Only Chinese Player Li Chao Victorious in Reykjavik
Li Chao won the Reykjavik Open on Wednesday. As the only player from China this year, Li started with a draw in the first round but scored an impressive 8 points in his final 9 games. He finished clear first with 8.5/10, half a point ahead of Robin van Kampen, Eric Hansen, Eduardas Rozentalis and Helgi Olafsson.
The weather was particularly rough this year, and so more than ever it was a treat for the participants of the Reykjavik Open to be able to play their games in the spectacular Harpa concert & festival hall alongside the old harbor. The second half of the tournament (find our previous report here) saw many more interesting games, so let's jump right into it!
Erwin l'Ami and Robin van Kampen, who were tied for first place at half-time, were obviously paired against each other in round 6. Instead of going for a quick draw, the two Dutch GMs fought a tought game in which the older of the two was very close to a win. “I don't usually look at my games with the computer during tournaments, but I'm pretty sure I was winning somewhere,” said l'Ami.
In the same round Richard Rapport outplayed IM Pouya Idani of Iran and finished with a pretty checkmate. Can you see it?
March 9th, the birthday of Bobby Fischer and the day his grave was visited by Garry Kasparov, was a bad day for the Dutch players: both Van Kampen and l'Ami lost (and his wife Alina too). Although he would finish terribly with 0 out of 3, in this round Egypt's number one played a fine game:
Van Kampen was the victim of a pretty nice combination by top seed Arkadij Naiditsch. Can you find it?
In the eighth round Li Chao was back on board one, and he was intending to stay there! White was “h-filed” and didn't survive a shot from Alekhine's Gun:
In the same round two chess veterans faced each other: Walter Browne and Helgi Olafsson. It would be the start of an exellent finish for the local GM.
To get an idea about the fighting spirit in Reykjavik, you only have to look at the results of round nine. The top nine boards all ended decisively! It's not easy to pick one, but obviously the encounter on the top board should be included here:
The top seed fell back to shared 10th place due to the following loss.
Van Kampen loves to play against a Closed Ruy Lopez, as long as it's not a Marshall. He didn't warn his opponent about that:
And so in the final round, on Wednesday, Li Chao was defending a half-point lead over Hansen, Van Kampen (room mates in Reykjavik) and Olafsson. The situation at the top didn't change much with three (fighting!) draws on boards 1-3. Eduardas Rozentalis joined the players in second place with the following win:
A truly heart-breaking game was the following - one of the very last still going on in an otherwise almost empty playing hall. The black player needed a win to score a GM norm, and he came so close...
Reykjavik Open 2014 | Final standings (Top 40)
|2||11||GM||Van Kampen Robin||NED||2603||8||66||53||51||2727||19,3|
|8||18||GM||Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn||ISL||2511||7,5||62||50,5||45,75||2588||12,4|
|15||6||GM||Jones Gawain C B||ENG||2651||7||62,5||50||41,75||2564||-5,7|
|16||34||GM||Browne Walter S.||USA||2444||7||62||50,5||39,5||2480||8,6|
|27||5||GM||Amin Bassem Dr.||EGY||2657||6,5||71||57,5||43,25||2603||-1,8|
|37||44||FM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2395||6,5||60||48||35,5||2444||9,3|
|39||57||FM||Antal Tibor Kende||HUN||2325||6,5||58,5||47,5||35||2399||16,5|
Full final standings here
No less than six players made international norms. The Egyptian Mohamed Ezat was the only one got get a GM norm. Five players made IM norms: the young Indian Chitambaram Vr. Aravindh, Tatev Abrahamyan, Daniel Cawdery, Brede Kvisvik and Lenka Ptácníková.