Six perfect in Reykjavik

by Alejandro Ramirez
3/13/2015 – After four rounds of chess in Reykjavik six players have kept their perfect score. The group is spearheaded by Mamedyarov, but Eljanov is not far behind. An impressive group of players only trails by half a point, so we will see some tough matches tomorrow on those boards trying to keep pace with the leaders. As usual Sagar Shah brings analysis, and Alina l'Ami gifts us impressive pictures.

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The Reykjavik Open 2015 will be held for the 30th time from March 10th to March 18th 2015 in Harpa, the 28.000 sqm. concert hall. The 2015 tournament is expected to be very strong and will double as celebration of the 80th birthday of legendary Icelandic Grandmaster and former FIDE president, Fridrik Olafsson.

The 2014 Edition was voted the 2nd best open tournament in the world by ACP. Only Gibraltar was higher on the list.

The City of Reykjavík has sponsored the tournament since its inception in 1964, when Mikhail Tal won it with a record 12½ points out of 13. The tournament was initially held every two years, but has since 2008 taken place every year. It was closed in its early years, but has been an open event since the 1980s. Throughout its history the Reykjavik Open has featured many of the strongest chess players in the world at the time, including Mikhail Tal, Nona Gaprindashvili, David Bronstein, Vasili Smyslov, Bent Larsen, Friðrik Ólafsson, Mark Taimanov, Lev Polugaevsky, Jan Timman, Victor Korchnoi, Samuel Reshevsky, Anthony Miles, Nigel Short, Hikaru Nakamura, Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan.

Round Four

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Tari Aryan 2509 3 0 - 1 3 Eljanov Pavel 2727
2 Georgiadis Nico 2468 3 ½ - ½ 3 L'ami Erwin 2605
3 Hauge Lars Oskar 2380 3 0 - 1 3 Fier Alexandr 2601
4 Abdumalik Zhansaya 2379 3 0 - 1 3 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 2554
5 Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 2351 3 0 - 1 3 Stopa Jacek 2544
6 Bisby Daniel L 2321 3 0 - 1 3 Gao Rui 2533
7 Navara David 2736 1 - 0 Kristjansson Stefan 2482
8 Melkumyan Hrant 2676 1 - 0 Akesson Ralf 2456
9 Jones Gawain C B 2642 0 - 1 Gunnarsson Jon Viktor 2443
10 Norowitz Yaacov 2422 0 - 1 Naroditsky Daniel 2633
11 Steingrimsson Hedinn *) 2530 3 0 - 1 3 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2756
12 Thorfinnsson Bjorn 2403 0 - 1 Gupta Abhijeet 2625
13 Grandelius Nils 2603 1 - 0 Pulvett Marin Daniel 2434
14 Jussupow Artur 2573 1 - 0 Thorfinnsson Bragi IM 2429
15 Hansen Eric 2566 ½ - ½ Tania Sachdev 2404
16 Maze Sebastien 2564 1 - 0 Hagen Andreas Skytte 2412
17 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2357 ½ - ½ Stefansson Hannes 2560
18 Brunello Sabino 2540 1 - 0 Welling Gerard 2355
19 Karlsson Mikael Johann 2138 0 - 1 Libiszewski Fabien 2514
20 Pakleza Zbigniew 2498 ½ - ½ Jensson Einar Hjalti 2390

Quite a difference from round three! Most of the white players won in the previous round, but in round four it seems as if it was lucky to be Black. True, most of the Black players were higher rated, but not to a degree where that many black victories were to be expected.

On the top board the young and talented Norwegian player, Aryan Tari, could not hold up to super-GM Pavel Eljanov.

