd1 {looks scary for White after} Ne5 {But he can defend with} 26. Qd5+ $1 (26. Be2 $2 Qxe2+ $1 27. Kxe2 Ba6+ $19) 26... Kg7 27. Be2 Ba6 28. Rd2 Qc1+ 29. Rd1 Qb2 30. Qd2 Qxd2+ 31. Rxd2 Bb7 $13) 24... Rb8 $1 {Now the bishop comes to b7 and it's all over.} 25. Qh5 Bb7 26. Rh4 Bf3 27. Bc4 Rbe8 28. Rdh1 Re6 $1 {A nice defensive move against Qh8.} 29. Bxe6 dxe6 30. d7 Rd8 31. R1h3 gxh3 32. Qxf3 Kf8 33. Rg4 Qh7 34. Rg3 Qf5 {With this win, Fier joins the leaders with 5.5/6.} 0-1

Meanwhile the excitement on the "lower" boards rivals the interesting games at the very top:

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.14"] [Round "6.5"] [White "Melkumyan, Hrant"] [Black "Gunnarsson, Jon Viktor"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A90"] [WhiteElo "2676"] [BlackElo "2443"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "114"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {This game is unbelievably exciting. First of all White plays excellently by sacrificing two exchanges to gain a winning position. In that completely won position, he blunders so badly that he is absolutely lost. Yet the Black player is unable to win even though he has loads to extra material and finally the players agreed for a draw after 57 moves when the position was still winning for Black.} 1. d4 e6 2. g3 f5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. c4 d5 5. Nh3 $1 {This is often the reason why Black players play 4...c6 before d5 if they want to reach a stonewall because after direct 4...d5, the knight is well placed on h3. It will join the battle via f4-d3 and the other knight will go from d2-f3 in order to control the e5 square.} c6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Bf4 O-O 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. Nd2 Nbd7 10. e3 $6 (10. Nf4 $14 g5 11. Nd3 dxc4 12. Nxc4 Qxd4 13. Qc2 {White has ample compensation for the pawn.}) 10... b6 11. Nf4 Ne4 12. Nxe4 $6 (12. Rc1 $1 $14) 12... fxe4 13. Rc1 Bb7 14. Rc3 Nf6 15. h4 dxc4 16. Qc2 e5 17. dxe5 Qxe5 18. Rxc4 $1 {A very brave decision by Melkumyan who gives up not just one but two exchanges.} Ba6 19. Rxe4 $1 (19. Bxe4 Bxc4 20. Qxc4+ Kh8 21. Bxc6 Rac8 22. b4 $14 {was equally good when White has a small edge.}) 19... Nxe4 20. Bxe4 Bxf1 {Black is greedy and takes another exchange but in the process his king is dragged out from his residence.} 21. Bxh7+ Kf7 (21... Kh8 22. Ng6+ $18) 22. Kxf1 $14 {The human way to play and fairly good way. The knight and bishop plus two pawns give White ample of compensation against the two rooks.} Qf6 ( 22... Qd6 {was better} 23. Bf5 Rad8 24. Kg2 $14 {White has a pleasant position and would like to continue by pushing his e-pawn.}) 23. Bf5 $1 Rfd8 24. Be6+ Ke7 (24... Kf8 25. Ng6+ Ke8 26. Qxc6+ $18) 25. Qxc6 $18 {White wins another pawn and the game is as good as over.} Rd1+ 26. Kg2 Rad8 27. h5 $6 {Melkumyan creates a support point on g6 for his knight but it was more important to bring the e-pawn into the battle.} (27. e4 $1 R8d6 28. Qc7+ Kf8 29. e5 $1 $18) 27... R1d6 28. Ng6+ $4 {A horrible hallucination! I wonder what Melkumyan thought when he made this move and what was his reaction when he realized that he had left the e6 bishop en prise!} (28. Qb7+ Ke8 29. Nd5 Qf8 (29... Qxe6 30. Nc7+ $18) 30. Nc7+ Ke7 31. Bb3 $16 {and it would be an extremely difficult task to defend with the black pieces.}) 28... Kxe6 $19 {Black is now a complete rook and exchange up. But is somehow just unable to finih off the game.} 29. Qc4+ Kd7 30. Qa4+ Rc6 31. Qxa7+ Rc7 32. Qa3 Qc6+ ({One plausible way to win this position would have been} 32... Qd6 33. Qb3 (33. Qa4+ Qc6+ $18) 33... Qc6+ 34. Kh2 Kc8 $1 $19 {everything is defended and soon the rooks will mop up the White pawns if not his king.}) 33. Kh2 Qc5 34. Qa4+ Kc8 35. Qa8+ Kd7 36. Qf3 Qg5 37. Nf4 Rf8 38. Qe2 Rxf4 $2 {This does not throw away the win but it was unnecessary.} 39. exf4 Qd5 40. Qg4+ Kd8 41. f5 Rf7 42. Qg5+ Kd7 43. g4 Qe5+ 44. Kg2 Qxb2 45. Qe3 Qf6 46. Kh3 Qd6 47. Qb3 Re7 48. Qa4+ Qc6 49. Qb3 b5 50. Kg3 Qc4 51. Qf3 Qe4 52. Qa3 Ke8 53. Qa6 (53. Qb3 Qc4 54. Qa3 Kf7 {and once the king is tucked in safely, the rest is easy.}) 53... Qe5+ 54. Kh3 Qd5 55. Kh4 Qe5 56. Kh3 Qd5 57. Kh4 Qe5 {A draw was agreed in a completely winning position. It could be possible that Black was low on time and there were so many ups and downs in the game that sometimes it is very difficult to deal with such emotional fluctuations. We could say that the draw was a fair result. The beauty is that both the players will be happy and also sad because of this! } 1/2-1/2

