The 34th GAMMA Reykajvik Open kicked of today with the first round. The ceremonial first move was made by prime minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir. She and FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich made speeches to open the tournament formally.
Once the clocks started running the job for the top seeds proved easier than expected. This year the accelerated pairings system is being used again for the first few rounds but still the top 25 didn’t have many problems. Former champion Abhijeet Gupta struggled against young American “captain” Kirk Ghazarian. The young American played well and in a long and complicated Queen endgame Kirk even could have and perhaps should have played on in the final position when the Indian former tournament winner was perhaps happy to escape with a draw.
Gawain Jones the top seed had a relatively easy game when his opponent blundered into knight fork early in the middlegame while his friend and fellow Reykjavik Open veteran, Nils Grandelius seemed to have a very complex and tactically and strategically interesting game. Pieces were hanging and both sides offered sacrifices. After a big struggle the smoke cleared and Nils emerged with a winning endgame. A nice game to look through.
The Iranian youngster Alireza Firouzja seemed to get his opponent into big problems early in the game and was the first one to finish his game on the top boards. Many people are eagerly waiting to follow the progress of young Alireza in this tournament!
The first GM to lose a full point turned out to be the internet famous PenguinGM, Andrew Tang. He was surprisingly and convincingly outplayed by Stephan Briem with the black pieces who got his first GM scalp in classical chess!
The dreaded double round day is tomorrow when rounds 2 (at 9 o’clock) and round 3 (at 17 o’clock) will be played. The live commentary starts two hours into the round.
The first round commentary by WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni and FM Ingvar Thor Johannesson can be replayed here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/408114081
The commentary starts 2 hours into each round and is embedde on chess24, the tournament homepage and can be seen on Twitch.