Reykjavik Open 2009
Photo report by WGM Anastasiya Karlovich
Iceland is an island of 103,000 square kilometers and around 5000 kilometers of coastline, making it the 16th largest island in the world. The population of the country is about 322,000, but it more than doubles during the year thanks to travelers and tourists.
Iceland is a traditional country of chess and the place where the “match of the century” was held. This land of waterfalls and daffodils has changed drastically in recent months. the banks went bankrupt and brought down with them hundreds of companies and individuals. However, tourists are now flocking to Iceland as never before. Hotels are fairly cheap, as well as most consumer goods. If you want to buy Armani, Boss, Gucci, or other expensive labels, Iceland is the place to shop. And there are many wonderful places to visit in or close to the capital. You can go swimming in one of Reykjavik's geothermal outdoor swimming pools, go to the gym or just relax and prepare for your next game in your comfortable hotel room.
In spite of the financial crisis the traditional Reykjavik Open was organized by the Icelandic Chess Federation and the Reykjavik Chess Academy, and was conducted on the high level. The tournament took place from March 23rd to April 1st. Rate of play: 90 min. / 40 moves + 15 minutes after 40 moves. 30 sec. increment for every move. Four players Hedinn Steingrimsson, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Hannes Stefansson and Mihail Marin scored 7.0/9 at the tournament and shared the top placres in the cross table.
Final ranking after nine rounds
|9||IM||Popovic Milos T||SRB||2400||6.5||42.5||32.5||29.00||2471|
|12||GM||Conquest Stuart C||ENG||2531||6.0||49.5||38.0||30.00||2553|
|16||GM||Williams Simon K||ENG||2507||6.0||43.5||34.0||28.50||2437|
|25||GM||Bhat Vinay S||USA||2495||5.5||41.5||32.5||24.50||2387|
|29||IM||Gunnarsson Jon Viktor||ISL||2463||5.5||40.0||33.0||23.25||2224|
|33||GM||Hillarp Persson Tiger||SWE||2586||5.0||52.0||40.5||26.50||2470|
Pictorial impressions from Reykjavik
A view of the city
Swans and other water birds on the lake, with the Free Lutheran Church in the background
The new concert hall, under construction, has fallen victim to the economic crisis
and hasn't been completed. The statue on the right appears to appeal for funds.
Iceland is an attractive place for tourists. Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is a waterfall located
in the canyon of Hvita River in southwest Iceland. It has two stages, 11 and 21 metres high.
The grand beauty of Gullfoss in late Winter
During the first half of the 20th century and some years into the late 20th century, there was much speculation about using Gullfoss to generate electricity. Sigríður Tómasdóttir was determined to preserve the natural beauty and even threatened to throw herself into the waterfall. This popular story that Sigríður did save the waterfall from use is widely believed. Fact or fiction but now this magnificent natural wonder is protected and opened for tourists.
"Geysir" (from which the English word geyser is derived), erupts every 5-10 minutes
There are around thirty much smaller geysers and hot pools in the area
Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is volcanically and geologically extremely active. Over 99% of the country's electricity is produced from hydropower and geothermal energy. All over the country there are filling stations dispensing hydrogen fuel for cars powered by fuel cells, since Iceland is also one of a few countries currently capable of producing hydrogen in adequate quantities at a reasonable cost, because of the plentiful geothermal energy. The country is also warmed by the Gulf Stream, giving it a temperate climate relative to its latitude.
A modest church on a private cemetery in southern Iceland where Robert Fisher's grave is located
The headstone of the grave. the 17th of January is a sad day for the chess players.
This year the famous Ukrainian GM Alexander Moroz died on the same date.
The book store which Fisher frequented
The chair where the former World Champion liked to sit and read for a couple of hours daily
Actress Thordis Bioric Thorfinnsdotir (sister of sister of Bjorn) singing “Halleluiah” at the opening ceremony
It is interesting that people in Iceland don't have the surnames. They use the names of the fathers together with “son” or “dotir”. There is special website where you can find your genealogical tree. In six generations all people in Iceland are relatives! The only problem can be if you suddenly find out that your girl-friend or boy-friend is also your close relative.
A view of playing hall
Spectators could watch the games from balconies, using bioculars
Ukrainian GM Yuriy Krivoruchko, who was leading during the tournament but lost on tiebreak to…
…GM Hedinn Steingrimsson from Iceland
Icelandic GM Hannes Stefansson took third place
The winners who shared 1-4 places: Hedinn Steingrimsson, Hannes Stefansson,
Mihail Marin, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, with the organizer of the tournament Bjorn Thorfinnson
IM Daniele Vocaturo made seventh place and completed a GM norm
US GM Yuri Shulman finished sixth in the main tournament but won the blitz tournament
French GM Sebastien Maze, finished 11th. He liked Icelandic hospitality
so much that decided to lose his passport in order to stay some days more.
IM Harika Dronavalli from India, the first place among women
WIM Deysi Estella Cori Tello from Peru, who is just fifteen, took second place among women in the main tournament. She also qualified for the final of the blitz tournament, “scalping” some GMs on her way.
Ulker Gasanova from Iceland
German GM Sebastian Siebrecht fighting in the blitz qualifier, with the “help” of a beer
The strong blitz tournament was held on 1st of April after the last round. Four players were advanced to the final from 2 qualifying tournaments. They were joined by eight invited players.
The final position of the game Stefansson-Shulman. Icelandic player put his pawn on the eighth rank and lost the game on time. In the last tie-break Yuri Shulman defeated GM Johann Hjartarsson and proved that he was lucky as a winner.
Spectators at the blitz tournament
For six years now, every two weeks the Icelandic branch of the Red Cross has organized blitz tournaments for people with mental handicaps, and all other comers.
Chess pieces made by children in the hospital
Living chess, played with human pieces in the centre of Reykjavik
The World March for Peace and Non-violence took place on the 29th of March. Many people came to participate in the live game. I played with black against the President of the Icelandic Chess Federation, Lilia Grettarsdottir. The game started 1.e4. Milos Popovic from Serbia, who was the d-pawn, asked me to sacrifice him as soon as possible. So I decided to play Scandinavian, 1...d5!?, practically first time in my life. The little baby in the carriage took him on d5...
…but suddenly the black pieces noticed that the bishop on c8 was missing. So poor Milos became the white-squared bishop and had to stay on f5 almost until the end of the game.
The next generation of chess players in Iceland
The final farewell picture of the World March and the chess tournament
Anastasiya (Nastja) Karlovich was Ukrainian champion and vice-champion among girls under 16, 18 and 20. She was European Champion with the Ukrainian team in the Youth Team Championships. She is also a candidate officer in the National Law Academy “Yaroslav the Wise”; a member of the chess club “Law Academy”; a member of the German club Grosslehna; the organiser of the WGM and GM closed tournaments “Cup of Rector”; a Woman Grandmaster since 2003.