The 2017 GAMMA Reykjavik Open kicked off with it’s 32nd edition today. The Reykjavik Open has been held since 1964 and is one of the leading Opens on the chess calendar.
This year we have a very strong field at the open and are close to a record participation with 264 players from 39 countries participating with 33 Grandmasters
The Super GM’s
The GAMMA Reykjavik Open features three current 2700+ Grandmasters. The Dutchman Anish Giri needs little introduction holding the #1 seed with his 2771 elo rating. Anish is currently the highest rated player to have played in the Reykjavik Open which is impressive given the historically great players that have played in the event.
Despite his young age of 22, Anish has been a regular at elite events as well as holding a spot in or near the top 10 in the World. He is by many considered to be in a group of players capable of challenging Magnus Carlsen for the crown in the not so distant future.
Anish is extremely solid and a good theoretician but has had reputation for drawing too many games in the top tournaments. If Anish can start converting some of his great positions in the super tournament he can make another jump on in the world rankings. Anish is for sure on of the absolute favourites in this tournament.
The innovative and creative Georgian Baadur Jobava is among the top seeds and his games are always interesting to watch. He had a fantastic performane at the last Olympiad catapulting his rating back over 2700 where he belongs. Dmitry Andreikin is a rock solid 2700+ player and one that perhaps isn’t as well known as he should be being from the ultra strong Russian federation where it’s hard to make the national tems.
The Latvian born Alexei Shirov has been known for a long time for his electifying style of chess and has often drawn comparisions with his compatriot Mikhail Tal who incidentally was the winner of the inaugural 1964 Reykjavik Open! Shirov was the joint winner in 1992 with Johann Hjartarson who himself is a legend in Icelandic and world chess and playing his first Reykjavik Open in a while as well. Gata Kamsky played at the young age of 15 in the Reykjavik Open in 1990. Kamsky was a quick rizer in chess and challenged Anatolij Karpov for the world crown before the turn of the milennium before a long hiatus from the game.
Eugene Torre is a most welcome and interesting addition toe the tournament having long been considered the best from the Philippines. Torre has played in the most career games at the Olympiad and has played in a whooping 22 Olympiads! He is showing no signs of slowing down having gathered an amazing 10 out of 11 at the 2016 Baku Olympiad!
The surprise winners of the last two editions are here to try to gain another success at the Open. Both Abijeet Gupta and Erwin L´Ami can and will contend with the best of them.
Last year Tania Sachdev stole the show with a fantastic performance and a GM norm. She is a true tournament regular at the Reykjavik Open. Another top Indian competitor is Harika Dronavalli who has also several Opens under her belt.
Among other female players we’d like to mention the Mongolian Tuvshintugs Batchimeg as she will be the first Mongolian player to play in the Reykjavik Open
Playing her first open is the Iranian Dorsa Derakhshani who recently made the news after refusing to play with a hijab and was met with sanctions by her federation but general applause by the chess community.
The Reykjavik Open has always tried to reach out to young and talented players. Throughout the years we’ve had young players such as Magnus Carlsen, Gata Kamsky, Fabiano Caruana og Hikaru Nakamura as young talents. Only recently Wei Yi made his final GM norm in Reykjavik.
This year two young talents can be pointed out as ones to watch! Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu is one of them. At the young age of 11 he is already an international master and world class talent.
The other is Nishal Sarin, 12 years old and also an IM. Both have a shot at becoming youngest GM in history. A recent article featuring him can be found on Chessbase.
The local “defence”
As always the majority of the tournament is made up of Icelandic players. This year 95 players come from Iceland but only thee grandmasters this time around. Hannes Hlífar Stefánsson should not be underestimated, having won the Open five times!
The legend Johann Hjartarson is playing for the first time in 21 years in the open! The veteran Throstur Thorallsson rounds out the Icleandic group of GM’s.
Not just a chess tournament
The GAMMA Reykjavik Open as always features plenty of special events. Anish Giri has alredy played a simul before the tournament defeating all of his 10 opponents.
Among other special events are lectures by GM Konstantin Landa and IA Takis on interesting subjects. A traditional blitz tournament along with the ever popular pub quiz, soccer match and the Golden Circle tour.
The 1st round
This time around there weren’t many upsets.
Local IM’s Bjorn and Bragi Thorfinsson both lost precious points when they drew against much lower rated opponents. The upset of the round turned out to be from the 1227 rated Armann Petursson who defeated his 2134 German opponent in only 11 moves!
The 2nd and 3rd round
Tomorrow is the double round day. We still will not have any GM clashes but for sure some interesting matchups. Stay tuned!
Report on Icelandic National TV – including interview with Dorse Derakhshani in English.
Twitch.com/chess – the live broadcasts