Artur Jussupow still shows he has that spark!

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.14"] [Round "6.21"] [White "Jussupow, Artur"] [Black "Foisor, Cristina-Adela"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A40"] [WhiteElo "2573"] [BlackElo "2394"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1rbq1r2/2nn1pbk/p2p2pp/1ppP4/P3PP2/2N1B1N1/1P1QB1PP/R4RK1 w - - 0 17"] [PlyCount "37"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {Black has just achieved one of the main aims in the Benoni: to get the b5 break. Jussupow who is playing White with all his years of experience realizes that he has to do something soon or be left with a bad position. And he comes up with a very thematic idea.} 17. e5 $1 (17. f5 {is an attacking move but cedes the e5 square to the Black knight. What White intends to do is to play e5 and after Black takes dxe5, he pushes on with f5. In that way the e5 square is occupied by a black pawn which rather than a knight!} Ne5 $1 $13) 17... bxa4 (17... dxe5 18. f5 $40 {is similar to the game.}) (17... b4 {Another perk of playing e5 is that the e4 square is cleared for both the knights.} 18. Nce4 $16 ) 18. Nge4 (18. Nce4 $6 dxe5 19. f5 Bb7 {creates some issues with the defence of the d5 pawn.}) 18... dxe5 19. f5 {For all those readers who weren't acquainted with this idea of e5 dxe5 f5, they must make this a part of their arsenal.} Nb5 20. fxg6+ fxg6 21. Rxf8 Qxf8 22. Rf1 Qd8 $2 (22... Nxc3 $1 {was the crucial defensive move.} 23. Rxf8 (23. bxc3 {You might ask what difference does this move bxc3 make in this position? Well, it opens the b-file for the black rook and as we will see it turns out to be the decisive difference over the game.} Qd8 24. Bxh6 Bxh6 25. Rf7+ Bg7 26. Ng5+ Kh8 27. Rxg7 Rb1+ $1 {This is the move that was not possible in the game.} 28. Kf2 (28. Bd1 Rxd1+ 29. Qxd1 Qxg5 $19) 28... Qf6+ $19) (23. Qxc3 Qd8 $13) 23... Nxe4 24. Qd3 Nxf8 25. Qxe4 Rxb2 $15 {Black has more than sufficient compensation for the queen.}) 23. Nxb5 (23. Bxh6 $1 {was also winning.} Nxc3 24. Ng5+ Kg8 25. Ne6 $18) 23... axb5 24. Bxh6 $1 {Jussupow has become old but his tactical prowess is still very much intact! He unleashes a fine combination.} Qh4 (24... Bxh6 25. Rf7+ Bg7 (25... Kg8 26. Qxh6 Kxf7 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qg7+ Ke8 30. Nd6#) 26. Ng5+ Kh8 27. Rxg7 $1 Kxg7 28. Ne6+ $18) 25. Bxg7 (25. Ng5+ {was cleaner} Kxh6 26. Ne6+ $1 Kh7 27. Rf7 $1 Nf8 28. Rxg7+ Kh8 29. g3 $1 Qh3 30. Bg4 $18) 25... Kxg7 26. Qe3 {The black king is too exposed. White is able to finish off the game nicely.} Bb7 27. Nxc5 Rh8 28. h3 Bxd5 29. Nxd7 Qd4 30. Qxd4 exd4 31. Bxb5 Bb3 32. Nc5 Rb8 33. Nxb3 Rxb5 34. Nxd4 Rxb2 35. Ne6+ {A very thematic attacking game by the Legendary Artur Jussupow!} 1-0

