The Icelandic Chess Championship started yesterday, Friday the 13th of April, the birthday of Garry Kasparov, in Kópavogur, the second largest city in Reykjavik. The championship is the strongest that has been held this century, with four GMs and an average rating of 2398.
Ármann Kr. Ólafsson, mayor of Kópavogur, opened the event, by playing the first move in the GM battle between Henrik Danielsen and Stefan Kristjansson.
This is the second time that the championship is held in Kópavogur. The first time was in the year 2000, when IM Jon Viktor Gunnarsson won it.
GM Hannes Stefansson, eleven times champion, and Henrik Danielsen, winner of the 2009 tournament, are the only former champions taking part in the event.
Stefansson has won the championship on eleven of the last occasions he has taken part since 1998, when he first became champion. (He did not play in the 2000, 2009 and 2011 editions of the event). The reigning Icelandic Champion, GM Hedinn Steingrimsson, is not defending his title.
There will be a lot of chess related events in Kópavogur during the tournament. They include the Kópavogur school championship, the Iceland high school championship, the match between the senior and junior teams of the Kópavogur Chess Club and youngsters from Kópavogur, but the current Icelandic grammar school team champions, Álfhólsskóli, are indeed from Kópavogur.
The first round featured two deceive games. IM Bjorn Thorfinnsson beat Gudmundur Gislason and FM Sigurbjorn Bjornsson beat IM Gudmundur Kjartansson. Other notable results included a draw between GM Stefansson and FM David Kjartansson.
List of participants:
1. GM Hannes Stefansson (2531)
2. GM Henrik Danielsen (2504)
3. GM Stefan Kristjansson (2500)
4. IM Bragi Thorfinnsson (2421)
5. IM Bjorn Thorfinnsson (2416)
6. GM Throstur Thorhallsson (2398)
7. FM Sigurbjorn Bjornsson (2393)
8. IM Dagur Arngrimsson (2361)
9. IM Gudmundur Kjartansson (2357)
10. Gudmundur Gislason (2346)
11. FM David Kjartansson (2305)
12. Einar Hjalti Jensson (2245)
Website including live games, which start at 16:00 Icelandic time (GMT) and 18:00 Central European Summer time, at: http://skaksamband.is/?c=webpage&id=546.