Johann Hjartarson is back

by André Schulz
6/15/2016 – In the 1980s the Icelandic GM Johann Hjartarson was one of the best players in the world. He played in the candidate matches, where he won against Kortschnoi but then lost against Karpov. Later, however, he played less and less. But now he is back and just won the Icelandic Championships. One of the first to congratulate was Icelandic GM Fridrik Olafsson.

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The Icelandic Championships were played in the beginning of June in Reykjavik. Reykjavik was once the city with the highest number of grandmasters per capita but over the years more and more grandmasters in Reykjavik have become less and less active.

But Reykjavik still has a striving chess life. Chess professionals and chess tourists alike find the Reykjavik Open attractive, and as the place where Fischer and Spassky played their legendary World Championship in 1972 Reykjavik is a firm part of chess history. And for many players Fischer's grave in Iceland has become a kind of pilgrimage site.

This year three grandmasters took part in the National Championships: Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson, Hedinn Steingrimsson and Johann Hjartarson. In the 1980s Hjatarson played in the Candidate Matches and was one of the world's best players. In 1988 he won his candidate match against Viktor Kortschnoi though he later lost his match against Anatoly Karpov. After 2000 Hjatarson has more and more withdrawn from chess but now he plays again - for instance in the Blitz World Championship 2015 in Berlin. In the Icelandic Championships 2016 he showed that he is still very strong. With six wins, five draws and not a single loss he scored 8.5/11 to become Icelandic Champion 2016. Half a point behind followed Hedinn Steingrimsson with 8.0/11.

Johann Hjatarson

Hjatarson is also still tactically alert as he proved in the following game against GM Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson.



The crucial encounter between Hedinn Steingrimsson (right, with Black) and
Johann Hjartarson ended with a draw.


Final standings




Icelandic chess legend Fridrik Olafsson was one of the first to congratulate.

Photos: Tournament page...


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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