The 31st edition of the Reykjavik open has entered its second half and the leading grandmasters feel they have to establish some superiority going into the final rounds. At the current time there is a large pack of players on five points all chasing the sole leader from Armenia Sergei Movsesian. Sometimes when the two leaders in a tournament clash the game can be quiet, neither player wishing to risk too much and peace proceedings ensue like two ambassadors wishing to avoid any armed conflict. When you have players of the caliber of Sergei Movsesian and Richard Rapport slugging it out it can only be a promise of an interesting clash of ideas and styles.
The game started with the Sicilian Kan and the creative Hungarian grandmaster wished to avoid the well traveled variations, he delayed castling and reached the following position.
Sergei Movsesian was kind enough to come into the commentary studio and explain the game and share his thoughts. The amicable Armenian thought 18,…Nfg4 was the best move exchanging a set of minor pieces after 19.Bxg4, Qxg5 20.Be2, 0-0 and black has a relatively safe king and some stability but he did not expect the creative Rapport to play like this and that when playing such a player like Rapport it is the strange moves that he tends to look for first! 18,…h6 does not threaten the knight on g5 due to the pin but in fact that was the intention after 19.f4 to play, 19,..hxg5!? 20.Qxh8, Kd7 to reach the following position.
After the normal move 21.Qh3, gxf4 Rapport would have reached his goal but he noticed that white does not have to retreat the queen in a meek fashion but he can play 21.Qxa8!, Bxa8 22.fxe5 and after the planned 22,..Nxe4 white has 23.Bf3! winning due to the pin.
This variation forced the young Hungarian grandmaster to retreat with 19,..Ned7 who then came under fire from 20.Ngxe6!
A few moves later after the opening of the center with e5 it was time to find the killer blow in this position. White is winning but what what you play?
Bonus points if you found the beautiful looking 25.Ng7+! which led to a final direct attack on the black king. A good game to take the sole lead by Movsesian!
The board two clash between the very well prepared Gupta and Cheparinov was the Ragozin variation of the QGD and even though Gupta won a pawn the Bulgarian player always had the position under control in an endgame where his extra activity almost led to an advantage but a draw occured.
The board three game between top seed Shakh Mamedyarov and English GM Gawain Jones promised much from these two dynamic players. The players followed not only an old game by Jones himself in a theoretical g3 variation of the Kings Indian but in fact the stem game was played by the great Dane himself Bent Larsen against Vajda Pirc.
Does white win material? The knight is trapped but as mentioned above this has been played before 10,..Nxc4 11.Nxc4,Nxd5 12.Nxd5, Bxa1
Here Mamedyarov played his novelty 13.Nf4 but it did not seem to cause too much discomfort to the English GM who has rook and two pawns for two knights and he had little trouble holding the position and they agreed a draw in 33 moves.
Young Australian IM Moulthun Ly showed good understanding in having to hold a slight inferior middlegame against the second seed Dmitry Andrekin.
Ly played 18,…b5 to achieve a position where the bishops of opposite colors would mean the extra pawn was of non importance.
A draw was agreed later on move 36 after the Russian superGM tried to conjure up some threats.
Something had gone wrong in the opening for leading female Elisabeth Paehtz as white against the veteran GM of the tournament Alexander Beliavsky who at 2630 still packs a punch. Still, normally he cannot play such an early blow like 16,…f4! often.
The white knight on d3 is en prise and if 17.exf4 then 17,…g4! would force the queen away from her defensive duties so 17.e4 was forced but black has a range of good choices. The great veteran who has represented three different countries in his illustrious career was in the driving seat for the game until he reached this choice.
Paehtz has just played 26.Bxd4 to try to mix it up in a lost position and Beliavsky blunders with 26,….exd4 allowing 27.Nf6+ winning back material. In mutual time trouble the following double edged endgame was reached.
White can play 32.Nb5 and bring the knight to the center with Nd4 and have little to fear but she made the final serious error of 32.Ne6. and after 32,..Bc3! the d-pawn cannot be stopped from reaching the promotion square. The German IM was forced to sacrifice a piece for the advanced pawn and the veteran former candidate showed his wealth of experience to bring home the full point.
The all Icelandic clash between Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson and Bjorn Thorfinnsson promised fireworks and delivered a very colorful display of tactics. In a sharp rare Benoni line Black was faced with a tough set of choices.
Thorfinnsson played the natural 14,..Re8 and Gretarssson moved the attacked knight to the attractive c4 square overlooking 15.Nxf7 which seems to give a decisive advantage after 15,..Kxf7 16.Bc4! Still the position still favoured white so Thorfinnsson was forced to come up with a creative attempt.
With his knight under attack on d5 he leaves it to play 17,..Re6!?? After 18.Bxd5, Ne2+
Here White took on e2 and gave up his queen for a unusual material inbalance advantage in an open position but various white pieces were unprotected and Gretarsson had to find the right move here.
After the correct 21.Bf3! White is in control but why stop the tactics there!
Suited and booted but what lies beneath the calm exterior?
If you could play to the crowd in chess this would be a good game for Gretarsson to exclaim, “you want more tactics! you shall have more!”
Not quite suited and booted!
After 21,…Rc2 Gretarsson played 22.Nxc5! so after 22,…Rxc5 he can meet it 23.Nb7 and 24. Nxc5.
You would think this might be the end but the Icelandic grandmaster and law student continued to give out his own brand of “justice” with 27.Bb8.
Combining against the weak square f7 with his rooks and light squared bishop as blacks bishop cannot help made it a virtually hopeless task to defend. An excellent game to play through and enjoy.
Mention should be made of the gregarious leading Indian female International Master Tanya Sachdev who is continuing her good run of form following her win yesterday over top Icelandic GM Hannes Stefansson with defeating the amicable American GM Alejandro Ramirez. The performance rating needed to achieve the coveted GM norm is that of 2600 and so far she is spot on! She is part of a small group of ambitious players who come to Reykjavik from all over the world to not only see the beautiful sights and sounds of Iceland but to play famous grandmasters and achieve IM and GM norms.
Top results of the sixth round of the Reykjavik open 2016. To see the full list of results click here.
To see the parings of the seventh round which will start at 3:00 pm local time click here.