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Abhijeet Gupta on Reykjavik 2016

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 20/03/2016

With more than 230 participants and many top grandmasters the Reykjavik Open can boast of a strong field. The Harpa Hall, where the tournament was played, was another attraction. But the thing that attracted the world most was the summer smile of GM Abhijeet Gupta and IM Tania Sachdev in the inconsistent cold of the Icelandic capital. In this first part of our in-depth round-up, we bring you an illustrated report with the comments of Abhijeet himself.

Abhijeet Gupta on Reykjavik 2016

Photos by Lennart Ootes


This year the Reykjavik Open was a bit overshadowed by the Candidates tournament in Moscow and the Women's World Championship in Lviv. But traditionally the Open in Reykjavik has a lot to offer and this year this was no different. The Harpa hall is one of the world's most splendid venue; Iceland is a place many people want to visit once in their lives, and the field of the tournament was again very strong.


In this first part of our report on the tournament, we will go through the games of the winner himself with his views and comments.

Harpa Hall

The breathtaking view from the top tables' stage in the arena, one probable reason why ACP voted Reykjavik as the second-best tournament in 2015.

Clear first with 8.5/10: GM Abhijeet Gupta (2634)

The tournament was won by 26-year-old GM Abhijeet Gupta by a clear half-point margin. He stayed undefeated throughout and played solid yet interesting chess to win yet another Open tournament. The tournament had a regulation allowing a half-point bye until the seventh round, but would Abhijeet take a bye for the safety of a half point and rest? "As odd it may sound, I just wanted to play chess and generally if I am not ill, I don’t see a reason for taking byes," was Abhijeet's explanation.


He started off comfortably, winning his games without much ado. Gupta summarized his start saying, "I didn’t really plan or prepare anything special for my start. It just happened and my basic aim was to continue playing good and consistent chess."

12-year-old IM Awonder Liang (2405)

Awonder recently became USA's youngest International Master and has an interesting future ahead of him. Gupta played a typical Sicilian with the black pieces and wiped out the young American.

(Note: If you are playing through the game on a computer screen, you can enlarge the game fonts and the board by clicking on the magnify icon on the upper right.)

Awonder (2405) - Gupta (2634)

[Event "Reykjavik Open"]
[Site "Reykjavik, Iceland"]
[Date "2016.03.09"]
[Round "3.6"]
[White "Liang, Awonder"]
[Black "Gupta, Abhijeet"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B67"]
[WhiteElo "2405"]
[BlackElo "2634"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[SourceDate "2003.06.08"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:13"]
[BlackClock "0:30:58"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8.
O-O-O Bd7 9. f4 b5 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Kb1 Qb6 12. Nf3 b4 13. Ne2 a5 14. f5 e5
15. Ng3 h5 16. Qd5 Rc8 17. Bb5 Qc7 18. Bc4 Nd8 19. b3 Ke7 20. Qd3 Nb7 21. Qe2
Nc5 22. Nd2 h4 23. Ngf1 Bh6 24. Ne3 Bxe3 25. Qxe3 a4 26. g4 axb3 27. cxb3 Ra8
28. g5 (28. a4 Bxa4 29. bxa4 Nxa4 30. Bb3 Nc3+ 31. Kb2 Ra3 $11 {I did see this
line but I wasn't completely sure about evaluation although I was certain that
I would still have a draw in the worst case scenario. (Gupta)}) 28... Qa7 29.
gxf6+ Kxf6 30. Rhg1 Rh5 31. a4 Nxa4 32. Qf3 Nc5 33. Kc2 Qa2+ 34. Kc1 Rc8 35.
Rg6+ fxg6 36. fxg6+ Rf5 37. exf5 Bxf5 38. Ne4+ Nxe4 39. g7 Qa3+ 40. Kc2 Rxc4+

He also played a beautiful Catalan in the fourth round, which aptly ended with the Catalan Bishop performing the last rites.

Gupta (2634) - Petrov (2464)

[Event "Reykjavik Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.10"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gupta, Abhijeet"]
[Black "Petrov, Nikita"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E05"]
[WhiteElo "2634"]
[BlackElo "2464"]
[PlyCount "51"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Nbd2 dxc4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Qc2 c5 8.
dxc5 Nc6 9. O-O Bxc5 10. Nxc4 Qe7 11. Nfe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Qc7 13. Be3 Bb6 14.
Qxc7 Bxc7 15. Bd4 Rd8 16. Rac1 Ne8 17. Rfd1 f6 18. Nc4 Nd6 19. Ne3 Ne8 20. Nc4
Nd6 21. Na3 Bb8 22. Bc5 Nf7 23. Rxd8+ Nxd8 24. Be7 Nc6 25. Rxc6 bxc6 26. Bxc6

After starting off with 4.0/4, Gupta settled for draws with English GM Gawain Jones (2645) and Bulgarian GM Ivan Cheparinov (2684)
I think I was worse in both the games so I was happy to draw those games and move ahead.

