Double Indian Success In Reykjavik

Double Indian Success In Reykjavik

| 9 | Chess Event Coverage

The 31st Reykjavik Open saw a double Indian success with GM Abhijeet Gupta winning the main event and IM Tania Sachdev scoring her second GM norm.

All photos by Lennart Ootes.

The bigger part of the 31st Reykjavik Open, held 8-16 March, was overshadowed by the FIDE Candidates' Tournament. From round 4 onwards the tournament overlapped with Moscow, which started dominating the chess news. However, with many strong and creative players the Reykjavik Open saw lots of interesting chess again this year.

Let's pick up the tournament where we left it: after three rounds, two of which were played on Wednesday the 9th. 11 players were still on a perfect score, and the first GM clashes were about to be seen.

Whereas Alexander Shabalov (USA) and Ivan Cheparinov (Bulgaria) drew their game on board one, English GM Gawain Jones moved to 4.0/4 with a nice win over Icelandic GM Henrik Danielsen. His 1.f4-with-Leningrad-setup, known as the “Polar Bear system,” got even more interesting when White pushed his f-pawn even further before touching his e-pawn.

Gawain Jones (with host Manuel Weeks) explaining his quick win in the live broadcast.

Let's continue looking at games where we had the winner in our studio in Reykjavik, so that you might enjoy both the game and their instructive explanation. First Indian IM Tania Sachdev, whose second GM norm began to take shape in round five with a win against 11-time Icelandic champion GM Hannes Stefansson.

Tania Sachdev in the live broadcast.

Around that stage GM Sergei Movsesian who was doing well. With 5.5 points the Armenian grandmaster was in clear first place after six rounds. He defeated one of the top seeds, GM Richard Rapport of Hungary. Maybe it was asking for trouble to go into Sicilian territory against a leading expert?

Sergei Movsesian in the live broadcast.

In the seventh round we had GM Abhijeet Gupta dropping by. The evetual tournament winner outplayed GM Alexander Shabalov with the black pieces from an Anti-Berlin. The American grandmaster missed Black's main threat when he played the novelty 11.a4.

Abhijeet Gupta in the live broadcast.

The next day we were visited by IM Liz Paehtz, who said she was in her last year of professional chess. Well, it's a year with at least one GM scalp as she defeated her good friend (and well known author) GM Mihail Marin with the white pieces.

Elisabeth Paehtz in the live broadcast.

Back to the tournament winner, who played some excellent positional games. Look at how he grinds down Sergei Movsesian from a position where the only difference is a slightly weakened structure for Black. Any 2700 grandmaster would have been proud of this game.

Reykjavik Open winner Abhijeet Gupta. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Tania Sachdev played a few bad tournaments last year, and her rating had dropped below 2400. “I have never studied so hard on my chess as in the last couple of months,” she explained her success in Reykjavik. It does pay off to look at your games!

After reaching an undefeated plus four score in round six she finished with draws against strong grandmasters: Dmitry Andreikin, Gawain Jones, Sergei Movsesian and Alexander Beliavsky. She was close to a win against Movsesian in round nine, where the draw secured her norm.

A second GM norm for Tania Sachdev. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Enough quiet games, let's add some more fun. Two more games: one with a remarkable opening, and one where we're gonna attack!

See what the ever-creative GM Richard Rapport did in round eight against Russian GM Sergey Grigoriants: the somewhat provocative 1.Nf3 h6!? 2.e4 g5!?. The game finished as surprising as it started with Grigoriants accepting a well-timed draw offer from his 2700 opponent in a winning position.

Rapport: creative or provocative? | Photo Lennart Ootes.

The last game in this report will feature the commentary by FM Manuel Weeks, who not only debuted as commentator but also provided excellent daily reports for the tournament website. Combining those jobs is not easy, but it helps that he's a fan of good coffee!

The amicable IM Bjorn Thorfinsson. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

With Manuel Weeks' words we'll say goodbye to another fine tournament in Reykjavik, where two Indians played so well, the local players disappointed this year and the weather was unpredictable as always.

About the local players, one member of the team suggested: “We should start eating rice and curry!” And about the weather, there's the famous saying: If you don't like the weather in Iceland, just wait ten minutes.

2016 Reykjavik Open | Final Standings

Rk SNo Title Name Fed Rtg Pts TB1 TB2 TB3 Rp Rtg+/-
1 10 GM Gupta IND 2634 8,5 68 55,5 57 2799 20
2 2 GM Andreikin RUS 2732 8 61,5 49,5 50,75 2781 3,9
3 5 GM Cheparinov BUL 2684 7,5 68 54 49,5 2701 4,2
4 3 GM Rapport HUN 2720 7,5 67,5 54,5 49 2705 0,5
5 1 GM Mamedyarov AZE 2747 7,5 66 53 49,25 2761 3,1
6 7 GM Movsesian ARM 2653 7,5 65 52 47 2687 5,8
7 21 GM Rambaldi ITA 2541 7,5 64,5 51,5 46,25 2629 12,8
8 15 GM Grigoriants RUS 2587 7,5 61,5 49,5 45,5 2597 3,7
9 6 GM Melkumyan ARM 2653 7,5 61 48,5 45 2622 -1,9
10 8 GM Grandelius SWE 2646 7,5 60,5 47,5 44 2562 -6,3
11 20 IM Tari NOR 2553 7,5 58,5 47 42,25 2504 -3,6
12 9 GM Jones ENG 2645 7 66 53 43,25 2632 1,3
13 23 GM Shabalov USA 2520 7 64,5 51,5 42,25 2565 8
14 49 IM Sachdev IND 2370 7 63,5 52 43 2599 30,5
15 32 IM Esserman USA 2458 7 63,5 51 42,25 2561 15,7
16 19 GM Ramirez USA 2564 7 62 50,5 41,75 2530 -1,3
17 11 GM Beliavsky SLO 2630 7 61,5 50,5 41,5 2555 -5,9
18 4 GM Sargissian ARM 2702 7 61,5 49,5 41,25 2595 -8,7
19 30 IM Lampert GER 2472 7 61 49 39,75 2469 3,3
20 18 GM Brunello ITA 2567 7 59,5 48 39 2577 3,6

(Full final standings here.)

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