How Sutovsky won the Biel Masters 2015

8/25/2015 – The main focus of the Biel Chess festival was on the Grandmaster tournament, won by GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. But this was not the only strong chess event held. The Master tournament which had 78 participants, 26 of whom were grandmasters, was won by GM Emil Sutovsky with 8.0/11. An illustrated report with pictures, interview with the winner and deep annotations by the runner-up.

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by Dorsa Derakhshani

Strong Indian grandmaster and defending champion B. Adhiban welcomes you to Biel

Biel-Bienne city lies on the boundary of French and German speaking Switzerland. It is as expensive
and as magically green and blue as all other Swiss cities.

Captured in a train from Geneva to Biel… I just couldn’t stop myself!

A very beautiful river cutting through the middle of the town all over to the amazing lake is what makes this city so fascinating.

Russian GM Alexander Raetsky has participated in Biel MTO more than 20 times!

The amazing Biel lake

Russian born GM Alexander Donchenko with his father IM Anatoly Donchenko,
both of them participating in Biel MTO for the sixth time. Alexander’s mother is
also a chess player! They moved to Germany when Alexander was four years
old. He learned chess from his grandmother though.

The fantastic four! (left to right): GM Adhiban, WFM Cecile Haussernot who
achieved a WIM norm here, new GMs Alexander Donchenko (fifth on rating
list on Under 18) , and Denis Wagner (fourth on the rating list under 18)

In front of a beautiful church. Look closely to see Donchenko punching Bok!

The Turkish players at the lake front. From left to right : GM Emre Can , GM Mustafa Yilmaz ,
GM Dragan Solak (winner of this year’s Dubai open) and GM Baris Esen.

Talented Polish Grandmaster Kamil Dragun in the center of town near the tournament poster

The Biel Masters Open was held simultaneously with the GM tournament from the 18th to 31st of July 2015. It was an eleven-round Swiss event.

The Palais des Congrès (convention center) was the playing venue

A nice setting - the grandmasters tournament on the dais and other events below with seats for the viewers

Alexander Moiseenko was the top seed and the only player above 2700
in the tournament but finished thirteenth with a score of 7.0/11

The top three finishers of the tournament: Emil Sutovsky (first), B. Adhiban (second)
and Tigran Gharamian (third)

Emil Sutovsky started as the ninth seed in the event. He played a very
solid tournament with five wins and six draws. His scalps included strong
players like Baris Esen, Mateusz Bartel and the eventual runner-up B.Adhiban.

Sutovsky’s favourite game from the tournament was his eighth round win against Bartel. After the tournament I was able to ask Emil a few questions about this game. His insightful answers give us an idea of what’s going on in the mind of one of the best attacking players of our generation.

Here are the first few moves of the game:

[Event "48th Biel Master Open"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.28"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Sutovsky, Emil"] [Black "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Result "*"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2619"] [BlackElo "2631"] [PlyCount "25"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. c3 O-O 7. d4 Ba7 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 exd4 10. cxd4 d6 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Nbd2 g5 13. Nxg5 *

DD: In the above position you went in for the typical Sutovsky unclear sacrifice. Did you calculate the lines until the end or you played more on your feel for the position?

ES: Well, I couldn't calculate it all when I first saw the position, and played it partly relying on my intuition and experience with these kind of sacrifices. However, the first time I saw this position was several years ago, when I got it in the game against GM Alexander Onischuk (Poikovsky 2010). And I was very surprised when Mateusz opted for the same line. Of course, I didn't remember the exact lines here, and it was possible that he prepared an improvement on that game, but I still dared to sacrifice the knight!

It has to be said, that I didn't expect this particular line to occur in the game against Bartel, and it was sort of a tough psychological decision.

[Event "48th Biel Master Open"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.28"] [Round "8"] [White "Sutovsky, Emil"] [Black "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Result "*"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2619"] [BlackElo "2631"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1bq1rk1/b1p2p2/p1pp1n1p/6N1/3PP2B/8/PP1N1PPP/R2Q1RK1 b - - 0 13"] [PlyCount "20"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 13... hxg5 14. Bxg5 Bxd4 15. Nf3 Bxb2 16. Rb1 Qd7 17. Rxb2 Nxe4 18. Bh6 Re8 19. Nd4 c5 20. f3 Nf6 21. Ne2 Qf5 22. g4 Qg6 23. Bc1 *

DD: And here you moved your bishop all the way back to c1. Wasn’t Bf4 or Qc1 more natural?

ES: Well, it was all the part of a long plan, starting several moves earlier: Nf3-d4-e2 (and later e2-f4) - so it is not about the move Bc1 alone. If there is a reason to be proud of this game, then it'd be rather about this plan, rather than some tactical shots, that were not exceptionally complex.

