8-way tie in Reykjavik

by André Schulz
4/17/2019 – After an eventful final round, eight players finished the Reykjavik Open tied with 7 points. Constantin Lupulescu had the best ranking on tiebreak and was declared the winner of the tournament ahead of Alireza Firouzja. Gawain Jones cracked the 2700 mark. | Photos: Fiona Steil-Antoni

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Lupulescu with the best tiebreak

Heading into the final round, Constantin Lupulescu, Mircea-Emilian Parligras and Gawain Jones lead the field at the Reykjavik Open and thus have the best chance of winning the tournament. The winning streak of Constantin Lupulescu came to an end in round eight, when the Romanian lost with White against Gawain Jones. After starting with the Grünfeld defense and a lively middlegame, Jones converted a pawn-up rook endgame. 


Jones realised the material advantage with no great effort, although Lupulescu resisted for a long time.

With 50...f4 and 51...g3 Black created a passed pawn. Although White's a-pawn also queened at the same time, the extra tempo allowed Jones to exchange rooks and be left with an easily winning queen ending with his remaining connected passed pawns.

Lupulescu vs Jones

Lupulescu (right) vs Jones | Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni

Lupulescu's compatriot Mircea-Emilian Parligras, reached 6½ by defeating Quentin Loiseau, a French IM.


Play through the variation on the live diagram

With 23.xb7 xb7 24.b3 b6 25.ed7+ (more accurate was 25.♘cd7+) ♚a8 26.xf8 xb3 27.xg7 it was actually White who took the lead here.


However, after 27...b4 28.xf7 c4 29.b1 c8, he let the advantage slip with 30.b3 (correct was 30.Nx6) allowing a counter-attack: 30...f5+! Now on 31.♔b2 ♜c2 32.♔a3 Black would have 32...♜xc5 and after 33.dxc5 either the black d-pawn is unstoppable or White loses the knight on f8. White therefore played 31.xf5, but with an exchange less it was all downhill from there.

Loiseau (right) vs Parligras | Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni

In the final round he two Romanian grandmasters were paired against each other and agreed to a draw relatively quickly on the first board looking to see if Gawain Jones would score a full point against Erwin l'Ami, which would have earned the Englishman the tournament victory.

Romanian Derby: Lupulescu-Parligras | Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni

However, Jones bit his teeth against the resistance of Erwin l'Ami and stood with his back to the wall in the endgame.  


Here l'Ami missed one of several ways to extend his advantage. However, the chance is hidden here and requires a lot of cold blood: 46...♞d5 was possible 47.♖b7 (or 47.♖xf7+ ♜xf7 48. exf7 ♞e3 and the c-pawn is running) 47...♞e3 48.e7 with the point 48...♜xg2+ 49.♔h1 ♜e2. After 50.e8♕ ♜e1+ 51.♔h2 Black wins with 51...♞f1+ 52.♔g2 ♜xe8 53.♔xf1 ♜e6. 

Black instead played 46...e2 to quickly eliminate the white pawns, and although he retained an edge, but Jones managed to reduce chip away at the advantage and eventually found a drawing method.

l'Ami and Jones

Erwin l'Ami drew with Jones | Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni

So the Englishman finally reached a group of what became eight players who finished the tournament with 7 points. He was joined by Nils Grandelius, who beat Sabino Brunello, Aryan Tari with a victory over Daniel Sadzikowski, Tigran Petrosian who won against Fabien
Libiszewski, Abhijeet Gupta won the "battle of the Guptas" over Prithu Gupta and last but not least Alireza Firouzja after an eventful win over the veteran Johann Hjartarssson.

The 15-year-old high-flyer this time relied on the help of the opponent in a difficult to calculate endgame.

Hjartarsson facing Firouzja | Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni

After a long struggle, this position was on the board. Black had a check b1 with the rook and Firouzja interposed his own. 


Here Black should play 62...♜g1, and now: 63.b6 ♜g8 64.b7 ♜b8 65.♔c5 ♞g5 66.♔b6 ♞f3 67.♔c7 ♜xb7+ 68.♖xb7 h3 69.♖b8 h2 70.♖h8 ♚g5! — with the idea of ♞h4 — (inaccurate is 70...♚g3 due to 71.♘e3 and now ♞h4 is impossible because of 72.♘f1+) 71.♘e3 ♞h4 72.♖h5+!  ♚xh5 73.♘f1 h1♛ 74.♘g3+ with a draw.)

Instead Black exchanged 62...xb2+ which is a blunder. Can you find the winning line as Firouzja did?

63.xb2 e5 64.b6 d6 65.b5 f4 66.c4+ d7 67.b7 c7 68.a6 1-0

Lupulescu had the best tiebreak score of the eight tied players and thus became the tournament winner. Gawain Jones crossed the 2700 mark for the first time with his result and Alireza Firouzja is the second-best Junior U20 in the world while still only 15 years old.

Prize giving

Tigran L. Petrosian, Alireza Firouzja, Gunnar Bjornsson, Aryan Tari, Valdimar Armann (CEO of GAMMA — his daughter is in the front) Nils Grandelius, Abhijeet Gupta, Constantin Lupulescu, Gawain Jone, Mircea Parligras and Pawel Bartoszek (Reykjavik City Council and Sport Comittee Chairman) | Photo: Reykjavik Open Facebook page

Top results of Round 9

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Parligras Mircea-Emilian ½ - ½ Lupulescu Constantin
Jones Gawain C B ½ - ½ 6 l'Ami Erwin
Brunello Sabino 6 0 - 1 6 Grandelius Nils
Firouzja Alireza 6 1 - 0 6 Hjartarson Johann
Salomon Johan 6 ½ - ½ 6 Hovhannisyan Robert
Tari Aryan 6 1 - 0 6 Sadzikowski Daniel
Petrosian Tigran L. 6 1 - 0 6 Libiszewski Fabien
Prithu Gupta 6 0 - 1 6 Gupta Abhijeet
Kjartansson Gudmundur 6 0 - 1 Stefansson Hannes
Movsesian Sergei 1 - 0 Thorfinnsson Bragi

Final standings (top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.
1 Lupulescu Constantin 7,0
2 Firouzja Alireza 7,0
3 Grandelius Nils 7,0
4 Jones Gawain C B 7,0
5 Parligras Mircea-Emilian 7,0
6 Petrosian Tigran L. 7,0
7 Tari Aryan 7,0
8 Gupta Abhijeet 7,0
9 Hovhannisyan Robert 6,5
10 Movsesian Sergei 6,5
11 l'Ami Erwin 6,5
12 Van Foreest Jorden 6,5
13 Kevlishvili Robby 6,5
  Korley Kassa 6,5
15 Loiseau Quentin 6,5
16 Tang Andrew 6,5
17 Salomon Johan 6,5
18 Stefansson Hannes 6,5
19 Sadzikowski Daniel 6,0
20 Brunello Sabino 6,0
21 Prithu Gupta 6,0
22 Cornette Matthieu 6,0
23 Potkin Vladimir 6,0
24 Lagarde Maxime 6,0
25 Praggnanandhaa R 6,0

Round 9 commentary webcast

Commentary by WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni and FM Ingvar Johannesson

All available games


Watch for a photo report from Alina l'Ami next week!

Top games in the front | Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


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


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