Chris Bak at the Reykjavik Open Part 3

Hallgrímskirkja church

Hallgrímskirkja church

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.

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.

Houska Bak

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


Reykjavik Open Website
Crosstable of Chris’ performance
Part 1
Part 2

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3 Responses to “Chris Bak at the Reykjavik Open Part 3”

  1. James Carpenter

    Feb 01. 2017

    Nice church :). Interesting set of games to look through too, the chigorin one is just a pretty convincing demonstration of black’s chances in those closed positions, just a very easy plan of advancing on the kingside :).

    Nice to see some practical examples of the scotch in practice, it’s an opening I struggle to quite get my head round. Black should dodge 11.Qf2 shouldn’t they?

    Reply to this comment
    • Chris Bak

      Feb 04. 2017

      The positions you get from the Mieses variation of the Scotch are very non-standard and hard to understand. I play it with both colours, it requires very precise play in the opening. Black has the tougher time of it, but if white is not careful black can just win e5 with little compensation and have a great position.

      You’re right about 11. Qf2. I get it fairly often and I think it’s pretty lousy for black. 13. c5 is unnecessary, and one of the few examples where I choose a messy, forcing line instead of a slower positional approach (13. Nc3), but my success rate with it is huge.

      Instead of 10..Bg7, black doesn’t have any problems after 10..d6. It’s quite a new move: a quick check on my database shows the first time it was played was in 2008 by Jan Gustaffson. I discovered the move from a Kramnik game from 2014.

      Reply to this comment


  1. Chris Bak at the Reykjavik Open Part 2 - Yorkshire Chess | Yorkshire Chess - January 29, 2017

    […] Reykjavik Open Website Crosstable of Chris’ performance Part 1 Part 3 […]

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