Reykjavik Open 2009 – chess in geothermal splendor

by ChessBase
4/13/2009 – Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Many cars run on fuel cells, since Iceland is also one of a few countries capable of producing hydrogen in adequate quantities using geothermal energy. Anastasiya Karlovich uses the occasion of the Reykjavik Open tournament to retrace Fischer's path and to tell us more about this exciting North Atlantic island.

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Reykjavik Open 2009

Photo report by WGM Anastasiya Karlovich

Iceland is an island of 103,000 square kilometers and around 5000 kilometers of coastline, making it the 16th largest island in the world. The population of the country is about 322,000, but it more than doubles during the year thanks to travelers and tourists.

Iceland is a traditional country of chess and the place where the “match of the century” was held. This land of waterfalls and daffodils has changed drastically in recent months. the banks went bankrupt and brought down with them hundreds of companies and individuals. However, tourists are now flocking to Iceland as never before. Hotels are fairly cheap, as well as most consumer goods. If you want to buy Armani, Boss, Gucci, or other expensive labels, Iceland is the place to shop. And there are many wonderful places to visit in or close to the capital. You can go swimming in one of Reykjavik's geothermal outdoor swimming pools, go to the gym or just relax and prepare for your next game in your comfortable hotel room.

In spite of the financial crisis the traditional Reykjavik Open was organized by the Icelandic Chess Federation and the Reykjavik Chess Academy, and was conducted on the high level. The tournament took place from March 23rd to April 1st. Rate of play: 90 min. / 40 moves + 15 minutes after 40 moves. 30 sec. increment for every move. Four players Hedinn Steingrimsson, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Hannes Stefansson and Mihail Marin scored 7.0/9 at the tournament and shared the top placres in the cross table.

Final ranking after nine rounds

Rk. Ti. Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3  Rp
1 GM Steingrimsson Hedinn ISL 2547 7.0 51.0 39.5 39.25 2673
2 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2604 7.0 51.0 39.5 38.25 2674
3 GM Stefansson Hannes ISL 2563 7.0 49.0 38.5 37.50 2667
  GM Marin Mihail ROU 2556 7.0 49.0 38.5 37.50 2654
5 GM Areshchenko Alexander UKR 2673 6.5 53.0 42.5 37.50 2617
6 GM Shulman Yuri USA 2639 6.5 51.0 39.5 35.00 2627
7 IM Vocaturo Daniele ITA 2445 6.5 50.5 40.0 33.75 2642
8 IM Roussel-Roozmon Thh CAN 2479 6.5 44.5 34.5 31.25 2536
9 IM Popovic Milos T SRB 2400 6.5 42.5 32.5 29.00 2471
10 IM Shytaj Luca ITA 2453 6.5 42.0 32.5 29.00 2486
11 GM Maze Sebastien FRA 2579 6.0 49.5 39.0 32.50 2555
12 GM Conquest Stuart C ENG 2531 6.0 49.5 38.0 30.00 2553
13 IM Grandelius Nils SWE 2464 6.0 48.0 36.5 31.00 2511
14 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2569 6.0 46.0 35.5 29.00 2502
15 GM Nataf Igor-Alexandre FRA 2533 6.0 45.0 34.5 27.75 2508
16 GM Williams Simon K ENG 2507 6.0 43.5 34.0 28.50 2437
17 GM Siebrecht Sebastian GER 2440 6.0 43.0 33.5 25.25 2458
18 IM Harika Dronavalli IND 2473 6.0 40.5 32.5 26.50 2381
19 IM Ris Robert NED 2436 5.5 48.0 37.0 26.25 2427
20 IM Breder Dennis GER 2427 5.5 46.0 36.0 26.25 2465
21 GM Danielsen Henrik ISL 2482 5.5 46.0 35.5 25.25 2408
22 IM Caspi Israel ISR 2402 5.5 45.0 36.0 24.75 2442
23 IM Lund Esben DEN 2421 5.5 44.5 34.5 24.75 2412
24 FM Kjartansson Gudmundur ISL 2365 5.5 42.0 32.0 21.75 2379
25 GM Bhat Vinay S USA 2495 5.5 41.5 32.5 24.50 2387
26 IM Kristjansson Stefan ISL 2472 5.5 41.5 31.5 23.75 2346
27 GM Thorhallsson Throstur ISL 2442 5.5 41.5 31.5 23.00 2397
28 IM Thorfinnsson Bragi ISL 2383 5.5 41.0 31.5 22.75 2346
29 IM Gunnarsson Jon Viktor ISL 2463 5.5 40.0 33.0 23.25 2224
30 IM Arngrimsson Dagur ISL 2404 5.5 40.0 30.0 22.25 2296
31 FM Lucaroni Massimiliano ITA 2310 5.5 36.0 29.5 19.75 2231
32 IM Meszaros Michal SVK 2376 5.0 55.0 43.5 28.50 2503
33 GM Hillarp Persson Tiger SWE 2586 5.0 52.0 40.5 26.50 2470

Full table with 110 players here...

