Biel 02: Onischuk beats Grischuk, remaining games drawn

7/24/2007 – The second round of the International Chess Festival in Biel/Bienne saw the battle of the Schuks, with Oni beating Gris, who at 23 is probably too young for the Slav. The other games were all drawn. Polgar and Carlsen fought out a theoretically important Open Spanish battle, whilst Motylev drew a long ending against Pelletier. Radjabov-Bu was 15 moves long. Report and games.

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The participants of the Grandmaster Group (from left): Alexander Onischuk, Alexander Motylev, Anatoly Karpov (special guest), Teimour Radjabov, Judit Polgar, Alexander Grischuk, Boris Avrukh, Loek van Wely, Mangnus Carlsen, Bu Xianghzi, and Yannick Pelletier.

The 40th Biel Chess Festival is taking place from July 21st to August 3rd, 2007. The Grandmaster group starts on Monday July 23rd. The participants are listed below (player, nationality, rating, world ranking). Note that we have corrected the ratings and seedings, which were initially given from an older list.

Teimour Radjabov AZE 2746
7
Alexander Grischuk RUS 2726
14
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2710
17
Judit Polgar HUN 2707
19
Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2685
25
Loek van Wely NED 2680
34
Alexander Onischuk USA 2650
61
Alexander Motylev RUS 2648
68
Boris Avrukh ISR 2645
74
Yannick Pelletier SUI 2591

Round two report: Onischuk beats Grischuk

2nd round – Tuesday July 24th
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Bu Xianghzi
Judit Polgar
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Boris Avrukh
½-½
Loek van Wely
Alexander Motylev
½-½
Yannick Pelletier
Alexander Onischuk
1-0
Alexander Grischuk


Judit Polgar vs Magnus Carlsen in round two

The clash between the two leaders saw a theoretical battle in the Open Spanish. Polgar's 21st was an attempted improvement over her game with Ivan Sokolov at Hoogeveen 2006 (which she won, but unconvincingly), but Carlsen's defence was very solid and he soon equalized without any problems.

Polgar,Ju (2707) - Carlsen,M (2710) [C83]
GM Biel SUI (2), 24.07.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Be7 10.c3 0–0 11.Bc2 f5 12.Nb3 Qd7 13.Nfd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 c5 15.Nxe6 Qxe6 16.f3 Ng5 17.a4 Rad8 18.axb5 axb5 19.Ra7 Rd7 20.Rxd7 Qxd7

21.Be3 [21 Kh1 f4 22.b4 c4 23.Qd2 Ne6 24.Rd1 Nc7 25.Qf2 Qe6 26.Qd4 Qc6 27.Kg1 g6 28.Kf1 Bg5 29.Bb2 Ra8 30.Qd2 Ne6 31.Bb1 Rd8 32.Qe1 Qc7 33.h4 Be7 34.Bc1 Qc6 35.Qf2 Rf8 36.Bc2 Bd8 37.Qd2 Bxh4 38.Qxd5 Qb6 39.Qd2 Bg3 40.Qe2 Qa7 41.Be4 Kh8 42.Bd5 Ng7 43.e6 Qe7 44.Qe5 Qh4 45.Ke2 h5 46.Be4 Rg8 47.Rd7 Qh1 48.Bd2 1–0  Polgar-I Sokolov, Hoogeveen 2006] 21...f4 22.Bf2 g6 23.Qd2 Ne6 24.Rd1 Rd8 25.Be4 Qc7 26.Bxd5 Qxe5 27.b3 Kg7 28.c4 bxc4 29.bxc4 Nc7 30.Qa2 Nxd5 31.cxd5 Kf8 32.h3 Qd6 33.Qc4 Kf7 34.Kh1 Kf8 35.Re1 Kf7 36.Rd1 Kf8 37.Bg1 Kf7 38.Qe4 Bf6 39.Qc4 Bd4 40.Qc1 Qxd5 41.Qxf4+ Kg8 42.Bxd4 cxd4 43.Rd3

½–½. [Click to replay]


Like so many former King's Indian and Grunfeld players, Loek van Wely has responded to the approach of middle age by joining the massed ranks of the Slav defenders. Avrukh's 11th move showed some ambition, but Black's rock-solid position was never seriously endangered and the draw was agreed at move 26.

