Reykjavik Open: Niemann and Jarmula on 3 out of 3

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/8/2022 – The Kvika Reykjavík Open kicked off on Tuesday, with one round played on opening day and a double round on Wednesday. Hans Niemann (United States) and Lukasz Jarmula (Poland) are the only players to have won all three of their games. No fewer than 31 players stand a half point back, including a number of Indian rising stars. | Pictured: Top seed Pouya Idani (Iran) | Photo: Thorsteinn Magnusson

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Young talents galore

After three years, the Reykjavík Open has returned to the calendar of chess events. Again taking place at the impressive Harpa Conference Centre, the tournament has encouraged the participation of young players. Those born in 2006 and later got a 50% discount on their entry fees, while those born between 2002 and 2005 (much like veterans born in 1957 or earlier) got a 25% discount.

A total of 245 players registered to participate, with 59 belonging to the under-16 category. Not surprisingly, the three strongest players in the group hail from India — Gukesh (with a 2637 Elo rating), Raunak Sadhwani (2628) and Praggnanandhaa (2624).

Slightly below in the starting rank stand two rising stars from the United States. Christopher Yoo boasts a 2532 rating at 15, while Abhimanyu Mishra, the youngest-ever grandmaster in history, is the 16th highest rated in the field with 2524 at 13.

Michael Dougherty

Not only for young guns — experienced Canadian FM Michael Dougherty won his first-round game with the black pieces | Photo: Thorsteinn Magnusson

Three rounds in, Hans Niemann (United States) and Lukasz Jarmula (Poland) are leading the standings table with 3 out of 3. Jarmula, aged 23, is also an author and coach, while Niemann won the 2021 US Junior Championship and has recently faced elite opposition at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. Niemann shared on Twitter:

Facing Abhijeet Gupta with black in round 3, Jarmula simplified into a slightly superior rook endgame from this position.

 

25...Bxe4+ 26.Nxe4 Qa8 27.Kg1 Qxe4 28.Qxe4 fxe4 29.Rxc7, and Black will get to activate his rook first.

 

White does have defensive resources, but Jarmula showed good technique until eventually taking down his Indian opponent. Resignation came on move 46, as White’s passer on the h-file proved to be more of a liability than an asset.

 

Another interesting endgame was seen in the first round, when Gukesh, the second seed in the tournament, faced his compatriot Mahitosh Dey with the black pieces.

 

Mahitosh had been fighting hard from a slightly inferior position, but here failed to find 54.Kxg5 f3 55.b5, when Black will be forced to enter a rook and knight versus rook endgame in the ensuing lines — e.g. 55...Nxb5 56.Rxf3, with excellent drawing chances for White.

 

However, in the first diagrammed position White went for 54.h4. Gukesh, who is an excellent endgame player, seized the opportunity and got the full point six moves later.

 

Standings after round 3

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Niemann Hans Moke 3,0 0,0
  Jarmula Lukasz 3,0 0,0
3 Gukesh D 2,5 0,0
  Adhiban B. 2,5 0,0
  Fier Alexandr 2,5 0,0
  Cornette Matthieu 2,5 0,0
  Steingrimsson Hedinn 2,5 0,0
  Maze Sebastien 2,5 0,0
9 Idani Pouya 2,5 0,0
  Sadhwani Raunak 2,5 0,0
  Praggnanandhaa R 2,5 0,0
  Warmerdam Max 2,5 0,0
  Andersen Mads 2,5 0,0
  Peng Li Min 2,5 0,0
  Stefansson Vignir Vatnar 2,5 0,0

...245 players


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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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