Erwin l'Ami Wins Reykjavik Open With A Round To Spare

Erwin l'Ami Wins Reykjavik Open With A Round To Spare

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Mar 19, 2015, 4:59 AM |
10 | Chess Event Coverage

Calling it “a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” a modest GM Erwin l'Ami scored his career's best performance at the Reykjavik Open.

With a splendid 8.5/9 the 29-year-old Dutch grandmaster secured tournament victory with a round to go, and so his last-round loss was irrelevant.

GM Pavel Eljanov, the winner in 2013, finished second with 8.0/10 and on the same number of points ended French GM Fabien Libiszewski.

To seed GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's 7.5/10 was only slightly disappointing rating-wise. GM David Navara, who finished second at the European Championship two weeks ago, lost in the final round to finish on 6.5 points.

But this tournament will be remembered for one man only: GM Erwin l'AmiAfter he refuted Mamedyarov's play in round seven and converted an ending after a blunder by Granda in round eight, GM Hrant Melkumyan became his next victim.

The Armenian GM was actually slightly better out of the opening as l'Ami had avoided the most critical lines in a Grünfeld. But then Melkumyan then he showed his cards too quickly. His action on the queenside had disastrous consequences; he eventually lost a pawn, and many moves later the game.

l'Ami reaches an untouchable 8.5/9 as Melkumyan resigns.

Here's l'Ami's reaction right after the game, taken from the live show produced by Chess.com:

“I'm just completely exhausted actually,” said l'Ami. “But it's a really good feeling. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing I guess. I hope not, but...Actually I have a cold, and I just came from Cappelle la Grande and I didn't have huge expectations but it's been going really well.”

While he was speaking with FM Ingvar Johannesson, congratulating tweets were shown on the screen:

His wife Alina wasn't in the playing hall during the final phase of the game. l'Ami: “I didn't see her yet so she probably couldn't bear watching me! I thank her of course, because without her I would never have made it. She is always the one doing everything to make it perfect.”

Alina and Erwin l'Ami. | Photo Fiona Steil-Antoni.

“I'll be ready, don't worry,” said l'Ami when Johannesson asked him if he “could play” in round 10. Well, it didn't go so well for the Dutchman. He was lucky enough to get White again in his final round game vs GM Pavel Eljanov, but also here he didn't get much out of the opening.

A draw would have been fine, and in fact the position was roughly equal around move 23, but l'Ami chose the wrong plan of grabbing a pawn on a6. Black grabbed the initiative and never let go.


l'Ami (2605) scored a performaned rating of 2826 and won 26.8 Elo points. He's not fully back at his highest rating ever though: 2651, in May 2014. 

The tournament winner had been rather quiet on Twitter himself during the tournament (staying away from the ever-distracting social media was perhaps one of the reasons for his success?), but afterward he was back:

Another surprise in this tournament was GM Fabien Libiszewski, who was part of a group of French grandmasters who took two byes during the tournament. His actual score therefore was an excellent 7.0/8.

In the final round the French GM played the French and beat GM Gawain Jones, who said he “just couldn't find a plan.”

GM Fabien Libiszewski. | Photo Fiona Steil-Antoni.

GM David Navara ended his tournament badly. After a bye on Sunday he lost to GM Alexandr Fier, then easily beat IM Marc Esserman but in the final round he was just too creative against GM Henrik Danielsen.

Quite a few norms were scored at this year's Reykjavik Open: 

  • IM Jacek Stopa scored a 9-round GM norm.
  • WGM Zhansaya Abdumalik, FM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen, WGM Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, FM Daniel Bisby and FM Tibor Kende Antal scored 9-round IM norms.
  • FM Jonas Rosner scored a 10-round IM norm.

2015 Reykjavik Open | Final Standings (Top 30)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Rp rtg+/-
1 11 GM L'Ami Erwin NED 2605 8,5 64,5 53 53,25 2826 26,8
2 3 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2727 8 67,5 54 53,5 2749 3,7
3 28 GM Libiszewski Fabien FRA 2514 8 61,5 49 50,25 2737 20,4
4 13 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2601 7,5 66,5 53 47,75 2715 16,4
5 9 GM Naroditsky Daniel USA 2633 7,5 65,5 53 47,25 2667 6,6
6 1 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2756 7,5 65,5 52 46,25 2726 -1,7
7 4 GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2676 7,5 64,5 52 45,5 2635 -2,6
8 16 GM Hansen Eric CAN 2566 7,5 64,5 51,5 46,75 2665 13,8
9 6 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2651 7,5 64 52,5 47,5 2603 -2,9
10 10 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2625 7,5 63,5 51 46,75 2673 6,5
11 18 GM Stefansson Hannes ISL 2560 7,5 62,5 50,5 47,5 2585 3,6
12 27 GM Danielsen Henrik ISL 2514 7,5 62 49,5 44,75 2585 10,4
13 15 GM Jussupow Artur GER 2573 7,5 61 49,5 45,5 2644 8,7
14 12 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2603 7,5 58,5 47 43,25 2589 -0,7
15 23 GM Gao Rui CHN 2533 7 65,5 52,5 43,5 2573 6,9
16 7 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2646 7 65 52 42,5 2605 -2,4
17 19 GM Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn ISL 2554 7 63,5 50,5 42,75 2553 1,6
18 8 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2642 7 63 50,5 42,5 2567 -7,1
19 17 GM Maze Sebastien FRA 2564 7 62,5 51 41,75 2628 7,8
20 50 IM Norowitz Yaacov USA 2422 7 62,5 50,5 41,75 2501 13,3
21 26 GM Grover Sahaj IND 2519 7 62 51 41,75 2499 0,1
22 31 GM Idani Pouya IRI 2496 7 62 50 41,5 2511 4,7
23 65 WGM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat IRI 2357 7 61,5 50,5 41,75 2531 49,4
24 14 GM Cornette Matthieu FRA 2585 7 61 49,5 43,5 2572 -0,1
25 20 GM Le Roux Jean-Pierre FRA 2548 7 61 49 43 2517 -1,7
26 33 GM Rombaldoni Axel ITA 2488 7 61 48,5 41 2457 -1,9
27 5 GM Movsesian Sergei ARM 2665 7 59,5 47,5 40,25 2553 -10,2
28 63 IM Sarkar Justin USA 2376 7 59 47,5 40,75 2490 17,2
29 78 FM Antal Tibor Kende HUN 2317 7 57 47 39,25 2552 58
30 75 FM Rosner Jonas GER 2324 7 56,5 45 38,25 2447 34,8

(Full standings here)

The top 3 of the 2015 Reykjavik Open with flowers.

The Reykjavik Open 2015 was held for the 30th time. 274 players from 37 countries participated.


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