Photo impressions by Alina l'Ami

Matthieu Cornette analyzing with his friend Fabien Libiszewski

Pavel Eljanov

Abhijeet Gupta

Peruvian GM Julio Granda is one the more eccentric players over the board: he is known
for knowing very little opening theory (or at least hiding it very well)

David Navara drew with the leader

Alina l'Ami is such a good photographer she can do it with no hands!
(Actually the photo credit goes to her opponent, Sabino Brunello).

Jacek Stopa vs. Erwin l'Ami postmortem

Rui Gao from China

Tania Sachdev could not hold against Gawain Jones

Standings after round six

Rk. Name FED RtgI Pts. Rp rtg+/-
1 Fier Alexandr BRA 2601 5.5 2812 11.6
2 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2756 5.5 2744 0.3
3 L'ami Erwin NED 2605 5.5 2887 18.5
4 Navara David CZE 2736 5.0 2761 3.1
5 Gunnarsson Jon Viktor ISL 2443 5.0 2752 23.6
6 Naroditsky Daniel USA 2633 5.0 2649 2.3
7 Eljanov Pavel UKR 2727 5.0 2721 0.5
8 Gao Rui CHN 2533 5.0 2679 11.3
9 Stefansson Hannes ISL 2560 5.0 2577 2.5
10 Maze Sebastien FRA 2564 5.0 2760 10.3
11 Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2646 5.0 2796 7.4
12 Hansen Eric CAN 2566 5.0 2633 5.0
13 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn ISL 2554 4.5 2585 3.5
14 Stopa Jacek POL 2544 4.5 2611 6.4
15 Gupta Abhijeet IND 2625 4.5 2642 2.0
16 Libiszewski Fabien FRA 2514 4.5 2557 4.2
17 Cornette Matthieu FRA 2585 4.5 2583 0.6
18 Movsesian Sergei ARM 2665 4.5 2530 -6.8
19 Jones Gawain C B ENG 2642 4.5 2596 -2.8
20 Georgiadis Nico SUI 2468 4.5 2485 3.8

Pairings Round Seven

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 L'ami Erwin 2605   Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2756
2 Fier Alexandr 2601   5 Eljanov Pavel 2727
3 Stefansson Hannes 2560 5   5 Granda Zuniga Julio E 2646
4 Naroditsky Daniel 2633 5   5 Gao Rui 2533
5 Gunnarsson Jon Viktor 2443 5   5 Hansen Eric 2566
6 Georgiadis Nico 2468   Melkumyan Hrant 2676
7 Movsesian Sergei 2665   Bekker-Jensen Simon 2462
8 Petrov Nikita 2435   Hammer Jon Ludvig 2651
9 Wang Yiye 2433   Jones Gawain C B 2642
10 Thorhallsson Throstur 2428   Gupta Abhijeet 2625
11 Steingrimsson Hedinn *) 2530 4   Maisuradze Nino 2302
12 Esserman Marc 2426   Grandelius Nils 2603
13 Norowitz Yaacov 2422   Jussupow Artur 2573
14 Sarkar Justin 2376   Stopa Jacek 2544
15 Danielsen Henrik 2514   Sequera Paolini Jose Rafael 2408
16 Antal Tibor Kende 2317   Pakleza Zbigniew 2498
17 Idani Pouya 2496   Edvardsson Kristjan 2176
18 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2357 4   4 Brunello Sabino 2540
19 Welling Gerard 2355 4   4 Rasmussen Allan Stig 2532
20 Gulamali Kazim 2350 4   4 Grover Sahaj 2519

Don't forget you can follow the action live on our www.playchess.com server.

Photos by Alina l'Ami

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Topics Open, Reykjavik

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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