Rounds 4, 5 and 6, Reykjavik Open

Sorry for the slight delay in posting. Saturday was a double round day followed by a chess quiz and was very hectic. I then needed most of Sunday to recover! Round Four I was paired against Bragi Thorfinnsson, an Icelandic IM who I met a few years ago at the European Individual Championships together with his brother Bjorn. Incidentally he went on to win the chess quiz that evening. I decided it was time for a Grand Prix Attack, my pet opening, and followed a game I played against Roberto Mogranzini in Porto San Giorgio 2009. On the surface the line looks passive for White as I retreat my pieces but it has hidden potential and already after 12 moves I was definitely better. I had a positional edge as he had some vulnerable squares and I managed to convert that into a mating attack.

The second round of the day I was paired with the erratic Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly who is currently rated at 2640. I managed 30 minutes to prepare and came up with an interesting idea. He was taken by surprise and I was already better when he offered me a draw after 12 moves. I thought for 10 minutes and really should have played on but a few factors swung me into taking his draw. First of all I was black against such a strong GM and I considered 1.5/2 a good day’s work. Secondly I was tired from the first game although so was he of course. Thirdly I missed an idea and thought he could hold equality although it was actually not so easy for him. Finally last time I played him (in the World Juniors, U20 in Armenia) he offered me a draw in the opening and I declined and went on to lose. After winning the game he went on to become World Junior Champion. I didn’t want that to happen again!

After the two games we had dinner and then it was time for the chess quiz held in the back room of the Sport Bar. It was for teams of two and so me and Simon paired up. It was an extremely difficult quiz which had too many historical questions for us but we finished creditably with 16.5/30, the winners getting 22.5.

After the late night we had a lie in and then I got on with preparing for my round six game, White against Jon Ludvig Hammer a Norwegian GM rated a little over 2600. We’ve played quite a lot on the internet (ICC) and know each other fairly well. I decided to try the English but he deviated from my preparation and I was soon on my own. He played an interesting pawn sacrifice and I thought for thirty minutes before declining the offer. We both played well and in the end he sacrificed a rook for perpetual and a draw.

Today I’ve got Evgenii Miroshnichenko, a Ukranian GM who at 2670 is second seed in the tournament. Hopefully I can cause an upset J At this point Yuriy Kuzubov, another Ukranian GM is leading on 5.5/6 and is playing Luke McShane the top seed today (who has 5/6). Meanwhile Simon (who defeated Adly yesterday after catching him out in the opening is on 5/6 and playing the Greek GM Halkias today. There is then a big group of us on 4.5/6. It’s still anyone’s tournament!