My second time in Iceland. A large illustrated report.


Hey guys, finally got some time to post a new article :) Last two posts were about my perfomances in Antalya and Moscow . After showing a good perfomance in Moscow, my European trip continued by travelling to Iceland, this awesome country where I’ve been already for second time! Don’t miss opportunity to check a report from my last year’s trip to Iceland.

This year tournament got a much stronger participation comparing to the previous edition. You can check full list of participants here. I was seeded 21st while prize fund consisted of just 10 prizes so my main aim before the tournament was to show good chess and win some rating points. I find my participation as quite acceptable as I managed to win 4 points of ELO and finish on the 15th place, the higher one than I was seeded.

I arrived to Iceland from Moscow via Stockholm one day before the tournament, at night of February, 18th. When I entered the room at 01.40 am, my roommate was sleeping but I was so noisy that he woke up :O But I was glad to have such a kind roommate, he was GM Dragan Solak,  the reigning Turkish Chess Champion and really cool guy! Besides of us two, other two Turkish players GM Barış Esen and Mustafa Yılmaz  came to play. I think, our team has done quiet well in the tournament. It has been a nice preparation before the EICC in May 2013.

You can see results of Turkish chess players in the Reykjavik Chess Open 2013 : here

Now a few words about the Reykjavik Chess Open 2013 itself.

Organization this year was on a level higher than in 2012. Why? Okay, first of all, much more online boards (around 25!), more busy Side Events Calendar  , more active media coverage  in social networks and many other reasons. So it should be no surprise that it became a record for participation : 227 players, 37 federations, 95 titled players ( 35 GMs, 26 IM, etc). Check it here . The organizer is Gunnar Bjornsson, he’s also the President of the Icelandic Chess Federation. In my opinion, he’s one of the most efficient chess organizers in the world as he managed to collect such a star participation with so modest prize fund :)

I was quite surprised and happy to receive invitation from Stefan Bergsson (one of the organizers and main chess enthusiasts in Iceland) to give a lecture for Icelandic chess players. The lecture took place in Harpa Concert Hall ( where the open was played as well) on February, 21st from 12 to 13 pm. Here are some photos from my first lecture ever! :)


Preparing for the lecture.


Stefan Bergsson, making an introduction. I’m very grateful him for this opportunity given.


Showing my game with 1.b3. Was talking about creativity in chess :)

Before I go on, would like to share with you more pictures from Reykjavik.


The Harpa Concert Hall, the venue for Reykjavik Chess Open 2012 and 2013.


A breathtaking view, isn´t it? :)


Harpa Concert Hall at day.


I participated in two more appointments from the Side Events Calendar : Golden Circle Tour and Soccer Match. Let’s go one by one.

Golden Circle Tour covered  the Gullfoss Waterfall :


the Geysir :


and the resting place of the 11th World Chess Champion, a legendary Bobby Fischer :



I was on the Golden Circle Tour last year too but it was so nice that I decided to repeat it again! :)

And ,of course, the Soccer Match called «Icelandic Chess Players vs Rest of the World» ! Last year it was draw 3-3 but this year we got no chance due to clear problems in defence :)  Here is a more detailed article about the match from the official website. However, it contains a mistake, the first goal was scored by me (as shown on the photo) but still Aman Hambleton has shown a great perfomance and contributed a lot to the teamwork. We lost 2-6 but anyways it was just cool and full of enjoying!



A few words about my chess result in the Reykjavik Chess Open 2013. I lost two games : to Anish Giri (2722, seeded 1st and who enters TOP-25 in the World) and Ding Liren (2709, seeded 5th, the 3-time Chinese Chess Champion and who enters TOP-40 of the World). Anish knew deeper the Caro Kann Defence while the Chinese prodigy managed to trick me in time trouble were I was afraid ( without any reason for that!) to take the exchange he had sacrificed :


25. Bxf3! should have been played ( instead of 25.Kh1?). The game could have continued : 25…Rxc3 26.Bxc3 exf3 27.Qd1 g5 28. Qxf3 gxf4 29. gxf4 Qa4 with mutual chances.

In all other games I was favorite by rating and managed to win 6 games and make two draws. I got paired against 4 Chinese players in 10 rounds and I’m glad I took +1 against them! The last round I played against the reigning female World Junior Chess Champion, WGM Guo Qi and it was a principle battle for me. I was motivated to show that men’s title is counting more than women’s one :)  One of the world’s largest chess websites Chessdom has published an article on that. Check it here .

You can find all the information about my perfomance in the Reykjavik Chess Open 2013 : here

The final standings : here

The tournament was won by my friend GM Pavel Eljanov. I’m glad to see he’s getting back his best form and it’s ready to be back to 2700 chess club! :)


I would put the highest mark possible for my trip to Iceland this year. I’ve enjoyed it and am grateful to all people who made this trip unforgettable! :) If the Reykjavik Chess Open 2014 happens ( and it will, I’m sure!), I’d like to come to Iceland again and again!


I’m in Barcelona now so one of my next articles will be about it. Stay tuned!


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