Spectacular playing venue for Reykjavik Open

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

The Reykjavik Open will be held March 6-13, 2012 at Harpa, Reykjavik's spectacular new music hall on the harbour. This was announced today in a press release by the organizers.

Concert hall and conference center Harp, opened in May 2011, will be the venue for this year's Reykjavik Chess Festival. Only 5 minutes walk to downtown Reykjavik, Harpa features several restaurants and concerts during evenings and weekends. It's probably the most spectacular playing venue ever for an open chess tournament.

The festival, organized by the Icelandic Chess Federation in co-operation with the Reykjavik Chess Academy, will be held between March 6th and 13th, 2012.

Special packages

In co-operation with Icelandair, the organizers have arranged special packages, which include flights and hotels. 25% discount of the entrance fee will be provided when package-receipt is shown.

The tournament

The tournament has a total prize fund of €15,000, including many special prizes for various ages and rating categories, in addition to the traditional top women prize. There will be many side events, including sightseeing, a Fischer-Spassky exhibit, a soccer match and a pub quiz. There will be a limited number of conditions, flight and accommodations for GMs and WGMs. The goal of the organizers is to answer all requests no later than the beginning of January, so interested players are urged to mail soon to


The 2012 edition is expected to be very strong. It includes at least two players with a rating above 2700. (At the moment David Navara is already on the list, while yet another Tata A group participant informed us about his confirmed participation: Fabiano Caruana.) An up-to-date participants’ list can be founded here. In 2011, 166 players from 30 countries participated, including 27 grandmasters, 11 of which with an Elo rating of 2600 and higher.

Much more than a chess tournament

As in earlier years, several chess-related events will take place at the same time as the tournament, including the now famous Reykjavik Open Chess Pub Quiz and the Golden Circle sightseeing tour that includes stops at Geysir and Bobby Fischer's final resting place in the southern part of Iceland. And given the favourable exchange rate of the Icelandic króna, Iceland is one of the most attractive places in the world to visit and play in chess tournaments.

The playing venue on Google Maps, satellite view (when it was still being constructed)

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Fischer-Spassky “Match of the Century”

During the Reykjavik Open in 2012, there will be an exhibition in the National Museum of Iceland commemorating the 40th anniversary of “The Match of the Century” between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. The museum is within a 15-minute walking distance from Harpa. The exhibition will feature, among others, the board and chess sets from the match, and of course much more.

Still thinking about your next move?

This is what last year's participant GM Luke McShane (England) said:

Thanks again for a very enjoyable tournament in Reykjavik. Personally, I'm really glad I got another opportunity to visit Iceland after so many years, and it's great to see the tournament getting tougher every year!

GM Ivan Sokolov (Bosnia):

The Reykjavik City Hall as an open tournament venue is probably one of the best venues of any open tournament in the world. It has its advantages that go beyond regular good playing conditions. After the game, stepping out of the playing hall, either being happy with your win or annoyed/distressed with your blunder, you are in the middle of the renowned Reykjavik night life to be enjoyed.

This year the organizer is moving from the City Hall, but is promising at least an equally good venue (and is still candid about it). The Reykjavik Open has also in recent years become more like a festival, with organizers taking care to invite young, old, boys, girls, different countries, strong GMs, keeping the mixed tournament for which it is already recognized, and creating a unique atmosphere. The Reykjavik Open is definitely an experiance for itself, an event worth visiting and returning!

Alan Byron (England)

I just wanted to thank you for an excellent event. I really enjoyed it and will definitely enter again next year.


The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is 28.000 square meters (258.000 sq ft) in size. The bottom slab is 8.000 square meters; the building is 43 meters tall (141 ft). 30,000 cubic meters of concrete are cast in the whole building; 2,500 tons of construction steel and 4,000 tons of reinforcement bars were used in the building. 200,000 cubic meters of soil were removed from the site before construction began. The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is the official home of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera.

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