Pavel Eljanov with a convoluted victory in round four against Aryan Tari

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.12"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Tari, Aryan"] [Black "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2509"] [BlackElo "2727"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 {It was a great co-incidence that on exactly the same day that this game was played, Robert Ris had his show on PlayChess server named "Fast and Furious with 7.Qf3 in the Taimanov". This is quite a new and fashionable line. It may not replace the main line with 7.Qd2 but it is definitely a worthy alternative.} Bd6 { Eljanov goes for a relative side line. Just six games have been played with this move and almost all of them in 2014-15.} (7... Ne5 8. Qg3 h5 {Single handedly Anish Giri is trying to make this the main line for Black by playing it against Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Saric and Karjakin!}) 8. Nxc6 (8. O-O-O {with the threat of Ndb5 is met with} Be5 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bd4 {With a complex position.}) 8... bxc6 9. O-O-O Rb8 10. Bd4 Nf6 (10... e5 $5 {is not such a bad idea.} 11. Ba7 $5 (11. Be3 Nf6 12. g4 O-O 13. g5 Ne8 14. h4 Bb4 15. Bd2 d6 { With a nice position for Black.}) 11... Qxa7 (11... Rb7 12. Be3 $14 {The rook on b7 doesn't stand so well.}) 12. Bc4 (12. Rxd6 Qc5 $11) 12... Nf6 13. Rxd6 $14) 11. Qd3 (11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Qxf6 {would not be a good idea because of} Be5 13. Qf3 O-O {And thanks to this monster on e5, Black is better.}) 11... c5 12. Bxf6 Bf4+ 13. Kb1 gxf6 14. g3 Be5 15. f4 Bd4 {The bishop settles down on a very strong square x-raying the b2 point. Black is already better.} 16. b3 Bb7 $6 (16... f5 $5 {Black needed to act decisively.} 17. exf5 Bb7 18. Be2 Bxh1 19. Rxh1 Bg7 $15 {White might have some compensation but it may not be sufficient.} ) 17. Bg2 $6 {This slow move gives away the initiative to Black which he exploits in excellent fashion.} (17. Ne2 $1 {Would have asked the question to Black about what he would like to do with his d4 bishop.} f5 18. Nxd4 $1 Bxe4 19. Qc3 Bxh1 20. Nxe6 $1 dxe6 21. Qxh8+ Ke7 22. Qxh7 $16 {With a huge advantage.}) 17... f5 $1 {Making way for the bishop to go back in case it is attacked.} 18. Rhe1 O-O 19. Bh1 (19. Ne2 Bg7 $1 20. Qxd7 Qb6 $15) 19... Qa5 { The knight is attacked.} 20. Ne2 fxe4 21. Qd2 (21. Bxe4 Bxe4 22. Qxe4 Bg7 $1 { With the idea of d5 and c4 launches a very powerful attack. For eg.} 23. Qe3 c4 24. Nd4 Rfc8 {And the White king wont survive for many moves.}) 21... Qxd2 22. Rxd2 Bf2 $1 23. Rf1 d5 $1 {A very nice move by which Black gets to preserve all his winnings.} (23... e3 24. Rxd7 $13) 24. Nc3 Bd4 25. Na4 Bc6 26. c3 Bxa4 27. cxd4 c4 28. Kb2 cxb3 29. a3 Rfc8 {A very interesting battle in this new and fashionable line of 7.Qf3 in the Taimanov. Eljanov definitely seemed like the better prepared player but Aryan Tari had his chances which he failed to take advantage of.} 0-1

Zhansaya Abdumalik's hat trick was stopped by Hjorvar Gretarsson, who is the best scoring Icelandic player with a perfect 4.0/4:

