Chess on Iceland

IM Miodrag Perunovic about Reykjavik Open 2008

Reykjavik Open 2009 is set to take place on 24th March – 1st April and will be organized by the Icelandic Chess Federation and the newly founded Reykjavik Chess Academy. Our commentator and trainer IM Miodrag Perunovic played there in 2008, and seeing him registered for another trip to Iceland, we asked about his impressions from the last year’s event. He came back with an enthusiastic review:

Miodrag Perunovic square 2

IM Miodrag Perunovic

“There are chess tournament everywhere. Players can travel across the world, choosing the strongest open events or opting for places that are also interesting as tourist destinations, for sightseeing or night life. Anyway, from all the tournament that I participated in, the Reykjavik Open clearly stands out! There are many reasons…

First and most important – the organizing committee! The hosts in Reykjavik are paying particular attention to please all the participants. Excellent playing conditions, cosy playing hall and strong illumination, good hotel, refreshments during the game, kind personnel and quick response to any players’ demands, is what makes this Festival to be truly exceptional.

Speaking of Reykjavik’s importance, there is almost no world top player that didn’t lay his foot on this island! Starting from the chess legends – Fischer, Spassky, Tal, Petrosian, Botvinnik and Gligoric, to brilliant players of today – Kasparov, Karpov, Anand, Carlsen etc.

Last year’s Reykjavik Open was very attractive. It gathered a large number of strong foreigners – always serious Wang Yue, engaging and communicative Wang Hao, who have by the way shared the first place, entertaining and cheerful Iceland champion Hannes Stefansson, Portugal champion Luis Galego, good fellow Stelios Halkias, pleasant Belgian champion Vadim Malakhatko… New star Fabiano Caruana was also there, as well as some of the world’s most entertaining chess characters – Pontus Carlsson and Igor Nataf!

Real attraction were future champions Ilya Nyznyk (Ukraine), Roy Robson (USA), World U12 and U14 champions Sahaj Grover and Naranyan, and crem of the World’s Women chess – my good friend Antoaneta Stefanova, Elisabeth Paehtz, a new GM (congrats!) Keti Arakhamia-Grant, Inna Gaponenko and Tania Sadchev of India.

Tournament dedicated to the memory of Robert James Fischer was an extraordinary experience for many players and kibitzers who had a chance to see for the first time some true legends of chess in action – Pal Benko, Vlastimil Hort, Lajos Portish, Henrik Olafsson, with chief arbiter Boris Spassky! and commentator GM Lombardy.

Aside from many great chess adventures, my biggest impression was Iceland itself! This is the land that you were dreaming about and something that you should see with your own eyes. Famous polar nights, geysers, hot outdoor swimming pools, one of the world’s most beautiful waterfall – Gulfoss, unique wonder of the nature – Aurora Borealis, famous Blue Lagoon, numerous glaciers, black sand beaches, 200 volcanoes – all this makes Iceland to stand out as a wonderful destination.

But probably most important, at least for the younger population, is a rich night life on Iceland! Countless clubs and bars, beautiful girls, colorful places with young and old mixed together and lots of entertainment is the final trump in Iceland’s cards.

See you in March!”

IM Miodrag Perunovic

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