Tension Rising at Reykjavik Open, Dutch Duo in the Lead
The Reykjavik Open has reached its half-way point and the tension is rising. After 5 rounds the tournament, a 10-round Swiss, has two Dutch leaders: GMs Robin van Kampen and Erwin l'Ami. They will play on board one against each other on Saturday. Note that every day you can enjoy live commentary on this tournament on Chess.com/TV!
Celebrating fifty years after its first edition, the 29th Reykjavik Open is again being held in one of the most spectacular chess venues in the world: the Harpa concert hall in the harbor of Reykjavik. More than 250 players from over 40 different federations are playing in one big room, and a look outside gives a splendid view of the snow covered mountains.
Many participants who cannot play much chess throughout the year, choose this particular tournament for the many natural attractions the country offers. On the tournament website a nice collection of options was posted, and on Thursday many players joined the annual “Golden Circle” tour, which took them to the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir – the world famous hot spring and the final resting place of Bobby Fischer, just outside the town of Selfoss.
Except for the first two days there's been a lot of snowfall in Reykjavik. Therefore, many participants are finally experiencing a true winter, since the weather in Western European countries has been remarkably mild this year. The Netherlands, for example, hasn't seen any snow yet and had over 15 degrees Celsius temperatures this week, but GMs Robin van Kampen and Erwin l'Ami certainly won't regret being elsewhere. They are leading the tournament after five rounds, and will face each other on Saturday.
After getting to 3 out of 3, Van Kampen played a legendary player on Thursday: 65-year-old Walter Browne of the USA, who won the tournament in the Icelandic capital sixteen years before his opponent was born! Both players joined the commentary after the round, when the Dutchman said: “I decided not to play the Najdorf, because I heard you're an expert!” “Well, not anymore!” replied Browne, who then started asking all kinds of questions about the currenty opening theory. In the game, he didn't really have a chance.
You can still watch the post-mortem of this game in the video below, starting from 2 hours and 48 minutes:
The next day the 19-year-old grandmaster from Bussum also beat Richard Rapport of Hungary. In a Pirc, he chose a sideline on move 8 (where Bd3 is normal) and the game got very sharp when Rapport “self-trapped” his knight on f2. However, according to Van Kampen 16...Bd7 was not good (and his friend Anish Giri agreed with him) - Black should play 16...b5. Later the weakening of the dark squares with 29...e6?! was also bad, as Van Kampen demonstrated beautifully.
Van Kampen's opponent in tomorrow's big clash will be his compatriot, Erwin l'Ami. The 28-year-old grandmaster from Woerden had an easy day at the office in round 4 against Canadian IM Raja Panjwani.
Today l'Ami defeated Swedish GM Nils Grandelius from the black side of a Nimzo-Indian. The game seemed to be heading for a draw quickly when the d-pawns were traded, but in the ending Grandelius started to play somewhat strangely. His 24.Nd4 didn't had the desired effect and 32.d5, quickly and confidently, played, turned out to be bad after the simple 32...Rd7. When white defends his pawn with a king move, 33...Rc7 forces a pawn ending. In the game white ended up with too many weaknesses.
The top seed this year, Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany, suffered an unexpected loss in round 3. His opponent was Egyptian IM Mohamed Ezat, who played a spectacular draw with Vladimir Kramnik at the World Team Championship last year.
Reykjavik Open 2014 | Round 5 Standings
|2||11||GM||Van Kampen Robin||NED||2603||5||15,5||9,5||15,5||3159|
|9||6||GM||Jones Gawain C B||ENG||2651||4||16,5||10||12,75||2557|
|10||18||GM||Gretarsson H. S.||ISL||2511||4||16,5||10||12,75||2529|
|14||34||GM||Browne Walter S.||USA||2444||4||16||9||11||2478|
On Friday night another traditional side-event was held: the Chess Pub Quiz. Teams of two got to answer 30 questions about chess and the history of the game, both recent and past.
The winners of the quiz were GM Helgi Olafsson & New in Chess editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. Below are a few questions - try to solve them without Google or other external help! In the next report the answers will be provided.
1 What is the full name of our current World Champion?
2 In what year did Steinitz become World Champion?
3 Who said: “Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy”?
4 Which brothers currenlty have the highest average Elo?
5 Put the following players in order of birth date: Bronstein, R. Byrne, Geller, Gligoric.
6 When and where was the first official Olympiad, and who won?
7 Which country won the most bronze medals at an Olympiad and when was the last time?
8 Which South-American Youth World Champion U-20 in Copenhagen and has a variation named after him?
9 Kasparov and Karpov played the most games against each other in World Championship matches. Which players played the most games against each other after them?
10 Like Fischer, Capablanca invented his own variant of chess. How many squares had the board of Capablanca Chess?
Here's the schedule for the rest of the tournament:
March 8th Saturday 13:00 GMT / 08:00 EST / 05:00 PST 6th round
March 9th Sunday 13:00 GMT / 08:00 EST / 05:00 PST 7th round
March 10th Monday 16:30 GMT / 11:30 EST / 08:30 PST 8th round
March 11th Tuesday 16:30 GMT / 11:30 EST / 08:30 PST 9th round
March 12th Wednesday 12:00 GMT / 07:00 EST / 04:00 PST 10th round
March 13th Thursday 18:30 GMT / 13:30 EST / 10:30 PST
All photos © Fiona Steil-Antoni | Note that every day you can enjoy live commentary on this tournament on Chess.com/TV!