Food and chess

The first round is in the books at Reykjavik. I won my game as Black against Hakan Ostling (2151 FIDE, from Sweden). The tournament is pretty strong for an open swiss. There are about 110 players led by GM Areschenko (about 2675 FIDE); there are about 20 GMs and a lot of players around 2200 – 2400 FIDE. Tomorrow, I’ll probably play someone around 2350 FIDE. The tournament site is here.

One of the things I was worried about before coming to Reykjavik was whether there would be a good amount of vegetarian food to choose from. In France, I generally struggled mightily to find vegetarian food. In Cappelle la Grande, the meals were provided at the tournament site, and while I normally pass on provided meals that aren’t vegetarian, the buses to/from the hotels would leave for the meals and they sandwiched the rounds in between those trips. Meanwhile, in Paris, I had the unfortunate experience of running into the stereotypical Parisian waiter – when asked whether his restaurant had anything for vegetarians (in French), he responded, “This isn’t a pharmacy.” I was served some bread and cheese, along with a small bowl of plain, pureed vegetables.

Here in Reykjavik though, people are in general much nicer. One example is from a restaurant called Caruso from two days ago. GM Yury Shulman (the current US Champion) and I were having dinner there, and Shulman asked the waiter if he could order a calzone (even though it wasn’t on the menu). The waiter said, “Of course. Everything is possible.” Yury was happily provided with the calzone he ordered. The provided food here is also better – at dinner, they have 4 different vegetarian appetizers and 4 vegetarian main dishes to choose from as opposed to the tried and true, plain egg omelet available in Cappelle.

Oh yes, and my game. The diagram is after I just played 17…Nxe6. Rather than be stuck with a bad pawn structure and material equality, White pushed his pawn all the way to e6. However,  that pawn wasn’t going to make it back home:


Ostling played 18.c4, and after 18…Bxc4 (not 18…Bxf3 19.Qxe6 is check, and then he’ll take on f3 next) 19.Bxa8 Qxa8, he had “won” the exchange for two pawns. However, Black was already winning because of his two pawns and the powerful light-squared bishop. White had been kind enough to weaken the long light-squared diagonal with g3 on move 2, so after I rearranged my queen and bishop on the long diagonal, White found himself short of moves and quickly resigned.


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