49th Biel Festival starts with rapid action

by Albert Silver
7/24/2016 – The 49th International Chess Festival Biel has just started and will go from Saturday, July 23 until Wednesday, August 3 2016. Of great interest is the Masters Challenge, an eight-game Rapid and Classical match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, currently World number two, and Peter Svidler, number 14. Here is the illustrated report with video and games.

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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:

All photos by Pascal Simon


Beatrice Simon opens the festival

Friends and rivals MVL with the ever jovial Svidler

The organizers and participants of the Master Challenge (MVL and Peter Svidler) as well as the Juniors
Challenge (Benjamin Bok, Francesco Rambaldi, Nico Georgiadis, and Noel Studer)

ChessBase author, GM Daniel King is on-site to provide live commentary on video that is being
streamed directly through YouTube as well as PlayChess


IM Nico Giorgiadis gave a simul to local business men and politicians

Although it was a rout for the young master, his opponents clearly enjoyed the game

Chess 960

There was also a Chess 960 tournament, which drew amateurs and grandmasters alike

It is always a fun challenge to see opening theory thrown out the window from move one, hence the
popularity of the format.

It came down to Vitaly Kunin (left) and top-seed Ivan Saric, in which Kunin took gold with this key win

Masters Challenge

The Masters Challenge is an eight-game match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, currently World number two on the Live Rating list, against Peter Svidler, number 14. On the Rapid Chess lists they are number 6 and 29 respectively. The first four games in Biel, on Sunday, are rapid chess, then four games of classical chess. On Saturday, July 30, the two will participate in a Blitz tournament with all the challengers.

The rapid games were all one could hope for. Three decisive results out of four games!

Although Peter Svidler lost the first game, he struck back in game two to level the score

Round three saw Maxime win yet again to take the rapid phase of their
match. Remarkably all three wins were with black!

Select games from the list below the board

Juniors Challenge

Parallel to the Masters Challenge is the Juniors Challenge, following a similar format. Four talented juniors play each other in a rapid and classical chess event. The players are Benjamin Bok, Francesco Rambaldi, Nico Georgiadis, and Noel Studer. On the first day they played four rapid games among themselves, and on the next six days, in a double round-robin they will face each other in classical chess.

Benjamin Bok and Nico Giorgadzi begin the Juniors Challenge

Francesco Rombaldi takes on Noel Studer

Benjamin Bok was the only undefeated player in the Rapid phase,
finishing on plus one

Replay all games

Select games from the list below the board

The Master Tournament (MTO) will be played over nine rounds this year. You can find information on the other sections by clicking the links above. In it you will also find a wide swath of grandmasters and masters.

Video coverage

There will be full live coverage of the Biel Chess Festival 2016. You can watch Daniel King comment on the games, replaying the broadcasts of rounds that are over, or the ones that are running on the Google live stream.


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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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