Starting Thursday: European Championship in Reyjkavik

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/24/2021 – The 2021 European Individual Championship is set to take place from August 26 to September 5 at the Hotel Natura (pictured) in Reykjavík, Iceland. A field of 184 players will fight to get a share of the €100,000 prize fund and one of the 23 spots at the FIDE World Cup that are in offer. Gawain Jones, Gabrial Sargissian and David Navara are the rating favourites.

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Eyeing for a spot in the World Cup

The Icelandic Chess Federation is hosting the 2021 European Championship. The tournament will take place in Reykjavík, although the playing venue will not be the Harpa Conference Centre — where the Reykjavík Open took place in recent years — but the traditional Hotel Natura. During the World Championship match against Boris Spassky in 1972, Bobby Fischer stayed at this very hotel. In 1977, the Candidates match between Spassky and Hort was also played in this venue.

The total prize fund for the 2021 European Championship is 100,000 Euros, with 20,000 Euros reserved for first place. The European Championship is also a qualifying tournament for the next World Cup — the 23 top scorers will get a ticket to the prestigious event.

In case of a tie for one of the qualifying spots, the tiebreak criteria detailed in the regulations for the 2023 FIDE World Cup will be enforced:

  • Average Rating of Opponents Cut 1 (AROC 1)*
  • Buchholz Cut 1**;
  • Buchholz;
  • Direct encounter between the players in tie;
  • Drawing of lots.   

* Average Rating of Opponents, excluding the lowest-rated opponent.
** Buchholz score reduced by the lowest score of the opponents.

The Championship will be an 11-round open Swiss, with a time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game and an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from the first move. 

The first round will be played on August 26, and there will be no rest days. Rounds 1 to 10 kick off at 15.00 local time (17.00 CEST, 11.00 ET), while the last round will start two hours earlier.

Jones, Sargissian and Navara head the field

Not a single 2700+ rated player has registered to participate. Two years ago, six players with a rating above 2700 made their way to Skopje to play in the 2019 European Championship. The top three seeds back then hailed from Russia, while this year the highest-rated Russian representative will be Alexey Sarana (2643 Elo).

Nevertheless, the tournament features a mix of very strong, experienced players and young stars motivated to enter the next World Championship cycle. Top seeds are Gawain Jones (England, 2684), Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia, 2682) and David Navara (Czech Republic, 2675).

Registered players

No. Name Rtg
1 Jones Gawain C B 2684
2 Sargissian Gabriel 2682
3 Navara David 2675
4 Bluebaum Matthias 2674
5 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 2671
6 Grandelius Nils 2666
7 Lupulescu Constantin 2659
8 Donchenko Alexander 2657
9 Abasov Nijat 2656
10 Mamedov Rauf 2654
11 Saric Ivan 2653
12 Sarana Alexey 2643
13 Deac Bogdan-Daniel 2639
14 Martirosyan Haik M. 2632
15 Paravyan David 2631
16 Lagarde Maxime 2631
17 Banusz Tamas 2631
18 Vocaturo Daniele 2630
19 Yilmaz Mustafa 2630
20 Hovhannisyan Robert 2626
21 Durarbayli Vasif 2625
22 Ter-Sahakyan Samvel 2624
23 Fridman Daniel 2621
24 Gajewski Grzegorz 2617
25 Svane Rasmus 2615
26 Erdos Viktor 2614
27 Bartel Mateusz 2611
28 Bosiocic Marin 2610
29 Piorun Kacper 2608
30 Antipov Mikhail Al. 2607
31 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 2603
32 Keymer Vincent 2602

...184 players

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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Queenslander Queenslander 8/25/2021 01:36
A very sensible choice during Covid! I stayed at the Natura while attending an academic conference a few years ago. It's a comfortable hotel, despite oddly small rooms (maybe it was once some kind of dormitory?) with a luxury spa in the basement and a little Fischer vs Spassky match museum at the end of one wing on the ground floor. Good luck to all (but go Gawain!) and don't miss out on the world-class sightseeing tours in close proximity to Reykjavík.
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