Last round in Reykjavik

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/18/2015 – With 8.5/9 Erwin l'Ami was certain to win the Open in Reykjavik before the last round. Perhaps it was the lack of tension that made him lose against Pavel Eljanov in the final round. With this win Eljanov became second with 8.0/10, while third place went to Fabien Libiszewski, who also had 8.0/10 but the worse tie-break. Final round report...

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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.

Final Round

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 L'ami Erwin 2605 0 - 1 7 Eljanov Pavel 2727
2 Gupta Abhijeet 2625 7 ½ - ½ 7 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2756
3 Hammer Jon Ludvig 2651 7 ½ - ½ 7 Fier Alexandr 2601
4 Jones Gawain C B 2642 7 0 - 1 7 Libiszewski Fabien 2514
5 Hansen Eric 2566 7 ½ - ½ 7 Naroditsky Daniel 2633
6 Navara David 2736 0 - 1 Danielsen Henrik 2514
7 Melkumyan Hrant 2676 1 - 0 Pakleza Zbigniew 2498
8 Idani Pouya 2496 ½ - ½ Movsesian Sergei 2665
9 Grandelius Nils 2603 1 - 0 Petrov Nikita 2435
10 Grover Sahaj 2519 ½ - ½ Cornette Matthieu 2585
11 Nguyen Thai Dai Van 2338 0 - 1 Steingrimsson Hedinn *) 2530
12 Jussupow Artur 2573 1 - 0 Wang Yiye 2433
13 Maze Sebastien 2564 ½ - ½ Norowitz Yaacov 2422
14 Stefansson Hannes 2560 + - - Foisor Cristina-Adela 2394
15 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 2554 ½ - ½ Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2357
16 Gao Rui 2533 ½ - ½ Sarkar Justin 2376
17 Granda Zuniga Julio E 2646 6 1 - 0 6 Galego Luis 2461
18 Le Roux Jean-Pierre 2548 6 1 - 0 6 Shen Victor C 2401
19 Stopa Jacek 2544 6 0 - 1 6 Rosner Jonas 2324
20 Brunello Sabino 2540 6 0 - 1 6 Antal Tibor Kende 2317

All results...

Video Report by Vijay Kumar

Again Sagar Shah brings us an excellent series of annotated games, including the one where the tournament victor fell prey to eventual secondplace.

True, Erwin l'Ami was not playing for much, but Pavel Eljanov (above) was playing for his prize!

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.18"] [Round "10.1"] [White "L'Ami, Erwin"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D48"] [WhiteElo "2605"] [BlackElo "2727"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/2r1qppp/p3p3/P1nbP3/1pBB4/1P2QP2/6PP/R4RK1 w - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "34"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {What is the mind set of a player who has already won a tournament with a round to spare. As Erwin L'Ami revealed in his interview on ChessBase, " It was of course difficult to keep the same kind of focus and determination but I wouldn't blame my loss to this. I did want to finish the tournament on a high note but Pavel outplayed me fair and square." Let's have a look at what happened in the game. The position is around equal but it is from this point that L'Ami begins to go wrong.} 24. Bxc5 $6 (24. Rfc1 Rdc8 25. Bxd5 exd5 26. Bxc5 Rxc5 27. Rxc5 Rxc5 28. Qd4 $11 {White shouldn't have too many problems to hold the draw here.}) 24... Rxc5 25. Bxa6 $6 (25. Rfd1 {was much better.}) 25... Rc3 $1 {The b3 pawn falls.} 26. Qf2 Rxb3 {Both the sides have dangerous passers. But the two key differentiating factors are: 1. The bishop on d5 is well placed and can stop the a-pawn from queening by controlling the a8-square. 2. White's pawn on f3 slightly weakens his 2nd rank which makes him vulnerable to an attack. All in all this looks pretty promising for Black.} 27. Rfd1 Ra3 28. Bf1 h5 (28... Qc7 $5 {With a double attack on e5 and a5 was strong.} 29. a6 Qxe5 $17) 29. a6 h4 30. f4 g6 (30... h3 {It would have been quite good to flick in this move.} 31. g3 {The scope of the bishop on d5 has increased.} (31. f5 $2 exf5 32. Qxf5 Rxa1 33. Rxa1 hxg2 34. Bxg2 Bxg2 35. Kxg2 Rd2+ 36. Kg3 Qc5 $19) 31... b3 32. Bxh3 Rxa1 33. Rxa1 Qb4 $1 34. Rb1 Qe4 $19 {And you can see how the weakness on the h1-a8 diagonal proves to be fatal.}) 31. Rac1 Rb8 32. Rd2 b3 33. h3 Ra2 {As can be seen, black forces co-ordinate perfectly and there is nothing much White can do.} 34. Rb1 Rc8 35. Kh2 Rxd2 36. Qxd2 Rc2 37. Qa5 Kg7 $1 {A very nice prophylactic move getting the king off the last rank.} 38. a7 (38. Ra1 b2 39. Rb1 Qa7 $19) 38... Ra2 39. Qe1 Rxa7 {The pawn is lost and so is the game.} 40. Be2 Ra2 {A very well played game by Eljanov who finished second in this event.} 0-1

