Reykjavik Chess Festival 2012 under way

by ChessBase
3/8/2012 – This popular tournament, which has drawn 200 players (including 25 GMs and 20 IMs), is taking place from March 6 to 13 in the capital of Iceland. The venue is the spectacular, newly-finished Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, and the players have a direct view of the harbour and ocean. WGM Alina L'Ami, who is playing in the tournament, has send us this report after round three.

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N1 Reykjavik Chess Festival 2012

WGM Alina L'Ami reports from the world's most northerly capital

The N1 Reykjavik Open 2012 is being held from March 6 to March 13, 2012, in Harpa, Reykjavik's spectacular new music hall on the harbour, just five minutes walk to downtown Reykjavik. The event is a nine-round Swiss, with top players including Fabiano Caruana, David Navara, Ivan Cheparinov, Ivan Sokolov, Hou Yifan, Robert Hess, Gawain Jones, Yuriy Kuzubov, Erwin l'Ami, and many others. The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds increment from move one. Prizes are € 5,000 for the winner, € 2,000 for second place, € 1,250 for 3rd, etc., with a total of € 15,000.

Panorama view of the harbour front of Reykjavik – pan to the right to see the playing venue...

... the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, the pride of the Icelandic capital

The structure consists of a steel framework clad with irregularly-shaped glass panels of different colours. The building is the first purpose-built concert hall in Reykjavík and houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and The Icelandic Opera.

The opening concert was held on here on May 4, 2011

The opening ceremony, immediately before the start of round one

The tournament is officially opened, the ceremonial first move being made...

... by city council member Óttarr Proppé for the reigning women's world champion.

Hou faced the many times Icelandic women's chess champion, WFM Gudlaug
The game ended 1-0 for Hou Yifan in 25 moves.

Fabiano Caruana vs Christin Andersson – Black won in 44 moves

Considering the location, near the water, the design of the "Harpa Concert Hall" and its impressive windows makes me think of fishermen's nets or actual fish scales. It's quite relaxing to give your eyes a break from the tough positions on the board and gaze through the window glass into the harbor. I suppose it will bring a lot of inspiration to the 200 players, of which 25 are GMs and 20 IMs.

Breathtaking: the view through the multi-colored panes of the tournament hall

Erwin L'Ami vs Henriksson Johan in round one: Erwin won in 29 moves

One of the top GMs (fifth seed) Ivan Sokolov of the Netherlands

One of the stars: sixth seed Hou Yifan, Women's World Champion

GM Ivan Cheparinov, wearing a "Mertenitsa" around his wrist

The Mertenitsa is made of red and white threads and is an ancient Bulgarian tradition to welcome Spring. We have the same tradition in Romania. The white is a symbol of strength, purity and happiness; the red is associated with health, blood, conception, and fertility. When someone gives you a Martenitsa you should wear it either pinned on your clothes, tied around the wrist, or around your neck, until you see a stork. I guess Ivan will wear it until he will return home, I didn't see any storks around here.

Addendum: Petar Majetovski of Portland, Oregon, USA, writes: "This otherwise spectacular report by Alina L'Ami, contains a small error. The so-called Martenitsa is neither a Bulgarian or Romanian tradition. It is mentioned by Aristophanes, the Greek commedian and writer a thousand years before the aforementioned nations first appeared. The custom or tradition is prevalent in the Balkans, I have seen it from Crete to Belgrade, but there is little doubt that it is of Hellenic (Greek) origin. It has just been adopted by many other nations in the region."

Spectators watching the live games

After the games the players gather in the analysis room

Inside the building there are a number of excellent restaurants
with a selection of Indian, Icelandic, bio, etc.

Top standings after three rounds

Name FED
1 GM Hess Robert L USA 2635 3.0 5.5 2.0 5.50
2 GM Caruana Fabiano ITA 2767 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM Navara David CZE 2700 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM Sokolov Ivan NED 2653 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2635 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM L'ami Erwin NED 2611 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM Ipatov Alexander TUR 2561 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM Williams Simon K ENG 2506 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
   GM Kristjansson Stefan ISL 2500 3.0 5.0 2.0 5.00
10 GM Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2664 3.0 4.5 1.5 4.50
11 GM Baklan Vladimir UKR 2612 3.0 4.0 1.5 4.00
   GM Avrukh Boris ISR 2591 3.0 4.0 1.5 4.00
13 GM Danielsen Henrik ISL 2504 3.0 4.0 1.0 5.50
14 FM Coleman Teddy USA 2356 3.0 4.0 1.0 4.00
15 IM Bartholomew John USA 2440 2.5 6.5 2.0 5.25
16 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2666 2.5 6.0 2.0 4.75
   IM Thorfinnsson Bragi ISL 2421 2.5 6.0 2.0 4.75
18 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2639 2.5 5.5 2.0 4.25
   GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2615 2.5 5.5 2.0 4.25
   GM Maze Sebastien FRA 2577 2.5 5.5 2.0 4.25
   GM Stefansson Hannes ISL 2531 2.5 5.5 2.0 4.25
22 IM Arnold Marc T USA 2502 2.5 5.0 1.5 4.25
23 GM Kveinys Aloyzas LTU 2512 2.5 5.0 1.5 3.75
   FM Trella Thomas GER 2410 2.5 5.0 1.5 3.75
   FM Aguera Naredo Javier ESP 2358 2.5 5.0 1.5 3.75
   IM Vuilleumier Alexandre SUI 2350 2.5 5.0 1.5 3.75
   WGM Cherednichenko Svetlana UKR 2279 2.5 5.0 1.5 3.75
28 GM Halkias Stelios GRE 2588 2.5 4.5 1.5 3.75
29 GM Steingrimsson Hedinn ISL 2556 2.5 4.5 1.5 3.50
   IM Hunt Adam C ENG 2454 2.5 4.5 1.5 3.50
31 IM Ziska Helgi Dam FAI 2456 2.5 4.0 1.5 3.25
   IM Thomassen Joachim NOR 2400 2.5 4.0 1.5 3.25
33 GM Ashley Maurice USA 2452 2.5 3.5 1.5 2.75

Video reports

The Reykjavik Open is producing a daily review of highlights, hosted by GM Simon Williams, IM Björn Thorfinnsson, and FM Ingvar Johannesson. The videos are produced by Macauley Peterson.

Briefing from round one

Briefing from round two


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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