43rd Biel Chess Festival: Round one

7/20/2010 – The 43rd Biel Chess Festival is underway, and this year's invitational event is a tribute to the growing number of junior talents already breaking into the world elite. The list is a veritable who's who of top juniors, all vying to show that they are the ones most deserving of your admiration. Round one brought in a few surprises. See the report and illustrated introduction.

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From Monday, July 19 to Wednesday, July 28, 2010 the 43rd edition of the annual Biel Chess Festival will take place in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. It is a ten-player round-robin, in which each player has one game against each of the others. The winner of this tournament will be determined after nine rounds. Games start at 14:00h = 2 p.m. local time (CEST, = 16:00 Moscow, 13:00 p.m. London, 8:00 a.m. New York). All games will be broadcast by the official web site's "Live Games" page and on the Playchess.com server.


View of the lake at Biel/Bienne as seen via the official hi-res webcam.

This year's invitational event is a Young Grandmaster Tournament in which ten rising stars from around the world are brought together to pit their skills against each other and show the world what to expect from the next generation. As a sign of our times, these players, all aged from 16 to 23, are all rated over 2600, and two are already members of the exclusive 2700 club. Let us move on to the introductions.

Participants

Biographies from the official news page of the organisers

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

France, 19 yo
Elo: 2723
World ranking:  22

The young Parisian, born the same year as Magnus Carlsen, world no.1, and Sergey Karjakin, began playing when he was five and soon showed his precocity with win in the world Under-8, and Under-14, becoming the 8th youngest Grandmaster in history at the age of 14 years and 4 months. In the Summer of 2007, aged 16 years old and 10 months, he won the French Championships, making him the second youngest French Champion in history. At the age of 19 he is already the top-rated player in France, and closing in on a spot in the world's top 10. In 2009, he not only won the Biel event, but was also crowned World Junior Champion, a heraldic sign in the chess world.


Evgeny Tomashevsky

Russia, 23 yo
Elo:
2708
World ranking:  33

An International Master at 14, and a Grandmaster at 18, this young Russian has made it a habit of pulling off unexpected results.In a country famed for its rich number of talents, Tomaschevsky first distinguished himself in a separate class when at the ripe age of 13, he won the Under-18 Russian Championship followed by a second place in the Under-18 World Junior Championship. In 2009 he re-emerged in the international scene when after eleven rounds he had tied for first in the European Individual Championship with ten other top players. In the fierce tie-break games that followed he showed steel nerves as he emerged victorious and the new champion. He became European team vice-champion in 2009 with Russia and did even better in January 2010 when he won the World team championship in Turkey.

 


Fabiano Caruana

Italy, 17 yo 
Elo:
2697
World ranking:  39

Born in Florida, brought up in New York by an American father and Italian mother, his first forays in chess were in the US and then in Italy where he moved when he was twelve. He began playing under the Italian flag when he was thirteen and became the youngest American and Italian Grandmaster in history at the age of fourteen, 11 months and 20 days. A record for both countries. In 2007 and 2008 he became national champion in Italy, accompanied by several spectacular wins in international events. His 2697 rating is his current personal best.


Wesley So

Philippines, 16 yo
Elo: 2674
World ranking:  60

This prodigy became a master at the age of twelve, and even then, in 2006, began representing his country in the Chess Olympiads. Two years later he became a Grandmaster, and Under-16 World Champion. In spite of his lack of any genuine sponsorship, other than feeble support by his federation, he has continued to accrue one result after another, culminating in the 2009 World Cup, when he made it all the way to the 1/8 finals after beating Guseinov (2625), Ivanchuk (2739) and Kamsky (2695) in succession.


Anish Giri

Netherlands, 16 yo
Elo: 2672
World ranking:  62

Born in 1994, Anish Giri is the youngest wizard of the junior world Top 20 – and in the Top 100 as well, a few months ahead of Wesley So. Anish Giri is chess universality personified. As a polyglot he perfectly masters Russian, English, Dutch and has good knowledge of Japanese, Nepalese and German. Born in Petersburg, he spent the first seven years of his life in Russia before moving to Osaka, Japan, with his parents and two sisters. In 2008, they moved to the Netherlands for whom he has played insatiably: 110 classical games in 2009. According to many experts, his rise is similar to Carlsen's, the current World no.1 (who played four times in the Festival and won it in 2007). His most recent achievements include a victory at the Wijk aan Zee B-tournament (cat. XVI) in January 2010. Anish Giri has gained more than 300 points in three years including over 30 points in the last two months.


