Join Richard Rapport In Harpa At The Reykjavik Open

Join Richard Rapport In Harpa At The Reykjavik Open

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 12, 2016, 1:00 AM |
2 | Chess Event Coverage

The 2016 Reykjavik Open (March 8-16) will again be held in Harpa and has secured itself of creative chess.

The European Team Championship was just two months ago, but chess-minded Iceland is already preparing its next event: the 2016 Reykjavik Open.

The top seed is Richard Rapport of Hungary, so the tournament will definitely see some great chess again this year.

Rapport is joined in Iceland by his girlfriend WGM Jovana Vojinovic (2352). Both players had a fantastic tournament at the European Team Championship: Vojinovic with a 2576 rating performance in the women's section and Rapport with a massive 2828 Elo performance in the open.

Rapport is one of two 2700+ players currently listed; the other is Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia. Three 2600 grandmasters have signed up, including Simen Agdestein who will bring a handful of Norwegian talents to Iceland.

At the moment 160 players from 31 federations have registered, including people from Iraq, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Many more will follow; usually the tournament has well over 30 grandmasters playing.

Yet again the venue will be the beautiful, 28.000 sqm. concert hall Harpa.

Last year the tournament celebrated the 80th birthday of legendary Icelandic Grandmaster and former FIDE President, Fridrik Olafsson. The winner was Erwin l’Ami, who secured first place with a round to spare.

Modest as he is, l'Ami called it “a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” but his score was impressive: 8.5/9. He won a dramatic game against Hrant Melkumyan (already on the participants list for 2016!) in the penultimate round: 

l'Ami reached an untouchable 8.5/9 as Melkumyan resigned late in the evening.

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.”

The 2016 edition will be the 31st already, but the chess fever started in Reykjavik long before Fischer-Spassky in 1972. The first tournament was held in 1964 and won by Mikhail Tal. His score was even better than l'Ami's: 12.5/13.

Initially it was held every two years, but since 2008 the Reykjavik Open has been held every year. Many famous players have played, including Nona Gaprindashvili, David Bronstein, Vasily Smyslov, Bent Larsen, Mark Taimanov, Lev Polugaevsky, Jan Timman, Viktor Korchnoi, Samuel Reshevsky, Anthony Miles, Nigel Short, Hikaru Nakamura, Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan.

View of Reykjavik from the Hallgrímskirkja (click to expand).

As always, the tournament will give you an excellent opportunity to see the very special country of Iceland. For instance you can take the specially arranged Golden Circle tour that will take you to the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, the final resting place of Bobby Fischer, and the Bobby Fischer Center.

The Reykjavik Open 2016 will be held from March 8 to March 16. You'll find all the info on the official website.

Disclaimer: Chess.com will again produce the live broadcast of the Reykjavik Open this year, and happily agreed to promote the tournament with this article.

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