GM Adhiban Baskaran

Mar 18, 2018, 6:14 AM |

"I was telling my friends, I hope the spirit of Fischer is with me. I think it was!" said GM Baskaran Adhibanafter winning the GAMMA Reykjavik Open at his first attempt. The Indian GM was the only player to finish on 7.5 points.

The 33rd edition of the Reykjavik Open took place 6-14 March in the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik, Iceland. A total of 248 players from 34 federations played, including 27 grandmasters. 

Reykjavik Open Gamma

On the last day, main sponsor GAMMA announced sponsorship for (at least) another three years. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open. 

Many open tournaments these days have a large group of strong Indians participating. Even though the travel is not easy, 11 players of Bharat were playing in this year's Reykjavik Open.

There reason for this is an interesting financial system that many strong Indian players are part of. Many companies in India take sportsmen as "employees," and pay them an annual salary, while the athletes can strive to achieve their goals.

Several chess players are enjoying such an agreement. For players in higher classes of society it's easier to find a company, while others sometimes need to "prove" themselves (e.g. by winning a Youth Championship) before they get selected.

The 33rd Reykjavik Open had a strong "Indian flavor" with Baskaran Adhiban (who is supported by the Indian Oil Corporation) winning the main event, and rising star IM Nihal Sarin scoring his second GM norm. The 13-year-old is now ahead of his good friend Praggnanandhaa R, who also played, but again failed to score his second norm. He is eight months younger.

Baskaran Adhiban Reykjavik Open

Baskaran Adhiban. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open. 

Speaking of young talents; 13-year-old IM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan, who has already fulfilledall requirements for becoming a GM, scored a solid 6.5/9 without a loss.

But back to Adhiban. A key game was his win over second seeded GM Richard Rapport in the penultimate round. Adhiban used the Slav Geller Gambit but a modern version where White kept the initiative after a queen trade. Rapport then made a blunder very early.