Reports | February 18, 2013 20:52

The Iceland-China rapid match: a warm-up for the Reykjavik Open

The Iceland-China rapid match: a warm-up for the Reykjavik Open

On Tuesday, at 16:30 local time (17:30 CET), the 28th Reykjavik Open starts in the capital of Iceland. Last weekend, as a warm-up, a rapid match between China and Iceland was played. The guests won expectedly: the score was 47.5-24.5.

The 28th Reykjavik Open runs 19-27 February, again at the magnificent 28.000 m² Harpa concert hall. At the moment the Chess-results page counts 237 participants, including 34 GMs and 26 IMs. There are five 2700 players this year: Anish Giri (NED, 2720), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 2715), David Navara (CZE, 2710), GM Ivan Cheparinov (BUL, 2709) and Ding Liren (CHN, 2709). The total prize fund is €15.000, including many special prizes for various ages and rating categories, in addition to the traditional top women prize.

Expect lots of coverage here, as ChessVibes will in Reykjavik throughout the tournament!


A match between Iceland and China was held over the weekend in the headquarters of Arion Bank in Iceland. The event was a nice warm-up for the Reykjavik Open, where the Chinese players will all play, and many of the Icelanders, including their oldest grandmaster!

The Chinese team had a serious rating advantage but the Icelanders hoped to use the homecourt advantage as a "secret weapon"! The match was played over six boards; it was an all play all, double rounds. The time control was 20 minutes per person per game.

China's youngest team member was 13 year old Wei Yi, who is the youngest International Master in the world and who has already achieved two Grandmasters norms. The “veteran” of the team was 26 year old Bu Xiangzhi, who in fact became Grandmaster at the age of 13. Another big talent joined the team: 19 year old Yu Yangyi, who became Grandmaster at 15 and is now China's third player.

Two ladies and another young talent completed the Chinese team: Huang Qian (born in 1986) and Tan Zhongyi (1991), both WGMs and 14 year old Wang Yiye, one of the most promising Chinese talents.

The Chinese delegation posing - before the match Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland,
invited the participants to his residence in Bessastadir in honor of the Chinese guests | Photo 

Compared to these youngsters the Icelandic team was more of a veteran team. Four Grandmasters showed up alongside some promising youngsters. Iceland's first Grandmaster ever, Fridrik Olafsson, was present – he became a GM in 1958! Grandmasters Helgi Olafsson, Stefan Kristjansson and the current Icleandic champion Throstur Thorhallsson all played as well and IM Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson, WGM Lenka Ptacnikva, IM Jon Vikor Gunnarsson and IM Gudmundur Kjartansson completed the team.

The match became a convincing 47,5-24,5 victory for the guests. China outclassed Iceland, taking charge in the first round with a 5.5-0.5 victory. Iceland faired better in the 2nd round (3.5-2.5 for China) but another 5.5-0.5 thrashing in the 3rd round set the tone for a smooth sailing for the Chinese.

China's Yu Yangyi showed great fighting spirit and quality and finished with a very impressive 11.5 out of 12. For the Icelanders the top scorer was GM Hjörvar Grétarsson, with 5.5 out of 12.

The match was held in conjunction with the 60 year anniversary of the Chinese-Icelandic Culture Association, which organised the event along with the Icelandic Chess Federation. The event was also sponsered by Arion Bank, CCP, Promens Icelandic and Elkem Iceland.

You can download all 72 games in PGN here (unfortunately with a few errors here and there). Below is our selection for replay:

PGN string

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


dubsguy22's picture

Here's the link to the live games for anyone else searching.

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