Reykjavik Open: Rapport in the lead, Lenderman wins Chess960

by Gerd Densing
3/13/2018 – After seven rounds in the Reykjavik Open, Richard Rapport and Baskaran Adhiban lead with 6 points apiece. Young Nihal Sarin is having a breakout performance, and was leading after five rounds, and still maintains a tournament performance rating of 2767. Games annotated by GM Daniel Fernandez Watch round eight live! | Pictured: Alexandr Lenderman (centre) was the winner of the rest day rapid tournament celebrating Bobby Fischer | Photos: Gerd Densing

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Homestretch at the Reykjavik Open 2018

American dominates "Fischer-Random" Cup

After the fifth round "halftime" at this year's Reykjavik Open, only one player in the tournament's top ten remained in the leading group. Mustafa Yilmaz, was finally nicked for a draw against Emre Can. Yilmaz, the ninth seed, had been the only player to remain on a perfect score through four rounds after beating Suri Vaibhav. Top seed Richard Rapport gave up another draw against in-form GM Elsan Moradiabadi. The surprise was the Icelandic veteran Johann Hjartarson with his victory over Pavel Eljanov. The US duel Friedel against Kamsky ended in a draw. The young Indian Nihal Sarin impressively beat the strong Egyptian Ahmed Adly.

Ahmed Adly and Nihal Sarin

The fifth round was opened on board one by Iceland's Minister of Culture, Science and Education, Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir | Photo: Gerd Densing

The round brought a Turkish duel on top board, which ended in a draw, Aleksandr Lenderman prevailed against Hjartarson, and Nihal Sarin joined the lead group and is on course for a GM norm after another nice win over Moradiabadi. After the round, there were three players with 4½ out of 5 (Yilmaz, Lenderman and Sarin) and a dense group of 13 players with 4 points. Incidentally, on board eight we saw the "spouse duel" Cornette vs. Cornette, which ended after the minimum 30 moves for a draw, and the marriage was thus secured.

The Cornettes

The top game of the sixth round was Lenderman against Yilmaz, who split the point. Nihal Sarin played on second board and held his own against no one less than Gata Kamsky. Richard Rapport scored a much-needed win with Black against Joshua Friedel and Adhiban with White against Alejandro Ramirez. Maxime Legrande scored a point against Eugene Perelshteyn. Thus, after six rounds, there were six players with five points each in the lead.

Top results of round six

1 12
GM Lenderman Aleksandr 2600 ½ - ½ GM Yilmaz Mustafa 2619
2 20
IM Sarin Nihal 2534 ½ - ½ 4 GM Kamsky Gata 2677
3 16
GM Friedel Joshua 2562 4 0 - 1 4 GM Rapport Richard 2715
4 4
GM Adhiban B. 2650 4 1 - 0 4 GM Ramirez Alejandro 2568
5 18
GM Brunello Sabino 2542 4 ½ - ½ 4 GM l'Ami Erwin 2634
6 10
GM Landa Konstantin 2613 4 ½ - ½ 4 GM Vaibhav Suri 2544
7 11
GM Can Emre 2603 4 ½ - ½ 4 IM Abdusattorov Nodirbek 2518
8 24
GM Perelshteyn Eugene 2513 4 0 - 1 4 GM Lagarde Maxime 2587
9 2
GM Eljanov Pavel 2713 1 - 0 IM Thorfinnsson Bjorn 2399
10 40
IM Kvetny Mark 2408 ½ - ½ GM Adly Ahmed 2643

In round seven, the top seed finally got back into the pole position. Rapport knocked off co-leader Lenderman, actually delivering mate on the board.


After 23...d4 the attack got rolling with 24.h4! Lenderman's reaction 24...h6 was logical to keep the knight out of g5, but fatally weakened the g6 square. 25.Nh2 h5 26.Qg6 and White is winning.

On board two, Adhiban had the better end of a bishop ending, but was still a bit lucky to have it end so quickly when Maxime Lagarde made the curious time-trouble decision to trade into a losing king and pawn ending.


39.Bf4? Other bishop moves are far from clear but after 39...Bxf4 40.gxf4 Kg3 the Frenchman had already seen enough and resigned.

Sarin, meanwhile, gave up another half point but is still having a fantastic tournament.

