Final Round of the Reykjavik Open and trip home

I got home last night but was too tired to do anything and spent today relaxing but uploading my last round now. As Sue quickly wrote, my final round game was a draw but it was pretty interesting. I decided to repeat the Dutch which I played in round 7 (via 1…e6 to cut out some sidelines). My opponent was obviously not ready for the line and consumed some time in the opening and allowed me equality. An interesting position arose and I spent a lot of time myself trying to navigate through the complications. We reached a roughly equal position and my opponent offered me a draw; a strange decision considering a win gave us a chance at $2000 while a draw would net us less than $200.

Of course I declined the draw but it was difficult to break through. I pushed my kingside pawns forward trying to create some sort of mating attack while he got counterplay on the queenside. He started to take the upper hand and towards the time control my position was very unpleasant. However I found the only way to stay in the game and a queen sacrifice allowed me to keep the draw as there was no way in.
###pgn###[Event “MP Reykjavik Open 2011”] [Site “Reykjavik City Hall”] [Date “2011.03.16”] [Round “9.5”] [White “Chatalbashev, Boris”] [Black “Jones, Gawain C B”] [Result “1/2-1/2”] [ECO “A96”] [WhiteElo “2602”] [BlackElo “2578”] [PlyCount “91”] [EventDate “2011.03.09”] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Qc2 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Nc6 10. Rd1 Qe8 11. c5 e5 12. cxd6 cxd6 13. Rb1 Kh8 14. Ba3 e4 15. Nd2 d5 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. e3 Be6 18. c4 Rac8 19. Qa4 Rc7 20. Rdc1 dxc4 21. Nxc4 Bd5 22. Na5 Qf7 23. Nxc6 bxc6 24. Rb2 g5 25. Qc2 Re7 26. a4 Kg7 27. a5 f4 28. a6 Qe6 29. Qc5 Rff7 30. Rcb1 Qc8 31. Qa5 Qf5 32. Qc5 Qc8 33. Bf1 h5 34. Rb8 Qf5 35. R8b7 fxg3 36. fxg3 Qf2+ 37. Kh1 Qa2 38. R7b2 Qxb2 39. Rxb2 Rxf1+ 40. Kg2 Ref7 41. Qd6 R1f6 42. Qe5 Kg6 43. Qe8 g4 44. h3 Kg7 45. hxg4 hxg4 46. Qe5 1/2-1/2%%%pgn%%%

All the top boards were drawn and so there was a six way tie for first: Kuzubov, Hammer, Sokolov, Baklan, Miton and the young Ukranian Nyzhnyk. He’s already rated 2563 and definitely a name for the future as he is still only 14 years old. I came 7th= gaining 8 rating points and $190 spending money. While not a success financially I was still pleased with the tournament having not lost a game and played 4 players higher rated than me.


After the game we went to a restaurant where I ordered a “surprise trip around Iceland”. It consisted of: whale, monkfish, goose, herring and eel. An odd collection and not what I’d normally eat but whale is surprisingly tasty! After the closing ceremony we explored a few of Reykjavik’s bars before getting a taxi to a slightly dodgy casino hidden away in an office block (casinos are illegal in Iceland). We went up a lift to a deserted looking floor but after banging on the door we were welcomed into a casino with two blackjack tables, a poker room, backgammon tables and a chess board and clock! As the poker was full I played a little blackjack, eventually finishing 5000 ISK up (around £30).


Yesterday was spent travelling and today I’ve just been relaxing. I’m travelling with Sue to France on Monday for the European Championships in Aix-les-bains. This is a super strong tournament where I’m ranked 104th! Hopefully I’ll have a good start and play lots of strong opponents. There are 23 qualifying spots for the World Cup and it would be great to get one of those although of course very tough. We are sharing an apartment with two other English Grandmasters: Luke McShane and Pete Wells. They are both good friends and the tournament should be good fun. Either me or Sue should update as frequently as we can.


I’ll also try to upload some pictures from Iceland and the tour I took before round two soon.