50th Biel: Round 5 - Hou Yifan chases Bacrot

by Johannes Fischer
7/28/2017 – Etienne Bacrot has had a convincing performance in Biel. In round 5, he won with Black against the Swiss IM Noel Studer and is now at the top of the field with 4.0 / 5. A half point behind is Hou Yifan, who won with White against David Navara. Alexander Morozevich, who overpowered Rafael Vaganian in yet another French, was the third winner of the round. | Photos: Pascal Simon

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50th Biel International Festival

Round 5

Today saw Etienne Bacrot win a convincing game against Noel Studer. In a Catalan, Bacrot took over the initiative soon after the opening. In the search for activity, Studer gave his opponent a strong passed d-pawn. Objectively that decision was all right in the moment but it later came back to bite him. He soon also needed to worry about the vulnerable position of his king! On the 30th move Black won a pawn and gained an overwhelming position. Studer resigned on move 46.

Hou Yifan also turned in a strong performance, defeating David Navara in an unusual Najdorf Sicilian. The main actor in this play was the White's queen's bishop, who flitted from c1 to e3, then to g5 back to c1 and then to b2. From there he silently attacked the black pawn center, whose apparent strength was fleeting. Hou resolutely demonstrated just how weak it was with a series of energetic moves. The increasing pressure on Navara's e- and d-pawns forced him to give up his a-pawn, which proved costly, as Yifan ran her own flank pawn right up the board. Navara tried to fish for a mistake, but Yifan served up only a tactically precise game.


Hou Yifan

Alexander Morozevich crossed swords with Rafael Vaganian only to emerge with an easy victory. Vaganian played the French once again, but like in round 2, he never reached even equality. As early as the 17th move, he lost a pawn, and his position became worse and worse. On the move 28 Morozevich also won the exchange and after just 43 moves it was all she wrote for the Armenian.

Alexander Morozevich

Peter Leko had strong winning chances against Pentala Harikrishna after a solid opening and guileful middlegame maneuvers. But, Leko misjudged his chances after a queen trade and let the advantage slip out of his hands. Harikrishna was able to save himself a half point by simplifying into a knight ending which White could not win.

Nico Giorgadis and Ruslan Ponomariov played an unspectacular draw. In an Accelerated Dragon Sicilian the duo followed 15 moves of well-trodded theoretical terrain. The rest of the game was fairly staid and the players found a move repetition before move 30.

Results of round 5

Br. Title Name Fed. Elo Res. Title Name Fed. Elo
1 IM Nico Georgiadis
2496 ½ - ½ GM Ruslan Ponomariov
2 GM Alexander Morozevich
2675 1 - 0 GM Rafael A Vaganian
3 IM Noel Studer
2493 0 - 1 GM Etienne Bacrot
4 GM Peter Leko
2678 ½ - ½ GM Pentala Harikrishna
5 GM Hou Yifan
2666 1 - 0 GM David Navara

All games from rounds 1 to 5



Rk. Title Name Fed. Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts. Perf. Wtg.
1 GM Etienne Bacrot
2715     ½ ½   1     1 1 4.0 / 5 2825  
2 GM Hou Yifan
2666     ½     1 ½ 1   ½ 3.5 / 5 2803  
3 GM Ruslan Ponomariov
2699 ½ ½   ½     1   ½   3.0 / 5 2694 7.75
4 IM Nico Georgiadis
2496 ½   ½   ½     ½ 1   3.0 / 5 2760 7.00
5 GM Pentala Harikrishna
2737       ½   ½ ½   ½ 1 3.0 / 5 2652 5.25
6 GM Alexander Morozevich
2675 0 0     ½     1 1   2.5 / 5 2683  
7 GM Peter Leko
2678   ½ 0   ½     0   1 2.0 / 5 2596 4.25
8 GM David Navara
2737   0   ½   0 1     ½ 2.0 / 5 2532 4.00
9 GM Rafael A Vaganian
2562 0   ½ 0 ½ 0         1.0 / 5 2424 3.00
10 IM Noel Studer
2493 0 ½     0   0 ½     1.0 / 5 2466 2.75

Live commentary by GMs Danny King and Joe Gallagher

All Photos: Pascal Simon



Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 7/29/2017 09:48
@ RayLopez : No, and very far from it. Hou Yifan is presently 2666 (2661 live), her best rating being 2686 (in March 2015), this while being n° 82 in the World Rankings (n° 87 live), her best ranking being n° 59 (also in March 2015). (And, by the way, for the moment, she isn't making any progress in terms of ratings and rankings.)

Judit Polgar was once (in July 2005) 2735 and n° 8 (!!) in the World Rankings, so Hou Yifan is still quite far from Polgar's results (even Polgar's last rating was 2675 - above Hou Yifan's present rating).

I follow Hou Yifan with much interest, but I think that, for the moment, it is much too soon to compare her present results to Polgar's best achievements. Perhaps she will be there some time or other, but she certainly isn't at this level now...
oldsalt7 oldsalt7 7/29/2017 08:34
Judith will still defeat Hou in a Blitz marathon.
RayLopez RayLopez 7/29/2017 06:57
Woo-HOU! Has she passed Polgar in all-time Elo?
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 7/29/2017 01:50
Go Hou!
Aighearach Aighearach 7/28/2017 10:31
This might be the tournament where Hou Yifan passes both Leko and Morozevich in rating!