[Event "48th Biel Master Open"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.28"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Sutovsky, Emil"] [Black "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2619"] [BlackElo "2631"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b1r1k1/2p2p2/p2p1nq1/2p5/6P1/5P2/PR2N2P/2BQ1RK1 b - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "22"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 23... Bd7 24. Nf4 Qh7 25. Rg2 Bb5 26. g5 Bxf1 27. Kxf1 Nd7 28. g6 fxg6 29. Qd5+ Kg7 30. Qf5 Ne5 31. Bb2 Kh6 32. Qg5+ Kg7 33. Nxg6 Qh6 34. Qf5 1-0

DD: It truly is a wonderful game!

ES: I liked it too, but in the "game of the month" contest it would hardly be able to compete with Navara's king's voyage to h8 or Wei Yi's combination against Bruzon!

It’s not a pleasant feeling to lose a beautiful tactical game against Sutovsky

(Ed: We have an in-depth interview with Emil Sutovsky waiting for you which will be published in a day where Emil answers a lot of questions such as whether he is a modern day Tal, did music influence his style of chess, his deep preparation in the Grunfeld Defence and of course his role as the ACP President.)

The runner-up of the event B.Adhiban

Fresh from his success at the Benasque open, Adhiban came here as the defending champion. He started off well and was on 5.0/6. But a seventh round loss to Daniel Fridman followed by a loss to Sutovsky in the ninth dealt a flow to his successful championship defense. In spite of the two losses he scored 8.0/11 and finished with the same score as the winner. The most impressive thing about Adhiban was his performance with the black pieces – 5.0/5! With wins against Nezad (2405), Cherniaev (2483), Wagner (2569), Yilmaz (2582) and Fier (2628).

After winning the Benasque Open, Adhiban sent us a beautifully commented game. The readers are in for a treat as Adhiban has once again sent us an annotated game with the words, “Sending my favourite game from Biel with my trademark attacking style!”