Dmitry Andreikin

Russia, 20 yo
Elo: 2650
World ranking:  86

Dmitry Andreikin may not be the best-known player abroad, but his record of achievements commands respect. Current junior world no.9, U-10 World Champion (Spain 1999), the winner of several opens, he clinched the much coveted Junior Russian Champion title in quick succession in 2009 and 2010. Dmitry plays in the Russian team league with Economist Saratov. One of his team-mates is none other that Evgeny Tomashevsky, also playing in Biel. In the autumn of 2009, Saratov achieved a brilliant performance in Macedonia by winning the European Club Cup ahead of 54 teams from 29 different countries.


Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son

Vietnam,  20 yo
Elo: 2617
Junior World ranking: 14

Surname: Nguyen. Middle name: Ngoc Truong. Name: Son, as his close relatives and friends usually call him, is one of the two Vietnamese players to have heralded Vietnam's place in the international chess world. In 2008, playing first board, and Quang Liem Le on second, they brought an unprecedented ninth place for Vietnam at the Chess Olympiads. In February this year, he came third in the prestigious Aeroflot Open, losing only to his compatriot Quang Liem in the last round.


David Howell

England, 19 yo
Elo: 2616
Junior World ranking: 15

David Howell first drew international attention, when in March 2002, at a mere 11 years of age, he held Vladimir Kramnik to a draw in a blitz demonstration, the youngest wonderboy to achieve such a result against a reigning world champion. He stepped it up by becoming the youngest British Grandmaster in history (at 16 years and 1 month) and, last year, the youngest UK Champion in history, at the age of 18. In his first Super GM tournament (cat. XVIII), in London, last December, he brilliantly passed his exam with a 3rd place, only behind Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik.


Parimarjan Negi

India, 17 yo
Elo: 2615
Junior World ranking: 17

In the increasingly young world chess elite, Parimarjan Negi has a claim to almost absolute precocity. He obtained his third and last norm in 2006, at 13 years, 3 months and 22 days, becoming the second-youngest Grandmaster in chess history. In the country of World Champion Viswanathan Anand, Parimarjan Negi was not only the youngest Indian Grandmaster, but also the youngest International Master (at 12). Over these last two years, the big talent from New Dehli (vice-Junior World Champion in 2008) has won five opens: Kauphting (Luxemburg), Philadelphia and the World Open (USA) in 2008; the Politiken Cup (Copenhagen) and the Malaysian Open in 2009.


Maxim Rodhstein

Israel, 21 yo
Elo: 2609

Maxim Rodhstein was born in the ex-Soviet Union, where he first learned chess before emigrating to to Israel when he was 9 (in 1998). He didn't have to wait long to get his first laurels and was the U-14 European vice-champion at 14, then U-16 World Champion in 2004. He was in his best form in November 2009 and contributed to a great extent to the silver medal that Israel won at the Olympiads of Dresde. The youngest representative of the Hebrew state, Maxim Rodhstein finished the event undefeated on board four, with 7.0/9 and a 2776 performance. Without a break, Maxim Rodhstein reached his best world ranking (76, 2650 Elo points) and started working regularly with Boris Gelfand and Armenian Levon Aronian who are full of praise.


Round 1

Round 1: Monday, July 19, 14:00h
Anish Giri 
½-½
 E. Tomashevsky
Dmitry Andreikin 
½-½
 Ngoc Truong Son
David Howell 
0-1
 Wesley So
Vachier-Lagrave 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Maxim Rodshtein 
1-0
 Parimarjan Negi

The first round is always interesting, even if it doesn't necessarily tell who will win. Of course a player can try to steal the show, but beyond that, it helps indicate the form of the participants.

Anish Giri and Evgeny Tomashevsky played a quiet Bogo-Indian which failed to take off and a draw ensued after 28 moves. The same was true of Andreikin and Ngoc Truong Son. The opening was an offbeat 3.Nge2 reply to the Winawer, but it proceeded cautiously and neither player felt like taking unnecessary risks.

British champ David Howell had a very different game against Wesley So, who made no qualms about showing his mood. In a Caro-Kann Exchange, Howell played a more offbeat 5.c3, instead of the usual 5.c4 leading to a Panov Attack. The oddest thing was when 10.Kf1 was played instead of the usual 10.0-0. One is forced to question what transpired.

Howell,D (2616) - So,W (2674) [B13]
YGM Biel SUI (1), 19.07.2010

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3

Howell chooses a rarer line, avoiding the ultra theoretical, not to mention thematic lines of the Panov Attack. He may have hoped to gain an edge by forcing his opponent to think on his own earlier, though it is worth mentioning that others have tried this at this level in the past with less than stellar results. In the 80s, Dzindzidashvili tried it against Karpov, and got egg in his face, and more recently, in 2009, Benjamin tried this against Kamsky, and did no better. 5...Nf6 6.Bf4 Bg4 7.Qb3 Qc8 8.Nd2 e6 9.Ngf3 Be7 10.Kf1?!