Top results of round seven

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Rapport Richard 5 1 - 0 5 Lenderman Aleksandr
Lagarde Maxime 5 0 - 1 5 Adhiban B.
Yilmaz Mustafa 5 ½ - ½ 5 Sarin Nihal
Abdusattorov Nodirbek ½ - ½ Eljanov Pavel
Kamsky Gata ½ - ½ Stefansson Hannes
l'Ami Erwin 0 - 1 Fernandez Daniel Howard
Haria Ravi ½ - ½ Cornette Matthieu
Praggnanandhaa R ½ - ½ Landa Konstantin
Cornette Deimante ½ - ½ Can Emre
Vaibhav Suri 1 - 0 Bick Gabriel

Selected games annotated by GM Daniel Fernandez


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Standings after seven rounds (top 25)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Adhiban B. 6,0 0,0
2 Rapport Richard 6,0 0,0
3 Fernandez Daniel Howard 5,5 0,0
4 Vaibhav Suri 5,5 0,0
5 Antal Tibor Kende 5,5 0,0
6 Sarin Nihal 5,5 0,0
7 Yilmaz Mustafa 5,5 0,0
8 Perelshteyn Eugene 5,0 0,0
9 Kveinys Aloyzas 5,0 0,0
10 Hamitevici Vladimir 5,0 0,0
11 Mohota Nisha 5,0 0,0
12 Lenderman Aleksandr 5,0 0,0
13 Friedel Joshua 5,0 0,0
14 Eljanov Pavel 5,0 0,0
15 Thorhallsson Throstur 5,0 0,0
16 Lagarde Maxime 5,0 0,0
17 Praggnanandhaa R 5,0 0,0
  Haria Ravi 5,0 0,0
19 Hjartarson Johann 5,0 0,0
  Cornette Deimante 5,0 0,0
21 Ramirez Alejandro 5,0 0,0
  Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 5,0 0,0
23 Grigoriants Sergey 5,0 0,0
24 Gledura Benjamin 5,0 0,0
25 Cornette Matthieu 5,0 0,0

...248 players

All available games


Aleksandr Lenderman wins Fischer-Random rapid tournament

On the day of rest of this year's Reykjavik Open, a Fischer-Random rapid tournament was held in honour of Bobby Fischer for the first time. The tournament was supported by the European Chess Union. The best European player received the title "Fischer-Random European Champion 2018". The tournament was attended by the Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who also made the first move on the top board in a final round.

Some GMs probably played voluntarily and gladly. Other GMs would have preferred to use the rest day for recreation or preparation but were more or less indirectly forced to play — it was a prerequisite for receiving conditions from the tournament organiser. The tournament was therefore quite well attended. Nine rounds were played according to Swiss system with 10 minutes plus 3 seconds increment per move per player for the game.

The hall became remarkably quiet after each drawing of a new starting position. All players rushed to their boards quickly, followed by between 5 and 10 minutes until the first move could be played. It was as quiet as a church during prayer; one could have heard the drop of a pin. While players otherwise pass the time with small talk in this case these few minutes was devoted to "preparation" of the game,  working out a strategy the first few moves. For me as a spectator, it was always very interesting to see how, on the one hand, the concentration phase before the game was over and on some boards, similar positions emerged. Depending on the basic position and playing strength, similar or even identical strategies were chosen to treat opening from a given position.

After a thrilling drama, the American Aleksandr Lendermann won on tiebreak score with 7½ points edging out second-placer Elshan Moradiabadi, followed by Josh Friedel (7 points), also from the USA. The best European was Richard Rapport ahead of Konstantin Landa (7 points each) and Pavel Eljanov (6½ points).

The best woman in the field and thus title winner "European Fischer-Random Women's Champion" was IM Alina l'Ami who's having a great performance in Reykjavik this year. The best players under-20 were FM David Shailesh (13th, 6 points), IM Nihal Sarin (18th, 6 points) and IM Ramesh Praggnanandahaa (20th, 6 points).

It was a very nice and interesting event and the players enjoyed it very much. The Icelandic Chess Federation is considering a similar tournament in years to come, as a continuing part of the Reykjavik Open. WGM Susan Polgar was present at the awards ceremony and donated cash prizes to the tournament.

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Lenderman Aleksandr 7,5 0,5
2 Moradiabadi Elshan 7,5 0,5
3 Friedel Joshua 7,0 0,0
4 Rapport Richard 7,0 0,0
5 Landa Konstantin 7,0 0,0
6 Eljanov Pavel 6,5 0,0
7 Ramirez Alejandro 6,5 0,0
8 Adhiban B. 6,5 0,0
9 Lagarde Maxime 6,5 0,0
10 Grigoriants Sergey 6,5 0,0
11 l'Ami Erwin 6,0 0,0
12 Thorhallsson Throstur 6,0 0,0
13 Shailesh Dravid 6,0 0,0
14 Thorfinnsson Bjorn 6,0 0,0
15 Hamitevici Vladimir 6,0 0,0
16 Kjartansson Gudmundur 6,0 0,0
17 Vaibhav Suri 6,0 0,0
18 Sarin Nihal 6,0 0,0
19 Sundararajan Kidambi 6,0 0,0
20 Praggnanandhaa R 6,0 0,0


Gerd is an avid club player who enjoys competing in tournaments. He has recorded his impressions in many reports on the ChessBase news page.


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