[Event "Biel Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.07.25"] [Round "6"] [White "Fier, Alexander"] [Black "Adhiban, B."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E73"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2627"] [Annotator "Adhiban"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] {This year's edition of Biel was also well organized. I was pretty optimistic about defending my title but two losses proved to be costly, but the seven wins managed to avert a disaster and turned the tournament into a memorable finish!} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5 Na6 7. f4 c6 8. Qd2 b5 $5 {Introduced way back in 1994, but never really caught on!} (8... d5 $5 {was the spectacular display in Potkin-Svidler 2011, I wanted to try something in similar fashion and spirit!}) 9. cxb5 cxb5 10. Bxb5 Rb8 11. a4 d5 $5 {Attacking the centre before white can coordinate his forces.} 12. e5 (12. exd5 Nxd5 $44 {and due to White's lack of development Black has sufficient compensation.}) 12... Ne4 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Ne2 Nc7 15. Bc4 (15. Bc6 f6 16. exf6 exf6 17. Bh4 Nd5 $15 {Black has very strong compensation for the pawn.}) 15... Nd5 16. Nc3 (16. Bxd5 Qxd5 17. Nc3 Qd7 $1 18. O-O f6 {Again Black has sufficient compensation for the pawn. One sample line would be} 19. Bh4 fxe5 20. fxe5 Rxf1+ 21. Rxf1 Bxe5 22. Bf2 Bg7 $36 {and the presence of the two bishops and slightly vulnerable light squares gives black better practical chances.}) (16. O-O e3 17. Qc1 Bg4 {with strong compensation for the pawn.}) 16... Nb4 $6 {This felt like the way, to follow it up with Nd3 but it was a mistake.} (16... e3 $1 {was the best.} 17. Qe2 h6 18. Bxd5 (18. Nxd5 hxg5 19. fxg5 Be6 20. Nxe3 Qxd4) 18... hxg5 19. Qxe3 (19. fxg5 e6 $1 {and black is even better.}) 19... gxf4 20. Qxf4 Ba6 $1 {Preventing kingside castling and white king doesn't have a safe haven anymore!} 21. O-O-O {Why don't I castle queenside?} Qa5 $17 {Sorry your highness, but you aren't safe here also!}) 17. Nxe4 $6 {This was a pleasant surprise!} (17. O-O {I was quite concerned abt this.} Nd3 18. Bxd3 (18. Qe3 $1 {This strong move wasn't so obvious during the game!} Nxb2 19. Ba2 $16 {and White will be a healthy pawn up after e4 falls.}) 18... Qxd4+ 19. Qf2 $1 (19. Kh1 Qxd3 20. Qxd3 exd3 21. Bxe7 Re8 22. Ba3 f6 $1 $15 {Black is doing fine.}) 19... Qxd3 (19... Qxf2+ 20. Rxf2 exd3 21. Bxe7 Re8 22. Bd6 $16 {The b2 pawn is protected this is the key difference of Qf2 over other moves.}) 20. Rfd1 e3 21. Qg3 Qc4 22. Bxe7 Rxb2 $1 {Otherwise White is better.} 23. Bxf8 Bxf8 24. Nd5 e2 25. Nf6+ Kh8 26. Rd8 Qb4 27. Rxf8+ Qxf8 28. Qc3 Ra2 $1 29. Re1 Qd8 {with a probable draw.}) 17... Bf5 18. Ng3 (18. Nd6 Qc7 $1 19. Nxf5 Qxc4 20. Nxe7+ Kh8 21. Qc3 Nd3+ $1 22. Kf1 Qa6 $44 {with a continuous attack.}) 18... Nc2+ 19. Kf2 Be6 $1 {A cool intermezzo before taking the rook.} (19... Nxa1 20. Nxf5 gxf5 21. Rxa1 {and White is clearly better here since the g7-bishop will find it hard to break White's pawn chain.} Kh8 22. Rd1 f6 23. Bh4 fxe5 24. fxe5 $16) (19... Qxd4+ 20. Qxd4 Nxd4 21. Rhd1 Rxb2+ 22. Kg1 $16) 20. Bxe7 (20. Bxe6 Nxa1 {I realised that Na1 was just simple and strong.} ({My first intention was} 20... fxe6 $5 {which looks stunning but wasn't sure if it was enough.} 21. Rac1 $1 (21. Qxc2 Qxd4+ 22. Kf3 Rxb2 23. Rad1 (23. Qe4 Rb3+ 24. Kg4 Rxg3+) (23. Rhd1 Qxe5 24. Qc4 Qxg5 25. Rd8) 23... Qxe5 24. Qc4 Qxg5 25. Rd8 $1 {The only move without which white would be just lost.} Qf6 (25... Rb3+ $5 {leads to a draw after} 26. Kf2) 26. Rxf8+ Bxf8 27. Re1 Bh6 28. Qxe6+ Qf7 $15 {and due to the superiority of the bishop over the knight, White is on the defensive.}) (21. Ne2 Nxa1 22. Rxa1 h6 23. Bh4 Bxe5 $17 {with a double pin!}) 21... Nxd4 22. Rhd1 Bxe5 23. Kg1 {and White is quite safe here.}) 21. Rxa1 (21. Bc4 Nb3 $17) 21... fxe6 22. Kg1 h6 {Not sure if the following line is required.} (22... Qd7 {was possibly good enough.}) 23. Bh4 g5 24. fxg5 Bxe5 {It looked like Black is fine.}) 20... Qxe7 21. Qxc2 Qh4 $1 {An important move which had to be foreseen before and without which Black's compensation would be insufficient.} 22. Ke3 (22. Rhd1 Qxf4+ 23. Kg1 Bxc4 24. Qxc4 Bxe5 $17) 22... g5 $1 {Increasing the intensity and the king hunt begins!} 23. Ne2 gxf4+ 24. Nxf4 Bh6 {Activating all my forces in style!} 25. Raf1 (25. Rhf1 Qxh2 26. Rf3 Bxc4 27. Qxc4 Qxg2 $19) 25... Bxc4 26. Qxc4 Rfc8 $1 { Bringing the last reserve and restoring the material balance is not really important where you are going for the king!} (26... Rxb2 {was my original intention but it felt like the game continuation was even stronger.} 27. g3 Qg4 $17 {was also decent enough.}) 27. Qd3 Rxb2 28. g3 Qg4 29. Rf2 (29. Rf3 Rbc2 $1 30. h3 Qd7 31. Qb5 R2c3+ $1 ({Funnily it just takes only one natural move for Black to lose his advantage.} 31... R8c3+ 32. Ke4 $1 $16 {and white king stands tall in the centre of the board.}) 32. Ke4 f5+ 33. exf6 Re8+ $19 {with a brutal finish.}) 29... Bxf4+ $6 (29... Rcb8 $1 {with similar ideas to the game and was the right way to conclude the game!} 30. Rxb2 Bxf4+ 31. gxf4 Qh3+ $1) 30. gxf4 $2 {The final error after which White is lost.} (30. Rxf4 $1 Qe6 31. Rb1 $1 {I understimated this when I played Bf4+.} Rxh2 32. Rh4 $1 Rxh4 33. gxh4 Qh3+ 34. Ke2 {and White has equalised.}) 30... Rcb8 $1 {This was the winning idea!} 31. Qf1 (31. Rxb2 Qh3+ $1 {The key point!} 32. Ke4 (32. Kd2 Rxb2+) 32... f5+ $1 33. Kd5 Rd8+ 34. Kc4 Rc8+ $19) (31. h3 Qg3+ 32. Rf3 Qg2 { with the devastating Rb3 next.}) 31... R8b3+ (31... R2b3+ 32. Kd2 Qf5 $19 { should also win but wasn't needed.}) 32. Ke4 Qg6+ 33. f5 (33. Kd5 Qe6+ 34. Ke4 f5# {with a nice mate.}) 33... Qc6+ 34. Kf4 Rxf2+ {Here my opponent immediately played Rg1+ which sent a chill down my spine! Since I thought maybe I had missed something, but it lasted only for a second and then my opponent realised what he had done and immediately resigned!} (34... Rxf2+ 35. Qxf2 Qxh1 36. e6 fxe6 37. fxe6 Qd5 {wins.}) 0-1

On the receiving end of a brilliant attack – Alexander Fier

Final standings after eleven rounds

Complete standings of 78 players

Official website


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Phillidor Phillidor 8/25/2015 08:45
Adhiban is clearly in Bolt mode.
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