Reykjavik Open round one

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/5/2014 – The third of the big tournaments in Europe, the others being the European Championship and Cappelle-la-Grande, has started in Reykjavik. The classic open named after the capital of Iceland has attracted two 2700s and a slew of grandmasters to compete for its top prizes. Grandmasters all faced an opposition of about 2000 in rating, but not all of them went unscathed.

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Living in Dallas, Texas is quite interesting. Being from Costa Rica originally, there were many things that I had to get used to, and I believe I have acclimatized in most aspects over the years. However there is one thing that is so completely random that not even locals can really cope with its unpredictability: the weather.

I was scheduled to leave for the Reykjavik Open on March 2nd, but due to a plunge of 30 degrees (yes, Celsius!) in one day the airport froze over and I had no choice but to stay at home. This meant I would lose my Iceland Air connection in Washington D.C. and potentially I would not have made the tournament. However, thanks in part to a surprisingly responsive and helpful American Airlines agent and the grace of tournament director Gunnar Bjornsson - who contacted Iceland Air and was able to arrange a change of flights without extra fee - I was able to finally arrive in Reykjavik a few hours before the first round.

The Reykjavik Open is one of the most important opens of the year, and this year it is specially so as it is celebrating its 50th edition. Despite this, the tournament is certainly not with as many stars as it had in its previous edition or the one before it, mainly due to the big conflict of schedules with the European Chess Championship.

The Organizer: Gunnar Bjornsson giving the opening speech

A local artist with clear passions for chess shared his musical talent

Naiditsch (left) is the top seed on the event and had no problem
scoring his first win against local legend WGM Thorsteinsdottir

The first round in Reykjavik started with almost no surprises. You have to go all the way down to board 65 to see the first result in which a lower rated player beat a higher one, but Li Chao on board two did drop half a point.

Daniel Abrahams from Canada drew Li Chao and overcame a 645 rating point difference

GM Amin Bassem with his typical face mask

The playing hall is incredibly spacious

I faced WIM Cecile van der Merwe and was lucky
that she miscalculated a variation and I emerged a piece ahead

The beautiful Harpa Concert Hall, the playing site

The tournament continues tomorrow with a double round day. Most of the grandmasters will face 2300 opposition and things are no longer easy. Make sure to follow online on the official website or follow the games on the Playchess server!

Round one results (top boards)

Bo.   Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg
1 GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2706 0 1 - 0 0 WFM Thorsteinsdottir Gudlaug 2056
2   Abrahams Daniel 2055 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Li Chao b 2700
3 GM Berkes Ferenc 2687 0 1 - 0 0   Karlsson Mikael Johann 2051
4   Pupols Viktors 2049 0 0 - 1 0 GM Rapport Richard 2681
5 GM Amin Bassem Dr. 2657 0 1 - 0 0   Runarsson Gunnar 2048
6   Knutsson Larus 2044 0 0 - 1 0 GM Jones Gawain C B 2651
7 GM Kobalia Mikhail 2646 0 1 - 0 0   Raddatz Michael 2044
8   Andersen Per O 2042 0 0 - 1 0 GM L'ami Erwin 2646
9 GM Gajewski Grzegorz 2631 0 1 - 0 0 NM Frick Renato 2038
10   Hardarson Jon Trausti 2033 0 0 - 1 0 GM Rozentalis Eduardas 2623
11 GM Van Kampen Robin 2603 0 1 - 0 0   Baldursson Haraldur 2027
12 GM Olafsson Helgi *) 2546 0 1 - 0 0   Sielicki Tomasz 2019
13   Carlsen Henrik 2027 0 0 - 1 0 GM Grandelius Nils 2600
14 GM Ramirez Alejandro 2599 0 1 - 0 0 WIM Van Der Merwe Cecile H. 2026
15   Hansen Lars-Henrik Bech 2022 0 0 - 1 0 GM Hansen Eric 2587

Pictures from the official website by Fiona Steil-Antoni


The games will be 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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