Lone Pine 1975: Guðmundur Sigurjónsson Icelandic chess Grandmaster.

Jul 31, 2010, 7:01 AM |

I’m back. I’ve turned the time machine back to this tournament so I can  finish what I started. I searched hard for more biographical information for this Icelandic GM but all I could find was this short wiki blurb ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gu%C3%B0mundur_Sigurj%C3%B3nsson):


Guðmundur Sigurjónsson (September 25, 1947 Reykjavik) is an Icelandic chess Grandmaster.


He became International Master in 1970, grandmaster in 1975 and has won the Icelandic Chess Championship three times (1965, 1968 and 1972).[1] Played for Iceland in the Chess Olympiads of 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984 and 1986.[2] His tournament successes included 1st at Reykjavik 1970, =1st at Sant Feliu de Guíxols 1974, =2nd at Hastings 1974-75, =1st at Orense 1976, =2nd at Cienfuegos 1976 and =1st at Brighton 1982.


In the November 2009 FIDE list, he has an Elo rating of 2463, making him Iceland's number 10.


Let’s dive into his games at Lone Pine. I’m highlighting three Sicilians. In Round 3, he plays into  the veteran Svetozar Gligoric’s Najdorf variation of the Sicilian Defense.  He keeps a steady hand  with the typical themes of castling King side, and advancing pawns on the Queen side.  Gligoric seemed to play a little less energetically and allowed Gudnubdur a chance to build up pressure on the d-file and in particular, the d5/d6 squares where black has a backward pawn.



By move 15, Black has a couple of weakness on b6 and d6. White also has good chances to occupy d5 as well. In light of this, Gligoric does an exchange sacrifice with his rook for the White’s threatening knight. The Icelandic GM simplifies the game in a series of exchanges as there was no real compensation for the exchange.

The next game I wish to highlight is the one in round 5 against Panno’s Sheveningen variation. As a side note from an amateur chess historian, the Scheveningen variation of the Sicilian, first was debuted by Max Euwe against Maroczy in the town of Scheveningen in 1923.

The general themes of this variation are as follows:

This is a variation of an Open Sicilian where Black gets an extra central pawn.  The e6-d6 form a barrier  so that Black can focus on counterplay on the Q-side along the c-file. Moving the a- and b-pawns to a6 and b5.

White gets a bit of a space advantage. He also usually gets play on the Kingside.

In the actual game a central exchange on e4 plants a passed pawn on e4 for Black while giving White some control over the d-file.  With most of the minor pieces traded off, the middle game struggles with both sides having awkward bishops behind their own pawns on the same color. White’s advantage lies in an outpost rook on d6. Panno makes the poor choice of exchanging  his active rook for White’s bad bishop with a weak threat to follow.  The game quickly turns bad for Black after.

In round 6, Larry Evans deploys a Najdorf which Sigurjonsson responds with 6.f4 this time. Larry plays some interesting variations with a king side fianchetto and a move like Nc5 making for a pseudo-dragon variation.  Black gets into some space trouble in the middle game but manages to hold the position. White gets a couple of strong shots in on the d-file and begins the process of simplification. Once the major pieces are off the board, a draw is eminent.


He finishes with 6 points ( 4 wins 4 draws and only 2 losses).  He earned his GM title in the same year following his performance at Hastings and at Lone Pine.

It looks like he drops out of international chess altogether after 1986. I could not find out more on what this Icelandic Grandmaster is up to these days.