N1 Reykjavik Chess Festival 2012
WGM Alina L'Ami reports from the world's most northerly capital
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.
... the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, the pride of the Icelandic capital
The structure consists of a steel framework clad with irregularly-shaped glass panels of different colours. The building is the first purpose-built concert hall in Reykjavík and houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and The Icelandic Opera.
The opening concert was held on here on May 4, 2011
The opening ceremony, immediately before the start of round one
The tournament is officially opened, the ceremonial first move being made...
... by city council member Óttarr Proppé for the reigning women's world champion.
Hou faced the many times Icelandic women's chess champion, WFM Gudlaug
Thorsteinsdottir. The game ended 1-0 for Hou Yifan in 25 moves.
Fabiano Caruana vs Christin Andersson – Black won in 44 moves
Considering the location, near the water, the design of the "Harpa Concert Hall" and its impressive windows makes me think of fishermen's nets or actual fish scales. It's quite relaxing to give your eyes a break from the tough positions on the board and gaze through the window glass into the harbor. I suppose it will bring a lot of inspiration to the 200 players, of which 25 are GMs and 20 IMs.
Breathtaking: the view through the multi-colored panes of the tournament hall
Erwin L'Ami vs Henriksson Johan in round one: Erwin won in 29 moves
One of the top GMs (fifth seed) Ivan Sokolov of the Netherlands
One of the stars: sixth seed Hou Yifan, Women's World Champion
GM Ivan Cheparinov, wearing a "Mertenitsa" around his wrist
The Mertenitsa is made of red and white threads and is an ancient Bulgarian tradition to welcome Spring. We have the same tradition in Romania. The white is a symbol of strength, purity and happiness; the red is associated with health, blood, conception, and fertility. When someone gives you a Martenitsa you should wear it either pinned on your clothes, tied around the wrist, or around your neck, until you see a stork. I guess Ivan will wear it until he will return home, I didn't see any storks around here.
Addendum: Petar Majetovski of Portland, Oregon, USA, writes: "This otherwise spectacular report by Alina L'Ami, contains a small error. The so-called Martenitsa is neither a Bulgarian or Romanian tradition. It is mentioned by Aristophanes, the Greek commedian and writer a thousand years before the aforementioned nations first appeared. The custom or tradition is prevalent in the Balkans, I have seen it from Crete to Belgrade, but there is little doubt that it is of Hellenic (Greek) origin. It has just been adopted by many other nations in the region."
Spectators watching the live games
After the games the players gather in the analysis room
Inside the building there are a number of excellent restaurants
with a selection of Indian, Icelandic, bio, etc.
Top standings after three rounds
|1||GM||Hess Robert L||USA||2635||3.0||5.5||2.0||5.50|
|GM||Jones Gawain C B||ENG||2635||3.0||5.0||2.0||5.00|
|GM||Williams Simon K||ENG||2506||3.0||5.0||2.0||5.00|
|22||IM||Arnold Marc T||USA||2502||2.5||5.0||1.5||4.25|
|FM||Aguera Naredo Javier||ESP||2358||2.5||5.0||1.5||3.75|
|IM||Hunt Adam C||ENG||2454||2.5||4.5||1.5||3.50|
|31||IM||Ziska Helgi Dam||FAI||2456||2.5||4.0||1.5||3.25|
The Reykjavik Open is producing a daily review of highlights, hosted by GM Simon Williams, IM Björn Thorfinnsson, and FM Ingvar Johannesson. The videos are produced by Macauley Peterson.
Briefing from round one
Briefing from round two
The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.