Americans in Reykjavik
By Macauley Peterson   
March 18, 2012
Nine U.S. players flew up to the exotic capital of Iceland (March 6-13) for the annual Reykjavik Open (final standings / crosstables), and that's not counting American-Italian super-grandmaster Fabiano Caruana, who has represented Italy since 2006.

Caruana won the strong open that included 26 GMs. He was the clear favorite, but nevertheless posted an impressive plus-6 undefeated score, for a 2777 performance rating, good enough to leapfrog over Hikaru Nakamura to become #6 in the world.

Nakamura, watching the event during a visit to Dallas, tweeted, "after seeing people picking up rating points off of beating weaker players, I am convinced chess ratings should be weighted like in tennis." It is not easy to gain rating points in such a tournament, however, when draws can heavily affect your rating performance, as Nakamura knows full well.

Here, Caruana explains his rationale for participating:

Robert Hess was the top scorer among the players flying stars and stripes next to their names. He was in contention for the top places, but after a grueling loss to Czech 2700 GM David Navara in the penultimate round, he had to settle for a tie for 9th-18th, with 6.5 out of 9.

Maurice Ashley returned to international competition after a long absence. He had previously visited Reykjavik in 2006, to provide commentary for the tournament, but this was his first time playing in the event. Ashley also gave a seminar on the benefits of a chess education which was webcast throughout Iceland.

A full report including interviews with the American squad can be found in the forthcoming May issue of Chess Life Magazine. For now, here are some Iceland impressions, featuring Robert Hess, Maurice Ashley, Irina Krush, John Bartholomew, Marc Arnold, Keaton Kiewra, Teddy Coleman, Yuri Shulman and Fabiano Caruana.