With the first round of Reykjavik Open 2014 only 4 days away, it is time to take a look at some of the things that await you there. This year’s tournament marks the 50th anniversary of the tournament, which makes it even more special, if there was any need for that!
As of today, there are 269 participants registered- a new record! The field is headed by German GM Arkadij Naiditsch, a last-minute addition to the participants list, but he is bound to face fierce opposition from some of the world’s best youngsters such as Richard Rapport, Robin van Kampen, Nils Grandelius, Eric Hansen, the local Hjorvar Gretarsson and many more… 27 GMs, 30 IMs and players from as many as 45 countries are numbers that really speak for themselves.
I played Reykjavik for the first time in 2008 and it immediately became my all-time favorite tournament. Not only is it one of the strongest open tournaments in the world, but the atmosphere is simply unique. The surroundings are breathtaking and the organizers are some of the most friendly, helpful and competent people you will ever meet. As for the hospitality (and craziness!) of the locals, it is absolutely second to none! Playing in Iceland has always felt like home and it is the one place I always hoped to be able to come back to the following year. The playing conditions have also always been great, but since my last participation the tournament moved to Harpa, Reykjavik’s spectacular concert hall which is, without doubt, one of the best tournament venues in the world.
This year, the first round starts on Tuesday, but you shouldn’t miss the opening party that will be held at the official bar of the tournament, the “Sky Lounge and Bar” (at Hotel Arnarhvoll) on Monday from 5 to 7pm. The highly impressive list of side events also includes the Golden Circle, the chess pub-quiz, the “kids’n blitz” tournament, the “even Steven” blitz tournament, a lecture by GM Mikhail Kobalia, a football tournament and last but not least a book signing session with none other than the man himself, Garry Kasparov! You can find all the details here: http://www.reykjavikopen.com/side-events-calendar/