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One of the most popular open tournaments in the world is held each spring in Iceland, and Canadian players who attend often come away with a unique chess experience.

David Filipovich of Toronto is an instructor at the Chess Institute of Canada and the Annex Chess Club. He says he has played in more than 300 tournaments over his career, but last year’s Reykjavik Open was a highlight.

“It’s a chess-loving country, steeped in chess history,” he says. The tournament and related events take on a festival atmosphere, with the mayor presiding at the opening ceremonies and champagne at city hall to celebrate the closing.

“Playing under one roof with people from 39 countries is an incredible experience,” says Filipovich, who won a prize at the event. “My only thought was: Why haven’t I done this sooner?”

Iceland is noteworthy in chess history for hosting the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky world championship match in 1972, and also for being the country that granted Fischer asylum late in life.

This year’s tournament, scheduled for March 29 to April 4 at the iconic Harpa concert hall, is the 37th since former world champion Mikhail Tal won the first. More than two dozen grandmasters are registered, and organizers are hoping for 300 players.

Patrick Lessmeister v. David Filipovich, Reykjavik, 2022

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Black’s game is better, but White has a menacing Rook. What does Black play here?

Black played 20…. O-O-O and after 21.Rxa7 Kb8 and White’s Rook will run out of escape squares, for instance, 22.Ra4 Ndb6. Black won the exchange and the game.

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