The European Chess Championship commenced in Porto Carres, Greece, yesterday where 38 nations participate in the open category. Hjörvar Steinn Grétarsson, who is 18 and one of Iceland’s most promising chess players, beat Latvian grandmaster Alexei Shirov, who plays for Spain, in the first round.
Archive photo by Páll Kjartansson.
The games are organized so that the stronger teams play against the weaker in the first round. Iceland, which has an average of 2,487 points, therefore met the stronger team of Spain, which has an average of 2,660 points and two of the world’s strongest chess players, Morgunbladid reports.
According to Gunnar Björnsson, chairman of the Chess Association of Iceland, Shirov used a Nimzo-Indian defense against Grétarsson. “The position was very complicated—few chess players are considered to be better than Shirov in setting up complicated positions. However, Shirov was under time pressure and didn’t play accurately enough and so Hjörvar won in 43 plays in a very enjoyable game of chess.”
However, Iceland lost against Spain with two losses and one draw. Björnsson said this outcome is acceptable given how strong the Spanish team is. Today, Iceland will play Slovenia, which has an average score of 2,581.