Shirov To Bring Fire On Board To Iceland
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GM Alexei Shirov is one of the stars at the 2017 Reykjavik Open. The annual open tournament in Iceland will be held in April.
Harpa, the venue for the 2017 Reykjavik Open.
Before the end of the year, the organizers have secured some big names for the 32nd edition of the Reykjavik Open. The top seeds at the moment are GMs Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Sergey Movsesian, Alexey Shirov, Gawain Jones, Gata Kamsky, Abhijeet Gupta, Erwin l'Ami, Alexandr Fier, IM Awonder Liang, and GM Torre Eugenio.
The organizers are especially happy with the presence of Alexey "Fire on Board" Shirov, the legendary Latvian grandmaster who has played so many aggressive, tactical games as well as beautiful endgames. The last time Shirov played in Iceland was in 1992, also at the Reykjavik Open. He tied for first place with local hero Johann Hjartarson.
After 25 years Alexei Shirov will be playing in Reykjavik again. | Photo Vladimir Jagr.
Another player who belonged to the world elite in the 1990s is Kamsky. The American grandmaster, who lost the FIDE world championship match to Anatoly Karpov in 1996, is mostly playing open tournaments these days, but has definitely kept his fighting spirit.
"Usual suspects" are Jones and l'Ami; the latter won the tournament in 2015, sadly had to miss the 2016 edition, but now returns together with his wife Alina.
And then there's 65-year-old Torre from the Philippines. A truly legendary player, Torre has played more Chess Olympiads (23 in total!) than anyone else on the globe. In the latest, this year in Baku, he scored 10/11, which got him the individual bronze medal.
Another player to watch is IM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. The Indian prodigy is the youngest IM of all time; he earned the title at 10 years, 10 months and 19 days old. His sister WIM Ramesh Babu Vaishali will be playing as well.
2017 Reykjavik Open | Top Entries
|1||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||2689|
|4||GM||Jones Gawain C B||2667|
|15||FM||Jena Rakesh Kumar||2335|
|19||FM||Kárason Áskell Örn||2316|
"We are happy with the list of players so far," tournament director Gunnar Bjornsson told Chess.com. "Having some good regular friends with always-smiling faces back like Gupta, Tania, Gawain, Erwin and Sergei is great.
"It's a pleasure to have back players who have not played in Reykjavik Open even for decades like Kamsky, Torre and Shirov. We will add more GMs to the list of players in the new year. We are also looking for strong female players so we urge strong woman chess players to contact us!"
Gata Kamsky, another big name in the 2017 Reykjavik Open.
For the coming year the tournament has been moved up one month: it will be held not in March, but April 19-27. These days work better for hotels, since March is an extremely busy month in Reykjavik. As a result, the weather will be better, with more sun and higher temperatures.
Luckily, the venue didn't change. Again the tournament will be held in the beautiful Harpa Conference and Concert Hall along the harbor. It's still one of the most beautiful playing venues of any chess tournament in the world.
Other great aspects of the tournament remain the same as well: the now famous Reykjavík Open Chess Pub Quiz, the Golden Circle sightseeing tour that includes stops at Geysir and Bobby Fischer's final resting place and the new museum about the American legend. If you haven't played this tournament yet, consider it seriously for the coming year!
(Disclaimer: Chess.com has an excellent relationship with the tournament organizers after having produced the live broadcast in recent years.)