Of course, first place was not the only thing being fought for in the tournament:

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.18"] [Round "10.4"] [White "Jones, Gawain C B"] [Black "Libiszewski, Fabien"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C05"] [WhiteElo "2642"] [BlackElo "2514"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {Gawain Jones is quite a theoretical expert when it comes to the openings. But in his last round game against Fabien Libiszewski he was completely clueless and Black chalked up a nearly effortless win.} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ngf3 {The Korchnoi Gambit is becoming an increasing popular weapon in the Tarrasch French. It has been proved that winning the d4 pawn leads to dangerous initiative for White and hence Libiszewski's approach in this game calls for closer inspection by black players.} f6 $5 {This move ranks at number five in number of times being played after Qb6, cxd4, Be7 and g6.} (7... cxd4 8. cxd4 Qb6 9. O-O Nxd4 10. Nxd4 Qxd4 11. Nf3 Qb6 12. Qa4 $1 $36 {And with the queen shifting to g4, gives White a dangerous initiative.}) 8. exf6 Nxf6 9. O-O cxd4 10. cxd4 (10. Nxd4 { was worth considering as was tried by Svidler against Ponomariov.} Bd6 11. N2f3 O-O 12. Re1 Re8 13. Bg5 $1 {gives White an edge.}) 10... Bd6 11. b3 O-O 12. Bb2 Bd7 13. a3 {stopping Nb4 ideas and looking to gain space with b4-b5.} (13. Ne5 {looks ideal but is met with the common relocating move} Be8 $1 14. Ndf3 Bh5 $11 {When Black has activated his worst piece and no longer stands worse.}) 13... a5 14. Re1 Qb6 {Putting pressure on the d4 pawn in such a way that Ne5 becomes impossible. The knight on d2 is lacking good squares to go to.} 15. Rc1 Rae8 16. Nb1 {Gawain understands the problem related to his d2 knight but such undeveloping moves cannot be any good.} Kh8 $6 {Black's idea is to prevent Nc3 as then the d4 pawn would fall. But he missed a very strong opportunity to seize the initiative.} (16... e5 $1 {would have been very strong with latent pressure on the f2 point.} 17. dxe5 (17. Nxe5 Bxe5 18. dxe5 Ng4 $19) 17... Ng4 18. exd6 Qxf2+ 19. Kh1 Rxe1+ 20. Qxe1 Rxf3 $1 21. Qxf2 Nxf2+ 22. Kg1 Rxd3 $19) 17. Qe2 $6 {Gawain gives up the b3 pawn without any real compensation.} (17. Nc3 Nxd4 18. Nxd4 Qxd4) 17... Qxb3 (17... e5 $1 {was once again very strong.} 18. dxe5 Ng4 $17) 18. Ba1 Qb6 19. Rc2 e5 $1 {Black gets in this very important break and gets a nearly winning position.} 20. dxe5 Ng4 21. Rb2 Qa7 22. exd6 Rxe2 23. Rbxe2 Qc5 $17 {Black has a clear advantage and went on to win the game. This win helped Libiszewski to get the third place.} 0-1

Finally a strong performance from the Black player, who sealed Navara's poor participation:

