Chris Bak at the Reykjavik Open Part 2

In March I played in my first (and hopefully not last!) international tournament: the Reykjavik Open in Iceland. I strongly recommend this tournament to chess players of any strength. With this series of posts I hope to convince you that Reykjavik is well worth a visit in addition to covering my tournament experience at the board.

The day after the gruelling double round day had a late start. This was not just to give the players a long rest, but because some of the players would be spending the day on the Golden Circle Tour. This is a guided coach trip around some of Iceland’s most fascinating landmarks. It was the only opportunity to do some proper sightseeing during the entire tournament so I hopped on board!

The weather was generally pleasant during my week and a half stay. Unfortunately the day of the tour was the only real exception. Throughout the day we experienced every form of precipitation possible, including heavy rain, snow, and hail, along with a constant bone-chilling wind. The first stop was the Þingvellir National Park , which features the boundary between two tectonic plates and Iceland’s largest natural lake.

The second stop was the Geysir hot springs, where we ate lunch and saw some explosive geysers. Following that, we travelled to the Gullfoss waterfall, pictured below. We were not allowed to traverse the lower paths that would present us with a closer view due to the unsafe conditions. The final two stops were special treats for the throng of chess players: Bobby Fischer’s final resting place and the Fischer museum. The museum is small but jam-packed with pictures, chess sets, and old newspaper articles detailing Fischer’s life and his famous 1972 world championship match against Boris Spassky.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss Waterfall

We arrived back in Reykjavik with just over an hour to spare until the start of round 4. Enough time to grab a quick shower and get changed. My next opponent was WGM Lenka Ptacnikova, who played top board for the Icelandic women’s team at the recent Olympiad in Baku.

I was soundly defeated, but I was reasonably happy with my play. In round 5 I had the white pieces against a local youngster.

The ping-pong nature of chess tournaments continues as my round 5 victory puts me across the board from another stronger player: Anton Darnell from Sweden.

Things were looking up. I had won two games in a row, including my first win against a stronger player.

Report by Chris Bak


Reykjavik Open Website
Crosstable of Chris’ performance
Part 1
Part 3

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6 Responses to “Chris Bak at the Reykjavik Open Part 2”

  1. Eric Gardiner

    Jan 23. 2017

    Thank for this detailed report and your previous report on the Reykjavik tournament Chris. Having visited once, I’d agree that Iceland is a very interesting country to visit.

    Regarding the chess, just quick note to say that your Round 6 games follows Gardiner – le Moir(2013) until move 8 :) (My game was played in 4NCL Div 3 so should be on a database somewhere.) In my opinion, 6. Bf4 is one way to preserve a safe edge against the Chigorin (which I have also played as Black), because the Nc6 will need regrouping. It also has the psychological advantage of avoiding complications such as those arising from 6.Qb3 which Chigorin players are looking for … (In my game cited I got a very good position but missed a strong move for me on move 14.) Incidentally, in Wisnewski’s book on the Chigorin he agrees with you that 6….Bd6 is the best way to meet 6.Bf4.

    Reply to this comment
    • Chris Bak

      Jan 24. 2017

      Hi Eric,

      I do think the 3. Nf3 4. Nc3 5. cxd5 line is one of the most challenging to meet, from a practical point of view if not an objective one. As you say, white usually gets a standard QGD position with black’s knight misplaced on c6. Andrew Ledger played a similar line against me at Scarborough (he played Bg5 instead of Bf4 and delayed capturing on d5), got a small edge, and convincingly outplayed me.

      Interestingly, the Bf4 line (without cxd5) appeared in the game Carlsen – Kramnik from the 2010 London Chess Classic. Even Carlsen suffered for most of the game, miraculously saving what should have been a lost endgame.

      Reply to this comment
      • Martin Carpenter

        Jan 24. 2017

        Base your black openings on people suffering vs Kramnik and you’ll rapidly run out of options :)

        Reply to this comment
  2. James Carpenter

    Jan 25. 2017

    I remember that game, 4.Nc3 is indeed an annoying anti-chigorin line. Not criitical, but a normal queen’s pawn position. As I recall, the bishops just went off on d6 in the Kramnik game, Chris’s opponent wasn’t so convincing, I don’t think += is right after the 13th move, more the other way around.

    Reply to this comment


  1. Chris Bak at the Reykjavik Open Part 3 - Yorkshire Chess | Yorkshire Chess - January 29, 2017

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