Round Two and Tour of Iceland

After getting up and grabbing a big breakfast at the hotel I got onto the coach for a trip around Iceland. After a drive through some beautiful scenery while our guide kept us amused with some interesting facts (apparently the current mayor of Reykjavik used to be a stand up comedian who said he wanted to get into politics so he could be driven round in a black limousine and get his friends well paying jobs – his manifesto was free towels in the city’s swimming baths. He won with 42% of the vote) we arrived at our first stop, The Pingvellir National Park. This has the Lögberg or Law Rock, which was the seat of Iceland’s parliament and court over 1000 years ago. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge also goes through here and so we spent some time on the Eurasian plate and some time in America!

 

Next we drove on up to Gullfoss or Golden Falls – an extremely impressive waterfall. It was extremely cold there and standing on the viewing platform trying to take a photo I could feel my fingers going numb. Our next stop was at Geysir, from which we get our word geyser. There were three or four big geysers here and one erupts every five minutes or so. The explosion of water straight up in the air followed by a huge billowing of steam lasted only a split second but was well worth the wait.

 

We grabbed lunch there, I had some traditional lamb soup and then we headed back via Selfloss. That’s the resting place of Bobby Fischer, the former World Champion, and we stopped off to pay our respects. He had a sad life; after shooting to fame winning the World Championships in 1972 in Reykjavik he became a virtual recluse and turned against everyone with anti-American and anti-Jewish rants. He played a match in 1992 against Spassky (his only chess since 1972) in Yugoslavia while the US had sanctions forbidding any of its citizens from working there. He was also wanted for unpaid taxes and was on the run from the U.S. In 2004 he was arrested in Japan and held for a few months before Iceland gave him citizenship. He died in 2008 and is now buried in a very small graveyard in a small town. A sad end to perhaps the best player of all time.

 

We returned to the hotel at around 3.40, just in time to have a quick shower before the game started at 4.30. I was playing Gudmundur Kjartansson, a young Icelandic IM. Not having had much time to prepare I followed my game against Fedorchuk from Corsica but he came up with a new idea and equalised fairly easily and the game petered out into a drawn endgame. A slight disappointment but hopefully I can bounce back today with the black pieces against Danish FM Jacob Carstensen who I think I beat a few years ago but can’t find the game. Let’s see if I can match that success

 

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