Returning to Rekyjavik

by Alina l'Ami
5/8/2017 – There is clearly something that works in the formula of the Reykjavik Open, which continues to attract a wide range of players every year, from the world's elite such as Giri, Andreikin, and Jobava this year, to rank amateurs who pack the venue. Looking back at the tournament and locale is Alina L'Ami in her report with games, quiz positions and of course high-res photos!

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We might hold on to the idea that variety's the very spice of life. But we are humans and humans are creatures of habit. I know I am, as in the past couple of years I became a regular at the Reykjavik Open. Shockingly, I am not the only one.

Back to take what's his: seated number one, ended number one (click to enlarge)

Faithful customers are flying in year after year, joined by ambitious newcomers, young talents, plus experienced and legendary names. The starting list is very compact, making it a tough affair for both the top players and the driven-yet-less-famous-ones.

It takes a lot of chocolate to withstand all those tough guys...

...and many hours to travel all the way from the US, but GM Joshua Friedel knows it is worth the effort

The packed venue

Why the Reykjavik Open?

Only five seconds are needed to scan the players' list and to conclude that indeed, the event is formatted to suit a wide variety of participants.

No introduction required - Beliavsky

Yet another Indian prodigy – Nihal Sarin

The women section gold was claimed by Harika Dronavalli...

...under the close watch of another regular: Tatev Abrahamyan.

It is a professional tournament, sewed for the professionals, yet 'ama-touristic' enough to mellow out the inevitable rush of blood to the head, commonly seen in the chess scenes.

Chess can be pretty cool

As if all the players morphed into pros, the desire to perform well is visible in nearly any game. However, the chilaxed Icelanders can't allow for grumpy faces thus a wide range of side activities are available as well.

If for any reason you can't join the excursions, there will always be a friend to show you around. After all, Fischer's legacy is calling.

The tournament's signature

When I am playing in a stunning building I feel that chess is respected and that I am respected as a chess player too.

Harpa, the tournament venue

The organizers can't go wrong with Harpa, Reykjavik's Concert Hall and one of its greatest landmarks. True, given the musical rehearsals above the playing hall, one time the players were accompanied by slightly more distinguishable sounds than a harp could produce. But for those who can't work on music, the arbiters promptly presented an alternative: earplugs.

Your author in jealous mode: some can focus no matter what

And yet, no efficient antidote against the Icelandic weather has been found. Even though the organizers shifted the usual March dates into April, the starting of the Icelandic 'summer' didn't coincide with Nature's plans.

The steaming 2 degrees are not quite convincing. But with the Icelanders' spirit and colorful walls the thermometer reaches...30°C.

Truth be told, it would be a bit dull to have a hot land in Iceland. It is much more fun to watch the clouds through your window and get amazed by how quickly a rain can change into snow, then hail, then rain again, all within a one minute frame. Of course the sun and the wind will make sure you will reconsider your outfit and plans a zillion times before going out as well.

What changed

When the standards are high it becomes more challenging to make visible progress. But Reykjavik Open does it every year. It is all in the details, from the organizational smoothness to the tailored attention of each individual's specifications.

A wide selection of restaurants are available to make you feel special, pampered and forget about that 64 board.

A more noticeable change implies the tiebreak rules:

  1. direct encounter,
  2. the greater number of wins,
  3. the greater number of games with black

For those who thought this would disadvantage Anish Giri, he convincingly proved the unbelievers wrong.

Sole winner with a remarkable 8.5/10. Allow me to adjust the saying: beside (and not behind) every strong man there is a powerful woman.

The King's Day was a true celebration on the boards of the Dutch players: 27th April brought Anish Giri 1st place and Jorden van Foreest 2nd.

behind every successful tournament there is a big team of hard working people. Thank you all for yet another great edition of the Reykjavik Open.

