Over 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.
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.
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!”
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.”
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.
The Bobby Fischer Center is closed during winter. However, the owner was accommodating and arranged a special visit.
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.
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…
And then it was time to get back to the US!
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