Record attendance in Reykjavík Open
Alexandra Botez, Vassily Ivanchuk and Aryan Tari will participate in the Reykjavík Open chess tournaments that starts on Wednesday. Composite image
A record-breaking attendance will be at the Reykjavík Open, which begins in Harpa on Wednesday and lasts for two weeks until April 4. Participants include 34 Grandmasters, including Russian chess legend Vassily Ivanchuk, who has the highest ELO score of the participants in the tournament.
A handful of chess world community stars attend the event, best known is Canadian chess player Alexandra Botez, who has about 1.3 million followers on Youtube. She boasts 2059 Elo points and her chess matches will be streamed online.
Next in the rankings of competitors after Ivanchuk are Swedish Grandmaster Nils Grandelius and Norwegian Grandmaster Aryan Tari, who has long been the second best North American and Nordic chess player after the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen.
Historical participation this year
Historically, this year’s Reykjavík Open Chess tournament has never been more popular, with around 400 competitors registered. This compares to last year’s total of 245 participants and an earlier record of 272 participants, as stated in a press release from the Icelandic Chess Federation.
The Icelandic grandmaster Hjörvar Steinn Grétarsson is the highest ranking grandmaster in Iceland. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon
The participants are from about 47 countries. Some 85 Icelandic chess players take part, making up nearly 80% of the participants. The largest number of foreign chess players come from Germany Germans or about 60. The Icelandic Chess Federation’s announcement also states that overnight stays that follow the tournament can be expected to number about 4,000.
Competitors come from countries such as Kazakhstan, Singapore, Australia and Sri Lanka, among others.
Icelanders featured prominently in the tournament
Six of the 34 Grandmasters participating this year are Icelandic, including the newest Icelandic Grandmaster, Vignir Vatnar Stefánsson. Of the Icelandic Grandmasters, in addition to Stefánsson, are Hjörvar Steinn Grétarsson, Hannes Hlífar Stefánsson, Jóhann Hjartarson, Guðmundur Kjartansson and Þröstur Þórhallsson, as well as women’s Grand Champion Lenka Ptácníková.
Chess is for everyone, and this is reflected in the age difference between the youngest and oldest competitors. The oldest competitors are 74 (born in 1949), while the youngest will be seven this year (born in 2016).
Chess explanations will be provided every day at Harpa by our strongest chess players, who do not participate. These include namesake and grandmasters Helgi Ólafsson and Helgi Áss Grétarsson.
Chess aficionados are encouraged to make their way to Harpa to follow the tournament.
The tournament will officially be set on Wednesday, March 29, at 15.00, at which time Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson will start the tournament and play its first move. The tournament is the 37th in history, with the first Reykjavík Open took place in 1964. The crowd is always welcome at the venue and free admission is available sponsored by Kvika. Asset Management and Brim.
About 50 matches will be available to watch directly online for each round on the tournament's website, www.reykjavikopen.com .