Zhansaya Abdumalik was unable to continue her streak

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.12"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Abdumalik, Zhansaya"] [Black "Gretarsson, Hjorvar Steinn"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C60"] [WhiteElo "2379"] [BlackElo "2554"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] {Zhansaya Abdumalik is one of the greatest rising talents in Women Chess currently. She beat GM Henrik Danielsen in round three but in round four she was unable to keep the momentum and lost to Gretarsson in a very interesting game.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. c3 (4. O-O {is more popular than 4. c3 that was played in the game.}) 4... d5 {A very interesting variation which allows White to take the pawn on e5.} 5. Nxe5 (5. exd5 Qxd5 $15 {is just better for Black as a knight can no longer develop on c3.}) 5... dxe4 6. Nxc6 ( 6. d4 {and}) (6. Qe2 {are the main moves in this position.}) 6... bxc6 7. Bc4 Nd5 {By the looks of it things look pretty good for White. Black pawn structure is completely ruined. While seeing static features is easier, the dynamic ones are a tad difficult to spot. Look at the black bishops. They have excellent open diagonals to work with while the white bishop on c1 is sort of locked in. All in all Black is doing excellently in this position.} 8. Qe2 Be6 $1 9. Qxe4 Bd6 $1 {White wins a pawn but Black keeps developing.} 10. Bxd5 $2 { What was the need to give up the bishop?} (10. d4 $1 O-O 11. Bd3 (11. O-O $6 Nxc3 $1 12. Qxc6 (12. bxc3 Bxc4 $15) 12... Nd5 $11) 11... Nf6 12. Qh4 {And with 0-0 coming up White is doing pretty well but Black has compensation.}) 10... cxd5 $15 {Black is just better now.} 11. Qf3 O-O 12. d4 Qh4 $5 13. h3 ( 13. g3 Qh3 {would be quite irritating. 0-0 is no longer possible and Bg4 is coming up.}) 13... Rae8 14. O-O {If given time White would develop and gain an equal position but Black gives no such respite!} (14. Be3 {would run into the very pretty} Bg4 $1 15. Qxg4 Rxe3+ $1 16. Kf1 Qf6 17. Nd2 Rfe8 18. Nf3 Re2 $17 {Black has a dangerous initiative.}) 14... g5 $1 {The pawn on h3 is a perfect hook and Black exploits it perfectly.} 15. Qf6 (15. g3 Qxh3 16. Bxg5 Bg4 17. Qh1 (17. Qg2 Qh5 $17) 17... Re2 $1 $15 {Black is better but this was the best option available for White.}) 15... h6 $1 $19 {A cool and calm move! The threat is Bxh3 with a mating attack. The queen has to retreat.} 16. Qf3 (16. Be3 Bxh3 17. gxh3 Qxh3 $19) (16. Nd2 Bxh3 17. gxh3 Qxh3 18. f4 Qg3+ 19. Kh1 Re2 $19) 16... g4 $1 {Black's attack rolls on like clock work.} 17. Qe3 Kg7 $1 {It is already difficult to give White any advice. Look at his undeveloped queenside pieces.} 18. f4 gxh3 19. Qf2 Qh5 20. Nd2 (20. g3 Bf5 21. Nd2 Re2 $19) 20... hxg2 21. Qxg2+ Kh7 22. Qh1 Rg8+ 23. Kf2 Bh3 {With a decisive attack. The game ended after a few moves. A great game by Steinn Gretarsson.} 0-1

Also on 4.0/4 is the Polish chess player Jacek Stopa:

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.12"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Christiansen, Johan-Sebastian"] [Black "Stopa, Jacek"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A13"] [WhiteElo "2351"] [BlackElo "2544"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b2rk1/pp1nq1pp/2pbpn2/3p1p2/2P5/1PNPP1P1/PB2NPBP/R2Q1RK1 b - - 0 10"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] {I would like to show you this game in order to learn the art of bringing your pieces to good squares. Have a look at this position and the posting of the black pieces. The knight on d7 is blocking the bishop on c8 and it all looks pretty cramped for black just like a normal Stonewall position. But now Jacek Stopa tries to unwind his pieces one by one.} 10... Ne5 $1 {The knight jumps to a square on the middle of the board from where it can easily be kicked. The idea is to go back to f7 and free the d7 square for the development of the bishop.} 11. Qd2 Nf7 {On f7 the knight stands well and can always come to g5 to pressurise the White kingside.} 12. Rad1 Bb4 $5 {When White played Rad1, a3 became impossible. Black uses this opportunity to establish an irritating pin.} 13. Nd4 Bd7 {Just developing. The bishop looks bad at the moment but glory awaits him on the square h5.} (13... e5 14. Nc2 $14) 14. Qe2 (14. Nc2 {was a better move forcing the bishop to move back.} Bd6 $13) 14... dxc4 $1 {A very nice move to change the structure and get the central pawns rolling.} 15. bxc4 e5 16. Nf3 e4 17. Nd4 Rad8 {Bringing the last piece into the game.} 18. Nc2 Bd6 19. d4 Be8 $1 {Still maximally trying to improve the positioning of the pieces. } 20. Ne1 Ng5 $1 {The knight as promised jumps to g5 probing the light squares and making way for the bishop.} 21. f3 Bh5 $1 $17 {Look at how beautifully black has activated each and every piece in his position. The important maxim to follow is always try to improve your worst placed piece and find good squares for it to be developed on. Black went on to win the game easily in 46 moves.} 0-1

Finally we have an example of something that has happened to all of us: losing a winning position! Sagar Shah explains the psychological effect this has on players.

