As expected, the Candidates' tournament and the women's world championship match have overshadowed other chess events taking place in early spring. Even so, such a nice event as the traditional Reykjavik Open, taking place here for the 31st time, needs little extra advertising. In the most northern European capital many interesting players took part.
The line-up tends to follow a similar pattern each time: 3-5 players from the 2700 club, 10-15 strong GMs above 2600, a solid centre of 30-40 GMs and IMs, plus a tail of amateurs and local players. There are usually few representatives from the Far East, understandably, given the distance and travel costs. Admittedly, in 2013, there was such a representative, who made an immediate impact - Wei Yi.
Last year's event was won unexpectedly by 2600-rated Erwin L'Ami. Something similar happened again this year, with the difference that the first prize of 5000 Euros went to India. In the starting list, the Indian GM was only 10th seed (Elo-2634), behind some well-known names. But the 26-year old Abhijit Gupta played superbly (a 2799 rating performance!) and probably has good chances in the future to move near the top of the world rating list. He scored seven wins, without a single defeat! Here, for example, is one:
Gupta - Movsesian
White realised his advantage in accurate style: 54.Kd4 Nb8 55.Kc5 Rb2 56.Nc6 Rxh2 57.Ra8 Rb2 58.f5 exf5 59.e6 a3 60.Nxb8 Kb7 61.Rxa3 Kxb8 62.Re3 – the pawn is unstoppable! Black resigned (1:0).
Serious and dangerous
The winner was never close to losing, so his success was 100% deserved. Sceptics may point out that Gupta did not play any of the top four seeds, but this was not his fault, as the favourites only came to the fore at the end.
Second prize went to the Russian 2700, who was also undefeated. Unlike the winner, Dmitry took advantage of the rules, which apply to many open events. After starting with two wins, he took half-point byes in rounds 3 and 4, to explore the scenery of the country and acclimatise. I would not recommend such tactics to everyone in all cases, but it worked out well for the Saratov GM. In the final round, he beat the 2012 British Champion.
Andreikin - Jones
In the game so far, Andreikin had completely outplayed his opponent, to reach the overwhelming position in the diagram. Now Sir Gawain launched a desperate counterattack, but Andreikin defended calmly and precisely. 35…Qe4 36.b7 fxg2 37.Bxg2 Qe1 38.Kh2 Qe5 39.Kg1 Qe1 40.Bf1 Rf5 41.Qe2 Rg5 42.Kh1 Qb1 43.Rxe6 Qxb7 44.Qe4 Qb2 45.Re7 Kh6 46.Qh4 Rh5 47.Qf4 Rg5 48.h4 Black resigns (1:0)
Sharing second place were the out-of-form Mamedyarov and Cheparinov, who played each other in the final round. In a complicated variation, they proved equally at home. Cheparinov sacrificed the exchange for two pawns, then offered another. Shak sensibly declined, and on move 50, it was clear that the balance could not be disturbed and a draw was agreed.
Alexander Belyavsky, four-time Soviet champion, played well, and only missed third place by a whisker. He needed to beat Tanya Sachdev in the final round, but the latter was extremely solid, and a draw was agreed on move 58. But, ever the gentleman, Alexander was probably not too upset.
Material: Sergey Kim
Reykjavik 2016. Light in the shade!