Reykjavik Open 2014 – FIRE IN THE HOUSE! (Rounds 2&3)

Today was one of those exhausting, double-round days. The first game started at 9.30am. I played a resilient Norwegian kid (aren’t they all), from the U16 category. So naturally I followed Carlsen’s white play from his rapid game with Nakamura, from the Zurich tournament, but the kid deviated on move 7. I got a pleasant position and after some hour and a half, all of a sudden, the loudspeaker in the Harpa announced something in Icelandic, followed by “MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! THERE IS FIRE IN THE HOUSE! PLEASE EVACUATE THE BUILDING!” The clocks were stopped immediately, everybody got outside.

After approximately 1 minute, we were told we can go back in and continue. So we got back inside and played exactly 1 move, when we were told we should go out again.

This time the break was some 15-20 minutes. Eventually we returned to the hall and resumed play. Luckily these disturbances didn’t affect my play and I won a nice technical game, albeit a very long one, lasting 5 hours and 70 moves.

This was the first time in my career that a play had been interrupted because of a fire. Back in 2005 in Santiago de Cuba there were interruptions because of power cuts, but never because of fire! Later on I understood that there actually was some fire in the building (and it wasn’t a drill as I assumed), but I never saw any fire brigades or commotion or panic. I guess people are naturally cool in Iceland.

Due to all this, the afternoon game started at 5pm, instead of the scheduled 4.30pm. I was very tired from the morning game and due to the time constraint I couldn’t prepare properly. I was surprised that Jovana Vojinovic (WGM, 2323) entered the Benoni (something that she had almost never done before) and I couldn’t recall my analysis. I messed things up pretty badly and was lucky she accepted my draw offer on move 16. So 1.5/2 in one day isn’t bad at all.

The main upset in the third round was Naiditsch’s loss to Ezat (the guy who sacrificed a queen and tortured Kramnik in the last round of the World Teams).

These double-round days are the plague of modern open tournaments, they take away so much energy that now what’s important is to get rest and get back on track. Looking forward to some sleep!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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