Avrukh,B (2645) - Van Wely,L (2680) [D11]
GM Biel SUI (2), 24.07.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Nc3 e6 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 Nbd7 8.Bd2 Bd6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 Qe7

11.g4 Bb4 12.a3 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 a5 14.Qf4 0–0 15.f3 Rfe8 16.Kf2 Nf8 17.Rhe1 Ne6 18.Qg3 b5 19.Bd2 Qa7 20.Rad1 Qb6 21.Kg2 c5 22.dxc5 Nxc5 23.Bc3 Nxd3 24.Rxd3 b4 25.axb4 axb4 26.Bd4 Qa6 ½–½. [Click to replay]



Alexander Onischuk, originally Ukraine, now Baltimore

Alexander Grischuk also placed his faith in the Slav, but with less success. Against his opponent's more critical approach, he reverted to the old piece sacrifice variation, which has been under a theoretical cloud for some years now. One of the last critical games in the line was Anand-Khalifman, New Delhi 2000, which the present game followed for 19 moves. Grischuk chose to play the other rook to c8, but it made little difference to the course of the game, and he lost in very similar fashion to Khalifman. Perhaps, at 23, Grischuk is just too young to be playing the Slav...

Onischuk,Al (2650) - Grischuk,A (2726) [D17]
GM Biel SUI (2), 24.07.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3 Bb4 8.e4 Bxe4 9.fxe4 Nxe4 10.Bd2 Qxd4 11.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 12.Qe2 Bxd2+ 13.Kxd2 Qd5+ 14.Kc2 Na6 15.Nxc4 0–0 16.Qe5 Rab8 17.a5 f6 18.Qxd5 cxd5 19.Ne3

19... Rfc8+ [19... Rbc8+ 20.Kb1 Nc5 21.Ra3 f5 22.Be2 Ne4 23.Rd1 Rc7 24.Nc2 Kf7 25.Nd4 Nd6 26.a6 b6 27.Re3 Re8 28.Re1 Ne4 29.Nb5 Rd7 30.Rc1 Nc5 31.Nd4 Ra8 32.b4 Ne4 33.Bb5 Rd6 34.Rc7+ Kf6 35.Bc6 Rf8 36.Nb5 Rdd8 37.Rxa7 Nd2+ 38.Kc1 Nc4 39.Re2 Ne5 40.Rc7 Rc8 41.Bb7 1–0 Anand - Khalifman FIDE-Wch k.o. New Delhi/Teheran (5.5), 11.12.2000] 20.Kb1 Nc5 21.Ra3 f5 22.Be2 Ne4 23.Rd1 Rc5 24.Nc2 Kf7 25.Nd4 Kf6 26.Rb3 Nd6 27.g4 f4 28.g5+ Ke7 29.Rh3 Rh8 30.Bg4 e5 31.Ne6 Rxa5 32.Nxg7 Ne4

 33.Nf5+ Kd8 34.g6 Nf6 35.g7 Re8 36.Bh5 1–0. [Click to replay]


Too young for the Slav? World championship candidate Alexander Grischuk


The day's longest battle was between Motylev and Pelletier. The former chose the sharp English Attack formation against the Taimanov, but Black soon looked to have dangerous attacking chances against the white king. Motylev defended solidly and neutralised the threats, and after Pelletier's rather ambitious combination beginning 23...d4, White emerged with two rooks against the queen. With weak enemy pawns to target, the rooks would usually be dominant in such a position, but here the exposed white king made his task difficult, and the game was eventually drawn.

Motylev,A (2648) - Pelletier,Y (2591) [B48]
GM Biel SUI (2), 24.07.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.0–0–0 Bb4 9.f3 Ne5 10.Nb3 b5 11.Kb1 Nc4 12.Bxc4 bxc4 13.Nd4 Rb8 14.Ka1 0–0 15.Nde2 d6 16.a3 Qa5 17.Qc1 d5 18.exd5 Nxd5 19.Nxd5 exd5 20.Bd2 Be6 21.Bxb4 Rxb4 22.Qd2 Rfb8 23.Rhe1

23...d4 24.Nxd4 c3 25.Qxc3 Rxb2 26.Qxb2 Rxb2 27.Kxb2 Qb6+ 28.Ka1 Qd6 29.Rd3 Qxh2 30.Nxe6 fxe6 31.Re2 Qg1+ 32.Ka2 Qc5 33.Rde3 Qc4+ 34.Ka1 Qd4+ 35.Kb1 Qd1+ 36.Kb2 Qd4+ 37.Kc1 a5 38.Rd3 Qc5 39.Rde3 Qd4 40.Rd3 Qc5 41.f4 Qc4 42.g3 h5 43.Re5 h4 44.gxh4 Qxf4+ 45.Rde3 Qxh4 46.Rxa5 Qd4