This move is close to incomprehensible, and one is forced to wonder whether the player didn't accidentally let go of the piece while intending to castle. Needless to say, the usual move here is 0-0. 10...Bh5 11.Re1 a6 12.Qc2 b5 13.b4 Bg6 14.Bxg6 hxg6 15.Qd3 a5 16.a3 axb4 17.axb4 Qb7 18.Nb3 0-0 19.h4 Ne4 20.Nfd2 Ra3 21.Rb1 Rfa8 22.Kg1 Nd8 23.Rh3 Qc6 24.Na5.

24...R8xa5! A sac that gives excellent play and a passed pawn for the exchange. 25.bxa5 Nxc3 26.Rb3 Ra1+ 27.Nb1 b4 28.Bd2 Na2 29.Re3?? 29.Rb2 was necessary. After 29...Qa4 30.a6 Nc3 31.Bxc3 bxc3 32.Qxc3 Qd1+ 33.Kh2 Bd6+ 34.g3 Qf1 35.Qc2 White is ok. 29...Nc1 30.Bxc1 Qxc1+ 31.Kh2 Nc6 32.g3 Nxa5 0-1 [Click to replay]

The game between last year's winner, Vachier-Lagrave, and American-Italian Caruana was a tense affair with the advantage teetering on one side and then the next. Neither player was able to take it further, and they eventually drew. Rodshtein showed he was not here as cannon fodder, and won a solid game over former prodigy Negi, capitalizing on the latter's errors.

Schedule and results

Round 1: Monday, July 19, 14:00h
Anish Giri 
½-½
 E. Tomashevsky
Dmitry Andreikin 
½-½
 Ngoc Truong Son
David Howell 
0-1
 Wesley So
Vachier-Lagrave 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Maxim Rodshtein 
1-0
 Parimarjan Negi 
Round 2: Tuesday, July 20, 14:00h
E. Tomashevsky 
   Parimarjan Negi
Fabiano Caruana 
   Maxim Rodshtein
Wesley So 
   Vachier-Lagrave
Ngoc Truong Son 
   David Howell
Anish Giri 
   Dmitry Andreikin 
GamesReport
Round 3: Wednesday, July 21, 14:00h
Dmitry Andreikin 
   E. Tomashevsky
David Howell 
   Anish Giri
Vachier-Lagrave 
   Ngoc Truong Son
Maxim Rodshtein 
   Wesley So
Parimarjan Negi 
   Fabiano Caruana 
GamesReport
Round 4: Thursday, July 22, 14:00h
E. Tomashevsky 
   Fabiano Caruana
Wesley So 
   Parimarjan Negi
Ngoc Truong Son 
   Maxim Rodshtein
Anish Giri 
   Vachier-Lagrave
Dmitry Andreikin 
   David Howell 
GamesReport
Round 5: Friday, July 23, 14:00h
David Howell 
   E. Tomashevsky
Vachier-Lagrave 
   Dmitry Andreikin
Maxim Rodshtein 
   Anish Giri
Parimarjan Negi 
   Ngoc Truong Son
Fabiano Caruana 
   Wesley So 
GamesReport
Round 6: Saturday, July 24, 14:00h
E. Tomashevsky 
   Wesley So
Ngoc Truong Son 
   Fabiano Caruana
Anish Giri 
   Parimarjan Negi
Dmitry Andreikin 
   Maxim Rodshtein
David Howell 
   Vachier-Lagrave 
GamesReport
Round 7: Monday, July 26, 14:00h
Vachier-Lagrave 
   E. Tomashevsky
Maxim Rodshtein 
   David Howell
Parimarjan Negi 
   Dmitry Andreikin
Fabiano Caruana 
   Anish Giri
Wesley So 
   Ngoc Truong Son 
GamesReport
Round 8: Tuesday, July 27, 14:00h
E. Tomashevsky 
   Ngoc Truong Son
Anish Giri 
   Wesley So
Dmitry Andreikin 
   Fabiano Caruana
David Howell 
   Parimarjan Negi
Vachier-Lagrave 
   Maxim Rodshtein 
GamesReport
Round 9: Wednesday, July 28, 14:00h
Maxim Rodshtein 
   E. Tomashevsky
Parimarjan Negi 
   Vachier-Lagrave
Fabiano Caruana 
   David Howell
Wesley So 
   Dmitry Andreikin
Ngoc Truong Son 
   Anish Giri 
GamesReport

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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