It’s only because of him I managed to win this event! -Abhijeet (joked) on defeating Shabalov

Things looked good for Abhijeet at 5.0/6 and he took on USA's Alex Shabalov (2520) who is known to be very aggressive. Says Abhijeet, "He is a very strong grandmaster and beating him, especially with black pieces, did give me a lot of satisfaction."


Watch this fascinating video chat cum analysis by Abhijeet with FM Manuel Weeks

GM Sergei Movsesian (2654), who had earlier defeated GM Richard Rapport, was Abhijeet's seventh round opponent.

The game looked like a clean display of textbook chess -- any strong player will be proud of this game. "It wasn’t as comfortable as it might have looked. He had a pretty good position after the opening but after a couple of inaccuracies, he gave me an edge and, with even my poor technique, I managed to breakthrough!"

Gupta (2634) - Movsesian (2654)

[Event "Reykjavik Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.14"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gupta, Abhijeet"]
[Black "Movsesian, Sergei"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E46"]
[WhiteElo "2634"]
[BlackElo "2653"]
[PlyCount "123"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 d5 6. a3 Bd6 7. Ng3 c6 8. Be2
dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nbd7 10. O-O Nb6 11. Ba2 e5 12. dxe5 Bxe5 13. Qc2 Be6 14. Bxe6
fxe6 15. Nce2 Qd5 16. Bd2 Qc4 17. Rac1 Qxc2 18. Rxc2 Rad8 19. Bc3 Bxc3 20. Nxc3
Kf7 21. Nge4 Ke7 22. Nc5 Rb8 23. f3 Nbd5 24. Nd1 Rfd8 25. Kf2 Nd7 26. Nd3 N7b6
27. Ke2 Nc7 28. Nc3 Nbd5 29. Ne4 Nf6 30. Nef2 Rd5 31. Rfc1 Rdd8 32. a4 a5 33.
b3 Na6 34. e4 Nd7 35. Ng4 c5 36. Nge5 Nxe5 37. Nxe5 Rbc8 38. Rd2 Rxd2+ 39. Kxd2
Nb8 40. Ke3 b6 41. Rd1 Rc7 42. Nc4 Rb7 43. Rd6 Nd7 44. Rc6 g5 45. g3 Rb8 46.
Rc7 Kd8 47. Ra7 b5 48. Nxa5 Rb6 49. f4 gxf4+ 50. gxf4 Kc8 51. e5 h5 52. Kd3 c4+
53. bxc4 bxa4 54. Kd4 Nb8 55. Kc5 Rb2 56. Nc6 Rxh2 57. Ra8 Rb2 58. f5 exf5 59.
e6 a3 60. Nxb8 Kb7 61. Rxa3 Kxb8 62. Re3 1-0

 In the ninth round, Gupta kept pressing GM Nils Grandelius (2646) until he crumbled in the end.

Grandelius (2646) - Gupta (2634)

[Event "Reykjavik Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Grandelius, Nils"]
[Black "Gupta, Abhijeet"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A16"]
[WhiteElo "2646"]
[BlackElo "2634"]
[PlyCount "92"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. h4 h6 8. O-O
c5 9. Nxd5 Qxd5 10. d4 cxd4 11. Be3 d3 12. Ne1 Qd6 13. Nxd3 Nc6 14. Rc1 Nd4 15.
Re1 Rd8 16. Qa4 Bd7 17. Qb4 Qxb4 18. Nxb4 Nf5 19. Bf4 e5 20. Bd2 Bc6 21. Bc3
Bxg2 22. Kxg2 e4 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Red1 Rac8 25. Rxd8 Rxd8 26. Rc4 a5 27. Nc2
Rd2 28. e3 Nd6 29. Rc5 b6 30. Rc6 Nb7 31. b4 axb4 32. Nxb4 Na5 33. Rc2 Rxc2 34.
Nxc2 Kf6 35. f3 Ke5 36. Nb4 Nc4 37. Kf2 h5 38. g4 Nd2 39. gxh5 gxh5 40. Nc6+
Kd5 41. Nd4 Nxf3 42. Nxf3 exf3 43. Kxf3 Ke5 44. a4 f5 45. Ke2 Ke4 46. Kd2 Kf3

With this win, Abhijeet Gupta had almost sealed his victory in the tournament. With one more round to go, Abhijeet chose to remain focused on the job at hand, which clearly defines his approach. "I didn’t look into it, I just wanted to play a normal game without thinking much about the result," commented Gupta.


Abhijeet easily drew his final round game against Italian youngster GM Francesco Rambaldi (2541) to be crowned the champion of Reykjavik Open 2016. 

Indian summer in the Icelandic cold! 

The second part will follow soon.


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