About one and a half years ago it was discovered that ritual human sacrifice was practiced during paganism in Iceland. Archaeological research of pagan graves in the valley Þegjandadalur in Suður-Þingeyjasýsla county, in the northeast of Iceland, supported this theory.
As Morgunblaðið reported, an L-shaped turf wall was discovered, which was believed to have been constructed before Icelanders converted to Christianity in 1000 AD. In a large hole in the wall fractions of a human skull were found, a jawbone of a cat and various other animal bones, including a sheep jawbone and a several cattle bones.
It is not known whether chess pieces were found on the site as well. As civil engineer, lecturer, theorist and former MP Gudmundur G. Thórarinsson argued, the famous Lewis Chessmen might have been made in Iceland but that was about two hundred years after Icelanders converted to Christianity.
Two top participants of the Reykjavik Open have proven to be experts in the ritual chess piece sacrifice. You’ll surely remember Pavel Eljanov’s beautiful game earlier in the tournament against Ivan Cheparinov, where the Ukrainian gave up one of his rooks. In the 9th round, on board 1, he chose another piece: his king’s knight.
Ding,Liren (2709) – Eljanov,Pavel (2678)
19…Nxe5! 20.dxe5 Qxe5
21.Qf4? White should have given a third pawn with 21.a3 Qxg5 22.0–0–0. 21…Qxf4 22.exf4 b4 23.Ne2 When Houdini suggests 23.Rb1 or 23.Nxd5 as the best options, you know White is in big trouble… 23…a3
Right next to them on stage, on second board, Wesley So decided to follow suit and part with his queen:
So,Wesley (2684) – Dziuba,Marcin (2602)
20.Nxe4! Rxd1 21.Rfxd1 Nxe5 22.c6 Qc7 23.Bxb5
The protected passed pawn (and a potential helper on b2) provides ample compensation. 23…0–0 24.Nc4 Bd8 25.Nc5 Nxc4 26.Rxc4 Qe5 27.Rc2 Bc7 28.g3 Rb8 29.Ba4 Ra8 30.b4 Qf5 31.Rdc1 h5 32.Bb5 Bb6 33.Bf1 h4 34.Nd7 Bd4 35.c7 Rc8 36.Rd2 hxg3 37.hxg3 Qg5?
So played the following moves instantly. 38.Rxd4! Qxc1 39.Nf6+!
39…Kf8 39…gxf6 40.Rd8+ Kg7 41.Rxc8 f5 42.b5 Qc5 43.b6! Qxb6 44.Rg8+ 40.Rd8+ Ke7 41.Ng8
As we reported elsewhere, the biggest news of the round happened as soon as the clock was started and Grzegorz Gajewski made his first move against Wei Yi: the 13-year-old Chinese became the youngest grandmaster in the world. He could have lost the game, but confirmed his new status with a solid draw against the Polish GM.
In the battle for best Dutchman in the tournament, Anish Giri defeated Erwin l’Ami. A board lower, Egypt’s number one grandmaster kept his head cool, avoided checkmate and even beat David Navara:
Navara,David (2710) – Amin,Bassem (2631)
25.Nd4!? Nxd6 26.exd6 Qxc4!? After 26…Qxd6 27.Rxg7+ Kxg7 28.Nf5+ exf5 29.Qxd6 White has at least a draw. 27.Qg5!? Both players are going for the win! 27.Rxg7+ Kxg7 28.Qg5+ forces a perpetual. 27…g6 28.h5 e5?
29.h6? Both players are missing that after 29.Nf5! Qe6 30.hxg6 hxg6 White has the quiet move 31.Be4! (needless to say, found instantly by Houdini)
which basically just protects the knight and threatens 32.Qh6. After 31…Qe8 32.Qf6 Bxf5 33.Rh4 it’s curtains. 29…Rdc8! Now Black is out of trouble. 30.Nc6
30…Qe6! He needed to see this in advance. 31.Ne7+ Kf8 32.Nxc8 Rxc8 33.Bxb7 f6 34.Qh4 Rc1+ 35.Kg2 g5 36.Rxg5 fxg5 37.Qxg5 Qh3+ 38.Kf3 Qh1+ 0–1
[vsw id=”TTzhYEYUQig” source=”youtube” width=”560″ height=”315″ autoplay=”no”]
The following game cannot remain unmentioned. The drama!
Solak,Dragan (2603) – Thorhallsson,Throstur (2441)
In this fantastic but highly complicated position it’s just impossible to play without mistakes. 36.c6+ Rd4 37.dxe7 Ba2+ 38.Kc1 Bf7 This is all still OK and in fact White is winning here, but only computers would be able to actually win it smoothly, especially with little time on the clock.
39.Ra3? 39.b3! wins, but in what follows White needs to find a lot more only moves: 39…Raxb4 (39…Qxb4 40.Qb2! Ra2 41.c7! Rxb2 42.c8Q!) 40.c7 Rxb3 41.Rxb3 Qxb3 42.c8Q Qa3+ 43.Qb2 Qe3+ 44.Kb1 Bg6+
45.Qcc2! Bxc2+ 46.Qxc2 Rb4+ 47.Ka2+– 39…Bg6!
Now Black is winning. 40.Qe3 Rxa3 40…Qc4+ was in fact mate in five. 41.Qxa3 Qe2 42.Qc3 Rc4 43.c7
One move too late. 43…Rxc3+ 44.bxc3 Qc2# 0–1
After this round, besides Wei Yi’s final GM norm the following players secured IM norms: Huang Qian, Tan Zhongyi, Wang Jue (all China) and Yaacov Norowitz (USA). Wesley So and Pavel Eljanov are half a point ahead of the rest, and play each other on top board in round 10.