Final standings

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts  TB  Perf rtg+/-
1 1 GM Giri Anish NED 2771 8,5 55,0 2865 10,7
2 16 GM Van Foreest Jorden NED 2584 8,0 52,5 2699 15,0
3 6 GM Movsesian Sergei ARM 2677 8,0 52,0 2729 6,4
4 14 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2607 8,0 53,0 2775 22,8
5 9 GM Kamsky Gata USA 2668 8,0 52,0 2736 8,4
6 61 IM Kavutskiy Konstantin USA 2347 7,5 46,5 2505 43,4
7 22 GM Blomqvist Erik SWE 2548 7,5 45,0 2443 -8,8
8 55 FM Pigott John C ENG 2381 7,5 46,5 2492 27,2
9 10 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2641 7,5 55,0 2757 17,1
10 4 GM Almasi Zoltan HUN 2696 7,5 54,0 2746 6,7
11 17 GM Can Emre TUR 2578 7,0 49,0 2577 2,7
12 27 GM Perelshteyn Eugene USA 2509 7,0 48,5 2512 2,6
13 36 GM Torre Eugenio PHI 2455 7,0 44,5 2464 3,2
14 11 GM L'ami Erwin NED 2614 7,0 50,0 2575 -2,2
  23 GM Hjartarson Johann ISL 2536 7,0 50,0 2559 5,2
  40 IM Christiansen Johan-Sebastian NOR 2429 7,0 50,0 2526 14,5
17 25 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2521 7,0 48,5 2509 2,0
18 57 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev USA 2364 7,0 48,0 2432 22,4
19 18 GM Stefansson Hannes ISL 2566 7,0 43,5 2536 -0,5
20 39 IM Hambleton Aman CAN 2434 7,0 53,0 2619 25,9
21 2 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 2734 7,0 51,0 2629 -10,7
22 12 GM Yilmaz Mustafa TUR 2614 7,0 50,5 2602 0,5
23 15 GM Beliavsky Alexander G SLO 2597 7,0 48,5 2510 -8,0
24 30 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2491 7,0 47,5 2500 3,7
25 35 IM Thorfinnsson Bragi ISL 2457 7,0 46,0 2461 3,5
26 8 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2670 7,0 54,5 2689 5,1
27 20 GM Donchenko Alexander GER 2554 7,0 52,5 2600 7,8
28 13 GM Landa Konstantin RUS 2611 7,0 50,0 2595 0,2
29 26 IM Bailet Pierre FRA 2510 7,0 49,5 2486 -1,0
30 69 FM Kleinman Michael CAN 2289 6,5 50,5 2489 51,6

Click for complete standings


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Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.
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drawattack drawattack 5/19/2017 04:47
Alina reports are the best Chessbase reports IMHO. I love the photos and the text. The chess content is nice, but I really love the way she shows the tournaments environments and neighbourhoods, giving us a chance to feel a little bit how is the globetrotter life of a professional chessplayer. And she does that with an enormous soul.

@drcloak: you must be fun at parties.

@CostaMaison3: You don't need to: you can go read another report elsewhere. As for me, I love it! Alina, keep sending more, please!
Zmeu Zmeu 5/11/2017 10:42
@drcloak If you were interested exclusively in chess content, you wouldn't be reading chessbase news articles but would rather just download the latest twic pgn file (and would not even care about the names of the players.) Also, we humans are not as objective as we'd like to believe. You view the author's comment as "meaningless feminism," I see it as a window into some human relationships. One could also bash your statement on "real" women and alpha-males as meaningless or irrelevant, btw; the interpretations are endless.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 5/11/2017 09:37