47.Ra8+ Kf7 48.Rf3+ Ke7 49.Rb8 Qe4 50.Rfb3 Qe1+ 51.Kb2 Qe5+ 52.Ka2 g5 53.R8b5 ½-½. [Click to replay]


Radjabov-Bu, on the other hand, was not one of the most epic battles in chess history:

Radjabov,T (2746) - Bu Xiangzhi (2685) [B97]
GM Biel SUI (2), 24.07.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Be2 Rb8 11.a3 d5 12.b4 c5 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Na4 Qc6 15.Nxc5 ½-½. [Don't bother]

Commentary by Steve Giddins

Player portrait: Alexander Onischuk

United States, 31 years, Elo: 2650

Date and place of birth: 3.9.1975 in Sevastopol (Ukraine)
Lives in: Baltimore
National ranking: 2
World ranking: 61
Best world ranking: 28 (2667 Elo, July 2001)
In Biel GMT: 1999 (3rd); won the GMT B in 1997

Alexander Onischuk won the Green Card Lottery and went to the USA. The Ukrainian Grandmaster was unhappy about the situation in his country and wanted to go "to a country where hard work is valued and paid.” He made it to Baltimore, where he now lives.

The 31-year-old discovered chess very early. He benefited from public support for chess in the Soviet Union, and the tough competition there forced him to be ambitious at a young age. In 1995, he played at the World Championships U20 for his country and finished second. After the collapse of the USSR, Onischuk was allowed to travel freely around the world and he played for Ukraine's National Team several times. He was especially successful at the Chess Olympiads in 1996 and 1998 when his country finished second twice.

This year will be Onischuk's fourth appearance in Biel. In the late 1990s, he already had two convincing results. After the 11th place in the Grandmaster Tournament in 1996, which hardly made him happy, he finished first a year later in the Grandmaster Tournament B. In 1999, he came in third in the Grandmaster Tournament A. Although he is not one among the top favorites for this year's anniversary tournament, the tough, hard-to-beat Onischuk should certainly not be underestimated. (sk)

From the official web site players' portraits


Schedule and results

1st round – Monday July 23rd
Alexander Onischuk
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Alexander Motylev
Yannick Pelletier
½-½
Boris Avrukh
Loek van Wely
0-1
Judit Polgar
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Bu Xianghzi
2nd round – Tuesday July 24th
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Bu Xianghzi
Judit Polgar
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Boris Avrukh
½-½
Loek van Wely
Alexander Motylev
½-½
Yannick Pelletier
Alexander Onischuk
1-0
Alexander Grischuk
3rd round – Wednesday July 25th
Alexander Grischuk
-
Teimour Radjabov
Yannick Pelletier
-
Alexander Onischuk
Loek van Wely
-
Alexander Motylev
Magnus Carlsen
-
Boris Avrukh
Bu Xianghzi
-
Judit Polgar
GamesReport
4th round – Friday July 27th
Teimour Radjabov
-
Judit Polgar
Boris Avrukh
-
Bu Xianghzi
Alexander Motylev
-
Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Onischuk
-
Loek van Wely
Alexander Grischuk
-
Yannick Pelletier
GamesReport
5th round – Saturday July 28th
Yannick Pelletier
-
Teimour Radjabov
Loek van Wely
-
Alexander Grischuk
Magnus Carlsen
-
Alexander Onischuk
Bu Xianghzi
-
Alexander Motylev
Judit Polgar
-
Boris Avrukh
GamesReport
6th round – Sunday July 29th
Teimour Radjabov
-
Boris Avrukh
Alexander Motylev
-
Judit Polgar
Alexander Onischuk
-
Bu Xianghzi
Alexander Grischuk
-
Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier
-
Loek van Wely
GamesReport
7th round – Tuesday July 31th
Loek van Wely
-
Teimour Radjabov
Magnus Carlsen
-
Yannick Pelletier
Bu Xianghzi
-
Alexander Grischuk
Judit Polgar
-
Alexander Onischuk
Boris Avrukh
-
Alexander Motylev
GamesReport
8th round – Wednesday August 1st
Teimour Radjabov
-
Alexander Motylev
Alexander Onischuk
-
Boris Avrukh
Alexander Grischuk
-
Judit Polgar
Yannick Pelletier
-
Bu Xianghzi
Loek van Wely
-
Magnus Carlsen
GamesReport
9th round – Thursday August 2nd
Magnus Carlsen
-
Teimour Radjabov
Bu Xianghzi
-
Loek van Wely
Judit Polgar
-
Yannick Pelletier
Boris Avrukh
-
Alexander Grischuk
Alexander Motylev
-
Alexander Onischuk
GamesReport

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