The Reykjavik open chess tournament

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By Johann H Ragnarsson

The Reykjavik open chess tournament

Reykjavik open
Reykjavik open (

One of the most prestigious international tournaments in the world takes place every spring in Reykjavik known as Reykjavik open. Most of the strongest chess players of the world have participated the competition, many more than once. Association of professional chess tournament has chosen as the best open chess tournaments held in recent years. But the tournament is a very entertaining mix of professional and amateur chess as well as young and promising skákmanna rapidly moving up the ladder chess.

The Playing hall and atmosphere

The first tournament was held every two years, but in 2008 it was changed and now it goes out every year as previously mentioned. The playing hall is the great venue Harpa where is very good conditions for both competitors and spectators never let himself fail. And do not spoil the view but the game can competitors enjoy views of the harbor through the famous glass walls of the palace.

The Reykjavik open chess tournament
The view from playing hall (

The tournament has evolved in such a way that the agenda of the competition has grown substantially, primarily for the purpose of the competitors can get to know each other on the fun side events. For example Quis pub, football and blitz tournament. It may also be the winners in the Pub Quis 2015 the world champion Magnus Carlsen and Hammer is his main assistant.

The history of the tournament

The tournament was held for the first time in 1964 when the winner was the magician from Riga, Mikhail Tal with incredible performance. He received 12.5 points of 13! For example, the legends that have participated in the tournament include Nona Gaprindashvili, David Bronstein, Vasili Smyslov, Bent Larsen, Fridrik Olafsson, Mark Taimanov, Lev Polugaevsky Jan Timmins Victor Korchnoi, Samuel Reshevsky, Anthony Miles, Nigel Short, Hikaru Nakamura , Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan so only a few are mentioned. It can be said that the tournament is the foundation of the great history of chess in Iceland, and its importance is much less than in 1964.

Organizers have in recent years taken up the fantastic strategy to place great emphasis on offering young and exceptionally talented skákmönnum the one hand, and a very strong chess women. This had put color to the tournament and must include mention that when Hou Yifan came here, she was already one of the very best chess women in the world. And the first mention of chess women then does not forget to mention the wonderful fact that all the Polgar sisters participated in the tournament at the same time. Or in 1988 when it occupied the national women’s team of Hungary. Their parents were in the movement and, therefore, certainly on a family trip to the case.

Judith Polgar
Judith Polgar

Now is the tournament open to everyone. Nevertheless, it is so popular that established the hotels have been full for this time! But the first few decades it was a closed tournament where all the argument at all. As previously mentioned big names and memorable characters of the tournament who have put an interesting twist to it. Ones I began to track since 1972 and have watched carefully by then. For years, took place at Hotel Loftleidir but hotel now called Hotel Natura competitors were in a large hall where the facilities were very good for the audience. But behind the hall was another room where chess diagrams were and were often able excitedly when they shared the progress of chess players. And more often than not was hard to get a place in the playing hall.

The social side

But as said, it has been maintained that the social aspect in recent years. And it has created a very positive and fun atmosphere all the competitors, whether to the big names are on the case or the usual chess amateur. Pub quiz goes, for example, the way that the two are together in the team. It´s up about 30 questions related to chess in various ways. For example, has been asked about the chess player was the picture turned out to be Alekhine in his younger years. Another question was; from the year 1948 until 1972 Several chess players from the Soviet Union became World Champions and by doing that they underlined the Soviet dominance in chess. How many Soviet chess players became Memory World Champions during this years and what are the names of These Champions?

And finally include the question; in the year 1924 the first of three unofficial Chess Olympiad was Played in Paris, France. The second unofficial Olympiad was Played in Budapest, Hungary in 1926. In the year 1927 the first Official Chess Olympiad was Played, in which city and in what country was that?

So the diversity is great and remarkable how much the memory come up. And if people do not remember the answer to that is just to guess!

The football event has been extremely popular and healthy competition formed at the same time and has a good relationship, an opportunity that many people were not on the conventional junction to form friendships and relationships. Or what people say about becoming a challenge with such a handsome way of the world champion Magnus Carlsen?

Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen

The opening party was started few years ago, and it have been popular.

One of the most famous tours in Iceland called the golden circle is offered by the organized. Guided tour around some of the most spectacular sights in Southern Iceland, Including the Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir hot spring, and Bobby Fischer’s final resting place.

Reykjavik International Backgammon Tournament is one side of the events representation of diversity. Or how otherwise to connect Backgammon and chess together?

The close ceremony is so out of City Hall and is characterized by a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Award categories are many and, therefore, a high probability that they are competing for prizes in various level groups or age groups regardless of where they are in the whole tournament.

Family trip

As you can see, this is a great place for families to go together in this tournament. For if it does not compromise any of the family it is enough to be on the side of the events. And while chess is the ideal for those who do not play chess to enjoy looking at various places in the capital while. And do not forget that it is the argument in great venue Harpa is renowned Hall. It is the time to check if there are no concerts during the tournament with artists that people want to see. Very good acoustics in the halls and many foreign musicians talk about enjoyment. The house itself is very grand and is in a good location on the waterfront, high and prominent. Good Restaurant in the house, actually a large number of very good restaurants in all price categories within walking distance of the house. But Harp is one of the best restaurants in the country called Kola track located on the top floor Kolabrautin. Relaxing restaurant in excellent Italian culinary tradition, complemented with a spectacular panoramic view of Reykjavik harbor.

Contest Hall Harpa itself is very good. Good seats and a large and comfortable board. Very well thought about it to have a good space for the competitors, so it is very convenient argument. Pairings for next round are available few minutes after last game so players know Their opponent as soon as skies. In short, everything is done to let competitors feel that all the best and if any problems arise, the solution in mótshöldurum soon arrived. This contributed to the popularity of the tournament by competitors find that it will all do everything for them and let them feel that all the best. Well, the only men which don’t want to let themselves feel good opponent! But it means that there are very few people who have anything against the most time of the day!

The event in 2016 will be held March 8th-16th in 2016, in the great venue Harpa as usual.

The European team championship

It’s actually enough to be in the chess life in Iceland this winter that the European Championship will take place in November. It is undoubtedly the biggest event in chess history from the duel of the century was held in Reykjavik in 1972 when Robert James Fischer and Boris Spassky met in the amazing duel during the Cold War. The duel was for very many things remarkable, both in terms of chess and its development was also high politics regarding this duel (though one should never mix politics and sports). The Soviet Union, but Spassky came from, was famed for its extraordinary strong chess players and many of them helped Spassky well and much for the attack, and many opinion was this duel between the giant powers. Fischer was a child prodigy in chess and had won magnificent victories in a duel on his way in this duel. Spassky, however, the world champion and a great chess player who had to defend the honor of the Soviet Union. Major events occurred before and during the duel stood and contributed to making it unique. The tie has traditionally been referred to as the duel of the century and it stands completely under the great name!

But about the European team Championship. This will be a great festival that will be held in the country and many of the very best skákmönnum world participate in the tournament, both men and women. Among other things, will the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen participate in the tournament, but it is the first time that the current world champion and putting in Iceland since 1988.

European team Championship is stronger than the Olympics of chess where there are few relaxes forces involved in it, the breadth is simply so good. Therefore there is no light game with any national team and will be very interesting to see who is the winner.

But, Reykjavik open waiting chess amateurs  and their families. Further news of the tournament will be on the See you there!

If you want more information, you are welcome to write in comments below and I will answer them.

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Johann H Ragnarsson

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