You can attach any labels you want to the saying, but it is about powerful women, who as unsung heroes help their significant others, it is about the need for powerful support for males, but says nothing about powerful women needing any help. It is not really sexist, normal people will not treat men and women equally, because they are different. They need to be equally respected, but men will never give birth to children and women will always be much weaker on average than men. Blacks will always be better in basketball and boxing, Japanese will be very good at math and so on and so on and so on. We should respect everyone as they are and I consider disrespectful and unscientific to negate the differences. Historically men were the politicians and the powerful figures and they were helped by women. That's fact and not sexism. Nowadays women have the same access to powerful positions as men and we still see far less women applying and succeeding there. We can pretend this is not real and enforce quotas to hide the differences, but the differences will be existent inside and outside the safe places.
drcloak drcloak 5/11/2017 01:13
@Zmeu This is supposed to be an article on chess. There are plenty of men in the world that became powerful and independent without any women helping them achieve that status. In fact, real women gravitate towards powerful alpha males, that is how the biology works. The author is trying to insert random, meaningless feminism into a chess article.
Zmeu Zmeu 5/10/2017 08:43
Clearly, drcloak should have picked ballet instead of chess.
benedictralph benedictralph 5/10/2017 01:55

"So we, men cannot really be powerful without a powerful woman's help, but nothing restricts a woman from being powerful without us,..."

That's really sexist.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 5/10/2017 09:02

No, it does not imply it. If there is a powerful woman beside the powerful man in each case of powerful man, we cannot rule out the possibility of a powerful woman who has no powerful man beside her. So we, men cannot really be powerful without a powerful woman's help, but nothing restricts a woman from being powerful without us, therefore the saying is not insulting to women (this is just the formal logic behind the saying, but I think the saying really means the support we need in order to become successsful). Quite the contrary.


All of us have political views. I am not a liberal and am very critical towards liberalism, yet I have no problem if one adds some political or even philosophical thoughts to the articles. Of course, there are limits, for instance Tiger Hillarp Persson's "joke" about "being afraid" that he will be jailed by nazis:

"[...] is the starting position of the above mentioned Marshal Attack. I'm too old to get familiar with it. Perhaps I would, if jailed by nazis and left with only a monograph (written by Peter Svidler) to fend for my own sanity, eventually be able to say something sensible about this position. And although the likelyhood of this scenario has increased lately, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until some time next year, at least. (Seeing the draw looming twenty moves ahead, you'll have to excuse me for trying to pump up the drama a bit.)"

Back to the saying it is about the support you need behind the scenes if you are to become successful. I think the saying really means that the significant other is needed to achieve success. And I think the word "behind" is far more correct than "beside", because it suggests that there is a lot of work done by unsung heroes to support the heroes we all know. It is not derogatory to women, as it really shows that the significant other's love boosts us. We will rarely read about the great help of Guramishvili, yet it is obvious that she helps a lot Giri.
drcloak drcloak 5/10/2017 12:01
@PatrickP No, she never told me that. But yours has recently given me permission to release the sex tapes of us.
PatrickP PatrickP 5/9/2017 11:03
@drcloak: didn't your mother tell you to stay away from the testosteron pills?
FramiS FramiS 5/9/2017 10:03
@fgkdjlkag I think it is an open secrect that at least top players like Anish Giri enjoy appearence money.
CostaMaison3 CostaMaison3 5/9/2017 08:25
Why do we need to know about this minor tournament?
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 5/9/2017 06:27
I am curious why so many top players play in Reyjavik. It must be very expensive to fly there from all over the world? Can someone estimate the cost for a top player to play?
benedictralph benedictralph 5/9/2017 06:02
"Allow me to adjust the saying: beside (and not behind) every strong man there is a powerful woman."

This is rather insulting to women methinks. Does it also imply the reverse? That is, beside every strong woman there is a powerful man? If not, why not?
drcloak drcloak 5/9/2017 05:49
"Allow me to adjust the saying: beside (and not behind) every strong man there is a powerful woman." It couldn't just be an article about chess; you had to inject your daily dose of feminism into the piece. Reykjavik does seem like a libtard's paradise.
Malcom Malcom 5/9/2017 03:58
bravo...great report.
algorithmy algorithmy 5/9/2017 01:54
I think the title is misspelled, it should be "Reykjavik"
but altogether a very nice report thx!