Reykjavik Open Underway, Fischer Random Tomorrow
Nihal Sarin (left) and Praggnanandhaa R on top boards in Reykjavik's third round. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open.

Reykjavik Open Underway, Fischer Random Tomorrow

| 14 | Chess Event Coverage

The Reykjavik Open is well underway in the Icelandic capital. After three rounds, GMs Mustafa Yilmaz (Turkey), Vaibhav Suri (India) and Elshan Moradiabadi are the only three players left with a perfect score. On Friday, March 9 a strong Fischer Random tournament will be held in the same venue.

"If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes." The saying is aptly used for Iceland, where the weather is infamously unpredictable. Not this year, though: your reporter has been in Reykjavik since Sunday, and has only seen clear skies and sunshine. A surprising but pleasant change!

The Reykjavik Open, however, hasn't changed much, and that's a good thing. The tournament is still played in the beautiful Harpa concert hall along the harbor. The organizers are still doing a great job of making everyone feel comfortable and there's still plenty of side events to enjoy.

The honest truth, however, is that field of participants is not as strong as in previous years. We're missing at least one big name that was usually there, such as Anish Giri, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov or Fabiano Caruana, as in previous years.

This does give more chances to up and coming players. For example, as early as the third round we saw Indian rising stars IM Praggnanandhaa R and IM Nihal Sarin play on boards one and two (perhaps as a result of accelerated pairings), and both held their higher-rated opponent to a draw.

By now, Praggnanandhaa must have given up his attempts to break Sergey Karjakin's record to become the youngest ever grandmaster but that doesn't mean he won't be trying to score the first of his two remaining GM norms here.

Praggnanandhaa R

Praggnanandhaa R. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open.

Speaking of records; Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan, who became the second youngest grandmaster in history in October 2017, still doesn't have that GM title on the FIDE rating list. He is on 2.5/3 as well in Reykjavik.

The first round was played on Tuesday, and then two rounds were played on Wednesday. It's the only day with double rounds, so the worst is over for the players. (Well, there's still nine Chess960 games on the "rest day" waiting for them!)

Only three players are still on a 100 percent score: Mustafa Yilmaz of Turkey, Vaibhav Suri of India and Elshan Moradiabadi of the USA. Top seeds Richard Rapport, Pavel Eljanov and Gata Kamsky have dropped half a point whereas Baskaran Adhiban was held to a draw twice already.

Eljanov used too much time on the clock and missed a win in round two:

Pavel Eljanov

Pavel Eljanov, like many top players now sporting a beard. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open.

In the same round, GM Erwin l'Ami, who won the tournament in 2015, was pressing as White in his usual style but then he missed a tactic. All of a sudden his position was hopelessly lost.

Erwin l'Ami

2015 winner Erwin l'Ami. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open.

IM Praggnanandhaa R could have been on a perfect score and among the leaders if he had found a winning move in a position where just about everyone would have automatically taken the rook:

Theoretical battles are usually seen in super (round robin) tournaments, but every now and then it happens in an open as well. GM Mustafa Yilmaz was the first player to reach 3/3 after playing a novelty on move 19 in a Gruenfeld and beating U.S. grandmaster GM Eugene Perelshteyn. Here's the game, and Yilmaz's explanation in the studio afterward:

GM Vaibhav Suri, the other leader after three rounds, slowly outplayed IM John Bartholomew after an interesting opening phase. The bishop endgame was instructive:

2018 Reykjavik Open | Round 3 Standings

# SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts. Rp rtg+/-
1-2 9 GM Yilmaz, Mustafa 2619 3 3186 6,8
1-2 17 GM Vaibhav, Suri 2544 3 3134 7,5
3 19 GM Moradiabadi, Elshan 2535 3 3073 5,5
4-7 2 GM Eljanov, Pavel 2713 2,5 2624 -1,8
4-7 12 GM Lenderman, Aleksandr 2600 2,5 2647 1,9
4-7 20 IM Sarin, Nihal 2534 2,5 2701 6,4
4-7 28 GM Fernandez, Daniel Howard 2505 2,5 2628 4,7
8-12 8 GM Cornette, Matthieu 2620 2,5 2669 2
8-12 14 GM Grigoriants, Sergey 2568 2,5 2534 -0,3
8-12 16 GM Friedel, Joshua 2562 2,5 2619 2,1
8-12 22 IM Abdusattorov, Nodirbek 2518 2,5 2553 1,2
8-12 137 Mai, Aron Thor 1975 2,5 1878 -8
13 158 Johannsson, Birkir Isak 1867 2,5 2243 54
14 156 Davidsson, Oskar Vikingur 1882 2,5 2217 50,4
15-17 1 GM Rapport, Richard 2715 2,5 2705 0,1
15-17 13 GM Lagarde, Maxime 2587 2,5 2630 1,9
15-17 35 IM Haria, Ravi 2424 2,5 2722 11,3
18-24 3 GM Kamsky, Gata 2677 2,5 2652 -0,3
18-24 5 GM Adly, Ahmed 2643 2,5 2651 0,5
18-24 11 GM Can, Emre 2603 2,5 2615 0,7

(Fulll standings here.)

The schedule for the remaining days is as follows:

  • Thursday, March 8 at 5 p.m. (noon Eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific, 6 p.m. Central Europe) - Round 4
  • Friday, March 9 at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern, 5 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Central Europe) - Fischer Random
  • Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern, 5 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Central Europe) - Round 5
  • Sunday, March 11 at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. Eastern, 7 a.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Central Europe) - Round 6
  • Monday, March 12 at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. Eastern, 7 a.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Central Europe) - Round 7
  • Tuesday, March 13 at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. Eastern, 7 a.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Central Europe) - Round 8
  • Wednesday, March 14 at 11 a.m. (6 a.m. Eastern, 4 a.m. Pacific, noon Central Europe) - Round 9

Each day, the tournament is covered with a live broadcast on and where GM Simon Williams and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni give commentary.

Fiona Steil-Antoni & Simon Williams

Fiona Steil-Antoni & Simon Williams. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Reykjavik Open.

Games via TWIC.

Correction: an earlier version of this report stated that only Mustafa Yilmaz and Vaibhav Suri were on 3/3 but Elshan Moradiabadi was on the same score.

Earlier reports:

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