By the time the seventh round took place I had become accustomed to my nice but temporary life in Reykjavik. Most rounds started at 3pm, which gave me plenty of time to explore the capital in the morning. It is a beautiful city, with colourful and grandiose buildings entering sight no matter which road I walked. The most remarkable of these sights is the Hallgrímskirkja church, standing atop a hill so that it can be seen from the very bottom of the road on which it lies, greeting the eager tourist from afar. The statue in front of the church depicts Leif Erikson, the Icelandic explorer who is believed to have discovered North America before Christopher Columbus.
Rounds 7-9 all saw me facing much stronger opposition.
I was extremely happy after the penultimate round. I had defeated three 2100+ players and had obtained a score of 5.5/9. Before the tournament started, I expected that getting even 50% would be a great achievement. To achieve a higher score with a round to spare is more than I could have ever hoped for! As a reward for my performance, I was paired against my fourth titled opponent in the final round, England’s best female player, IM Jovanka Houska.
The hard loss didn’t dampen my spirits. I attended the closing ceremony on the same day and received first place in the under 2000 category! Not only was I handed an envelope, but a ceremonial rose. I wasn’t sure what to do with the flower; it certainly doesn’t belong in a suitcase! I decided to gift it to the owners of the my accommodation, who went above and beyond to make my stay as pleasant as possible. If I’ve persuaded anybody to play in this tournament, I strongly recommend that you stay at the Centric Guesthouse.
With that, the only thing I have left to say is thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my Icelandic adventure!
Report by Chris Bak