Pictorial impressions from Reykjavik

A view of the city

Swans and other water birds on the lake, with the Free Lutheran Church in the background

The new concert hall, under construction, has fallen victim to the economic crisis
and hasn't been completed. The statue on the right appears to appeal for funds.

Iceland is an attractive place for tourists. Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is a waterfall located
in the canyon of Hvita River in southwest Iceland. It has two stages, 11 and 21 metres high.

The grand beauty of Gullfoss in late Winter

During the first half of the 20th century and some years into the late 20th century, there was much speculation about using Gullfoss to generate electricity. Sigríður Tómasdóttir was determined to preserve the natural beauty and even threatened to throw herself into the waterfall. This popular story that Sigríður did save the waterfall from use is widely believed. Fact or fiction but now this magnificent natural wonder is protected and opened for tourists.

"Geysir" (from which the English word geyser is derived), erupts every 5-10 minutes

There are around thirty much smaller geysers and hot pools in the area

Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is volcanically and geologically extremely active. Over 99% of the country's electricity is produced from hydropower and geothermal energy. All over the country there are filling stations dispensing hydrogen fuel for cars powered by fuel cells, since Iceland is also one of a few countries currently capable of producing hydrogen in adequate quantities at a reasonable cost, because of the plentiful geothermal energy. The country is also warmed by the Gulf Stream, giving it a temperate climate relative to its latitude.

A modest church on a private cemetery in southern Iceland where Robert Fisher's grave is located

The headstone of the grave. the 17th of January is a sad day for the chess players.
This year the famous Ukrainian GM Alexander Moroz died on the same date.

The book store which Fisher frequented

The chair where the former World Champion liked to sit and read for a couple of hours daily

Actress Thordis Bioric Thorfinnsdotir (sister of sister of Bjorn) singing “Halleluiah” at the opening ceremony

It is interesting that people in Iceland don't have the surnames. They use the names of the fathers together with “son” or “dotir”. There is special website where you can find your genealogical tree. In six generations all people in Iceland are relatives! The only problem can be if you suddenly find out that your girl-friend or boy-friend is also your close relative.

A view of playing hall

Spectators could watch the games from balconies, using bioculars

Ukrainian GM Yuriy Krivoruchko, who was leading during the tournament but lost on tiebreak to…

…GM Hedinn Steingrimsson from Iceland

Icelandic GM Hannes Stefansson took third place

The winners who shared 1-4 places: Hedinn Steingrimsson, Hannes Stefansson,
Mihail Marin, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, with the organizer of the tournament Bjorn Thorfinnson

IM Daniele Vocaturo made seventh place and completed a GM norm

US GM Yuri Shulman finished sixth in the main tournament but won the blitz tournament

French GM Sebastien Maze, finished 11th. He liked Icelandic hospitality
so much that decided to lose his passport in order to stay some days more.

IM Harika Dronavalli from India, the first place among women

WIM Deysi Estella Cori Tello from Peru, who is just fifteen, took second place among women in the main tournament. She also qualified for the final of the blitz tournament, “scalping” some GMs on her way.

Ulker Gasanova from Iceland

German GM Sebastian Siebrecht fighting in the blitz qualifier, with the “help” of a beer

The strong blitz tournament was held on 1st of April after the last round. Four players were advanced to the final from 2 qualifying tournaments. They were joined by eight invited players.

The final position of the game Stefansson-Shulman. Icelandic player put his pawn on the eighth rank and lost the game on time. In the last tie-break Yuri Shulman defeated GM Johann Hjartarsson and proved that he was lucky as a winner.

Spectators at the blitz tournament

For six years now, every two weeks the Icelandic branch of the Red Cross has organized blitz tournaments for people with mental handicaps, and all other comers.

Chess pieces made by children in the hospital

Living chess, played with human pieces in the centre of Reykjavik

The World March for Peace and Non-violence took place on the 29th of March. Many people came to participate in the live game. I played with black against the President of the Icelandic Chess Federation, Lilia Grettarsdottir. The game started 1.e4. Milos Popovic from Serbia, who was the d-pawn, asked me to sacrifice him as soon as possible. So I decided to play Scandinavian, 1...d5!?, practically first time in my life. The little baby in the carriage took him on d5...

…but suddenly the black pieces noticed that the bishop on c8 was missing. So poor Milos became the white-squared bishop and had to stay on f5 almost until the end of the game.

The next generation of chess players in Iceland

The final farewell picture of the World March and the chess tournament

Anastasiya (Nastja) Karlovich was Ukrainian champion and vice-champion among girls under 16, 18 and 20. She was European Champion with the Ukrainian team in the Youth Team Championships. She is also a candidate officer in the National Law Academy “Yaroslav the Wise”; a member of the chess club “Law Academy”; a member of the German club Grosslehna; the organiser of the WGM and GM closed tournaments “Cup of Rector”; a Woman Grandmaster since 2003.


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