[Event "Reykjavik Open 2015"] [Site "Reykjavik ISL"] [Date "2015.03.12"] [Round "4.22"] [White "Colovic, Aleksandar"] [Black "Poley, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B06"] [WhiteElo "2482"] [BlackElo "2269"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6R1/8/8/8/1p2kp2/1r6/3K2P1/8 w - - 0 62"] [PlyCount "15"] [EventDate "2015.03.10"] {The sequence of moves shows a very common phenomenon that happens in chess. The lower rated player gets a winning position against his much higher rated opponent but is then met with stiff resistance in converting his advantage. Instead of playing objectively, the lower rated player in his bid to win often goes for lines without calculation, just out of intertia. The result can be highly dangerous. Here, Poley Vladimir, the player with the black pieces has played well upto this point to get a pawn up position against his much higher rated opponent. The problem now is that he is unable to find a win. What happens next is heartbreaking.} 62. Re8+ Kf5 63. Rf8+ Kg4 64. Rg8+ Kh4 65. Rh8+ {I would say that it is impossible to win this position because the Black king cannot escape the checks. But Poley doesn't want a promising position to be drawn and blunders a rook.} Kg3 $4 66. Rh3+ Kxg2 67. Rxb3 f3 68. Ke3 f2 69. Rb2 {A highly unfortunate result but something that we all can learn from.} 1-0

Photo impressions by Alina l'Ami

Ambitious: Bjorn Thorfinnsson is playing and organizing!

Ulker Gasanova from Iceland

Shakhriyar Mmaedyarov played in board 11 due to Heidin Steingrimsson's arm injury

Rui Gao (black) defeated Daniel Bisby

Alexander Fier defeated Lars Oksar Hauge to remain perfect

Perhaps you have heard of her: Tania Sachdev

Hints that the sun might come out?!

No, it is not the case, but the artwork around Reykjavik makes up for it

Some Icelandic humor

Standings

Rk. Name FED RtgI Pts. Rp rtg+/-
1 Eljanov Pavel UKR 2727 4.0 3202 5.4
2 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn ISL 2554 4.0 2635 5.8
3 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2756 4.0 3252 7.6
4 Stopa Jacek POL 2544 4.0 3094 8.2
5 Fier Alexandr BRA 2601 4.0 3127 7.2
6 Gao Rui CHN 2533 4.0 3077 7.9
7 L'ami Erwin NED 2605 3.5 2689 3.2
8 Gunnarsson Jon Viktor ISL 2443 3.5 2734 13.6
9 Navara David CZE 2736 3.5 2736 0.0
10 Gupta Abhijeet IND 2625 3.5 3153 7.3
11 Jussupow Artur GER 2573 3.5 3097 5.5
12 Libiszewski Fabien FRA 2514 3.5 2966 3.5
13 Naroditsky Daniel USA 2633 3.5 2637 0.2
14 Maze Sebastien FRA 2564 3.5 3085 5.4
15 Colovic Aleksandar MKD 2482 3.5 2562 2.9
16 Georgiadis Nico SUI 2468 3.5 2480 2.8
17 Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2676 3.5 2669 -0.1
18 Grandelius Nils SWE 2603 3.5 2680 2.8
19 Brunello Sabino ITA 2540 3.5 2627 3.2
20 Hauge Lars Oskar NOR 2380 3.0 2493 14.2

Pairings Round Five

Bo. Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name Rtg
1 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2756 4 1 - 0 4 Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 2554
2 Eljanov Pavel 2727 4   4 Stopa Jacek 2544
3 Fier Alexandr 2601 4   4 Gao Rui 2533
4 Navara David 2736   Jussupow Artur 2573
5 Libiszewski Fabien 2514   Melkumyan Hrant 2676
6 Naroditsky Daniel 2633   Maze Sebastien 2564
7 Gupta Abhijeet 2625 1 - 0 Georgiadis Nico 2468
8 L'ami Erwin 2605   Brunello Sabino 2540
9 Gunnarsson Jon Viktor 2443   Grandelius Nils 2603
10 Movsesian Sergei 2665 3 1 - 0 3 Soors Stef 2408
11 Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2357 3   3 Steingrimsson Hedinn *) 2530
12 Tania Sachdev 2404 3   3 Hammer Jon Ludvig 2651
13 Shen Victor C 2401 3   3 Granda Zuniga Julio E 2646
14 Cornette Matthieu 2585 3   3 Ahlander Bjorn 2380
15 Jensson Einar Hjalti 2390 3   3 Hansen Eric 2566
16 Stefansson Hannes 2560 3   3 Hauge Lars Oskar 2380
17 Le Roux Jean-Pierre 2548 3   3 Abdumalik Zhansaya 2379
18 Sarkar Justin 2376 3 1 - 0 3 Rasmussen Allan Stig 2532
19 Danielsen Henrik 2514 3   3 Christiansen Johan-Sebastian 2351
20 Gulamali Kazim 2350 3 0 - 1 3 Tari Aryan 2509

Don't forget you can follow the action live on our www.playchess.com server.

Photos by Alina l'Ami

Replay Round Four (top boards)

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Topics Open, Reykjavik

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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