Biel Main Open: resounding victory for Shankland

by Albert Silver
8/5/2016 – The last piece of the Biel Chess Festival puzzle was finally completed: the prestigious Main Open. It saw the top spots fought over by dozens of grandmasters and masters hailing from all over the world. The top seed was Russian GM Nikita Vitiugov (2728), but the player in form who dominated it was US grandmaster Sam Shankland, scoring one of the best victories of his career.

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The 49th International Chess Festival Biel is taking place from Saturday, July 23 until Wednesday, August 3 2016. The exact schedule and further information are now published on the official website. Here are the main links:

Sam Shankland first came into visibility during the campaign of the US team during the Tromso Olympiad, where he not only was a top scoring player, but was also enjoying a fantastic run of over 60 games undefeated. In spite of making it into the Top 100 and hovering around there, he had not been able to break past this peak. During the US Championships he said that he remained ambitious for more and optimistic. His victory at Biel, with 7.5/9 and a 2806 performance will rank as one of his best, and helps finally push him closer to the 2700 mark as he gains 18 Elo, and features at 2679 on the Live Ratings list.

Sam Shankland on the road to 2700

In the following game, Shankland faces yet another challegner to the gold: Ivan Saric (2660).

Shankland - Saric

[Event "49th Biel Master Open"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2016.08.01"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Shankland, Samuel L"] [Black "Saric, Ivan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2660"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2016.07.25"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. Nc3 b6 6. e3 O-O 7. Bd3 Bb7 8. O-O a5 (8... Bxc3 9. Bxc3 Ne4 10. Bxe4 Bxe4 11. Nd2 Bb7 12. e4 d6 13. f4 f5 14. exf5 Rxf5 15. Qg4 Qf7 16. Rae1 Nd7 17. Re3 Rf8 18. Qe2 Rxf4 19. Rxf4 Qxf4 20. Rxe6 Nf6 21. d5 Bc8 22. Re7 Bg4 23. Qe1 Rf7 24. h3 Bc8 25. Nf3 Bxh3 26. Bxf6 Qxf6 27. Re8+ Rf8 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Qe3 Bf5 30. Nd4 Bd7 31. b3 h6 32. Ne2 Kf7 33. Nf4 g5 34. Ne2 Qe5 35. Qf3+ Qf5 36. Qe3 Qf6 37. Ng3 Qa1+ 38. Kh2 $17 { 1-0 (54) Kazhgaleyev,M (2582)-Grischuk,A (2747) Almaty 2016}) 9. a3 Bxc3 10. Bxc3 Ne4 11. Be1 f5 12. Nd2 Ng5 13. f4 Nf7 14. e4 Nh6 15. Qe2 d6 16. Nf3 Nd7 17. Bh4 {This Bishop maneuver, culminating in the win, aims to trade off the knight on d6 for the bishop. If this sounds odd, the point is that the dark-squared bishop is confined due to the numerous pawns on its own color making it the 'bad' bishop.} Qe8 18. Rae1 Qh5 19. Bg5 Rae8 20. Bxh6 Qxh6 21. Ng5 Qg6 {[#]} 22. d5 $1 {This move not only cuts off the diagonal for the black bishop, but also attacks and seizes control of the e6 square for the knight.} Nf6 23. exf5 exf5 24. Ne6 Rf7 25. Qc2 Ng4 26. h3 Nh6 27. Nd4 (27. g4 { was a bit better, pressing forward its claim to the f5 pawn.}) 27... Rxe1 28. Rxe1 Rf8 29. Qf2 Bc8 30. Nb5 Qf7 31. Qh4 Re8 32. Nxc7 Rxe1+ 33. Qxe1 Bd7 34. Qe3 g5 35. fxg5 f4 36. Qd4 Bf5 37. gxh6 Bxd3 38. Qxd3 Qxc7 39. Qd4 Qf7 40. Kf2 1-0

Sam Shankland faced one top grandmaster after another and always managed to protect his place under the sun. Here he faces Eltaj Safarli from Azerbaidjan, with whom he drew. Safarli finished in sole second wtih 7.0/9.

Indian Krishna Sasikiran was one of two Indians to finish within the top ten players

GM Saleh Salem scored 6.5/9 with a near 2700 performance

Vladimir Baklan from Ukraine finished with 6.5/9 and in seventh place on tiebreak

Nikita Vitiugov was the top seed with 2728 FIDE but had to content himself with 6.0/9 and a modest eleventh place

 

Biel Master Class Korchnoi summary with Yannick Pelletier and Daniel King

 

A blitz game played on a giant board between Yannick Pelletier and Daniel King

Final standings

Rk
Name
Ti.
Rtg
Fed
Pts
TB
1. Shankland,Samuel L
GM
2661
USA
7.5
48.0
2. Safarli,Eltaj
GM
2678
AZE
7.0
47.5
3. Aravindh,Chithambaram VR
GM
2543
IND
6.5
49.0
4. Bachmann,Axel
GM
2649
PAR
6.5
46.0
5. Salem,A R. Saleh
GM
2608
UAE
6.5
45.5
6. Sasikiran,Krishnan
GM
2639
IND
6.5
45.0
7. Baklan,Vladimir
GM
2618
UKR
6.5
43.5
8. Khairullin,Ildar
GM
2629
RUS
6.5
43.5
9. Saric,Ivan
GM
2660
CRO
6.0
48.0
10. Kovchan,Alexander
GM
2576
UKR
6.0
47.5
11. Vitiugov,Nikita
GM
2728
RUS
6.0
47.0
12. Kraemer,Martin
GM
2567
GER
6.0
43.0
13. Erdos,Viktor
GM
2578
HUN
6.0
43.0
14. Henrichs,Thomas
IM
2471
GER
6.0
43.0
15. Brkic,Ante
GM
2585
CRO
6.0
42.0
16. Meier,Georg
GM
2657
GER
6.0
42.0
17. Edouard,Romain
GM
2639
FRA
6.0
42.0
18. Donchenko,Alexander
GM
2583
GER
6.0
41.0
19. Balogh,Csaba
GM
2635
HUN
6.0
40.5
20. Rodshtein,Maxim
GM
2698
ISR
6.0
39.5
21. Bartel,Mateusz
GM
2649
POL
5.5
46.5
22. Kunin,Vitaly
GM
2592
GER
5.5
46.0
23. Gozzoli,Yannick
GM
2571
FRA
5.5
44.5
24. Bellahcene,Bilel
IM
2498
FRA
5.5
44.5
25. Karthikeyan,Murali
GM
2513
IND
5.5
43.0

Click for complete standings

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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geraldsky geraldsky 8/10/2016 05:36
Showblitz is an exercise for both mind and body
Maturner Maturner 8/7/2016 06:44
Sam has been on a hot streak lately. He won a tournament in Canada not long ago. US Olympic team is going to be stronger than ever.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 8/6/2016 05:55
Took a class with Shankland recently. The dude is intense. A calculating machine. He's wrapped a bit tight, but that may be what it takes.
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