A Blindfold King in Iceland

CrystalsOver the past few months I have been traveling in Europe. I  took home first place in Figuera De Foz tournament in Portugal after which my travels continued throughout Europe. Among my favorites were Barcelona, Ibiza, the Algarves in Portugal, Venice, and Paris. As my journey to Europe was coming to an end, I took the chance to visit amazing Iceland again. During my first trip last August I connected with the local chess community and played a blindfold simul against the top 10 Icelandic youth players.  The players were strong with the top board 2300 Fide strength. Luckily I managed to catch the teenager in a well-known opening trap and scored my first victory right there.

[Event "Iceland Blindfold Simul"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.08.04"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Board 1"]
[Black "Timur"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D15"]
[Annotator "Timur Gareyev"]
[PlyCount "24"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 a6 5. e3 Bf5 {It is logical to seek the
development of this notoriusly "troublesome" bishop. The challenge is this
temporarily weakens the queen-side.} 6. cxd5 cxd5 7. Qb3 b5 {This resource is
now possible since black took time to prepare with 4...a6} 8. a4 {White
is trying to exploit black's overextended queen-side...} b4 $1 {This
is the resource my opponent was not familiar with and falls right into my trap.
} 9. Qxb4 (9. Na2 {was necessary} a5 {and black is easily equal}) 9... Nc6 10.
Qb3 Rb8 11. Nb5 {my opponent decides to take a chance and sac a piece for
another pawn} (11. Qd1 Nb4 {now white has a hard time defending vs a fork on
c2}) 11... axb5 12. Bxb5 Bd7 {my opponent got little compensation and had to
resign in a few moves.} 0-1[/pgn]
As I knocked out the strongest opponent, the games went tough, but I still managed to achieve a perfect score. The event was a great highlight of my first trip where I got to see the city of Reykjavik. Reykjavik On my second trip I had more time to explore. As I looked at the map of Iceland, I was tempted to discover the island during the four days I was visiting the country. As I looked into driving the “Ring Road” in wintertime I encountered a useful collection of tips online. One guide highlighted a most important tip: “Do NOT drive in Iceland in wintertime!” Ring Road I obviously took the advice to heart and started my journey. Here are a few images of scenic Iceland:
Winter Road 1 Snowy, icy, windy road
Reflection Mountain and Lake close by Akureri
Horses Wild Icelandic Horses
Sunrise on Farm I spent one night at a farm. I captured sunrise colors around 10.30am
Glacier People checking out Vatnajokull, 3rd largest glacier in the world where “Interstellar” was filmed.
I did not have a 4-wheel drive, so it took a nice lengthy hike to get up close. A few groups were touring the place. The guides got concerned I got so close to the piles of glacier pieces since the “icebergs” had been crushing and collapsing. I said “no worries, I am just picking up a few ice cubes for my cocktail.”
Ship at Akureri Port The lake surface is covered with ice at a port close by Akureri
During my last day on the island I was close to completing the “Ring” at the town of Selfoss, where Bobby Fischer spent the last few years of his life.
Laugardælir Church Laugardælir Church
Bobby's Grave Looks like strong wind knocked out one of the lanterns
The Bobby Fischer Center is closed during winter. However, the owner was accommodating and arranged a special visit.
Chess Table Duplicate of the chess table at Spassky vs. Fischer 1974 World Championship Match
Game at Bobby's Center Aðalsteinn, former microbiologist excited about my visit, challenged me to a game
Carricature The Center is a great place to learn chess history. Local players use the space to play their regular tournaments. Most Icelanders were familiar with Bobby Fischer and his accomplishments. Boris vs Bobby I was happy to have a whole range of experiences with nature, as well as insight into the chess history of Iceland. Before departing, I had to follow the good old Viking tradition and I took a dip in the ocean…
Black Beach Swimming and jogging at Black Beach.
And then it was time to get back to the US!
Greenland Flight Flying over Greenland
My travel and blindfold chess journey continued at The Gulf Coast New Year’s Open and will resume at the Dreaming King Open. My next large event is a 35-player blindfold simul in Cupertino, CA on March 12. This will be a major challenge on the way to my ultimate world record attempt: to play 50 games blindfolded in the summer of 2016. Looking forward to hear from you and hope to see you at one of my events soon: look for more news on uschess.org and stay posted at http://www.blindfoldking.com  

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