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.18"] [Round "10.6"] [White "Navara, David"] [Black "Danielsen, Henrik"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C41"] [WhiteElo "2736"] [BlackElo "2514"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {Henrik Danielsen defeated his much higher rated opponent by employing one of the most solid openings from the black side- the Philidor.} 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. a4 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Re1 exd4 9. Nxd4 Ne5 10. Ba2 Re8 11. h3 a5 12. Be3 {White has a space advantage thanks to his pawn on e4 as compared to the black pawn on d6. White has his pieces excellent placed. His bishop on a2 is a monster! The same cannot be said about the black pieces. They are clumsily placed. The rook on a8 and bishop on c8 are yet to be developed and the knight on e5 will be pushed away by the pawn on f4. But this is precisely what Black wants. He wants White to overextend his position before striking back. This theme of counter-attack is perfectly illustrated in this game.} Bf8 13. Qd2 Ng6 14. f3 Be6 15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. f4 {Navara sees nothing wrong in advancing his pawns and at this point in the game he definitely has quite a substantial edge.} Kh8 {Still waiting. Not doing anything concrete.} (16... d5 {was possible but after} 17. f5 (17. e5 Nd7 $132) 17... exf5 18. exd5 $14 {The position is opening up for the White bishops.}) 17. f5 exf5 18. exf5 Ne5 {Staying solid.} 19. Bd4 {Not letting Black easily execute the move d5.} Ned7 20. Rxe8 Qxe8 21. Re1 Qh5 22. Be6 $1 {White had to make this move or else his bishop would have been locked out of the game after the move d5.} d5 23. Qe3 $6 {Maybe Navara's only inaccurate move since move one but now Black pieces suddenly come to life.} (23. Qf4 {was better.}) 23... Qh4 $1 {The threat is to take on d4 and then play Bc5. Notice how Black's pawn structure is much better than White's.} 24. g4 $6 (24. Kh1 Bd6 $132) 24... Bc5 $1 25. Re2 $2 (25. Rd1 Bxd4 26. Rxd4 {Black has absolutely no problems but White is also alright.}) 25... Nxg4 $1 {This is precisely what I was talking about. White's over extended position gets ripped to shreds by this sacrifice.} 26. f6 (26. hxg4 Qxg4+ 27. Rg2 Qxd4 $19) 26... Qxf6 $1 27. Bxf6 Ngxf6 28. Bxd7 Nxd7 29. Qxc5 Nxc5 {Black is just two pawns up without any compensation and Henrik Danielsen mops up the game without any difficulty.} 30. Re7 Kg8 31. Ne2 Kf8 32. Rc7 Re8 33. Kf1 Re3 34. c3 Rxh3 35. b4 axb4 36. cxb4 Nxa4 37. Rxb7 Rh4 38. Kf2 Nb2 39. Kf3 Nd3 {A perfect game for the adherents of this quiet but not venomless opening called Philidor.} 0-1

Impressions by Alina l'Ami

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov did not finish in the winner's circle. Or the next-to-winner's.

A draw inthe last rounds favoured the Brazilian player, who finished fourth

American prodigy Daniel Naroditsky drew Canadian super-star Eric Hansen

David Navara finished with a loss

Sergei Movsesian simply didn't find his groove

Commonly known as a "thinking mask"

Jon Ludvig Hammer from Norway

Unexpected top finisher: Libiszewski Fabien

Abhijeet Gupta

Tania Sachdev

Winner's circle

Closing Ceremony

Final Standings

Rk. Name FED RtgI Pts. rtg+/-
1 L'ami Erwin NED 2605 8.5 26.8
2 Eljanov Pavel UKR 2727 8.0 3.7
3 Libiszewski Fabien FRA 2514 8.0 20.4
4 Fier Alexandr BRA 2601 7.5 16.4
5 Naroditsky Daniel USA 2633 7.5 6.6
6 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2756 7.5 -1.7
7 Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2676 7.5 -2.6
8 Hansen Eric CAN 2566 7.5 13.8
9 Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2651 7.5 -2.9
10 Gupta Abhijeet IND 2625 7.5 6.5
11 Stefansson Hannes ISL 2560 7.5 3.6
12 Danielsen Henrik ISL 2514 7.5 10.4
13 Jussupow Artur GER 2573 7.5 8.7
14 Grandelius Nils SWE 2603 7.5 -0.7
15 Gao Rui CHN 2533 7.0 6.9
16 Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2646 7.0 -2.4
17 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn ISL 2554 7.0 1.6
18 Jones Gawain C B ENG 2642 7.0 -7.1
19 Maze Sebastien FRA 2564 7.0 7.8
20 Norowitz Yaacov USA 2422 7.0 13.3

All pairings of round ten...

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Photos by Alina l'Ami

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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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