50th Biel: Round 8 - Harikrishna and Hou out in front

by André Schulz
8/1/2017 – Alexander Morozevich and Hou Yifan both won again, but so did Harikrishna, and so he and Hou will take a half point edge into Wednesday's final round. But Morozevich, Etienne Bacrot and Nico Georgiadis are all withing striking distance.

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50th Biel International Festival

Round 8

After losing yesterday Etienne Bacrot was looking to bounce back with the white pieces against the lagging David Navara. In the Keres attack against the Najdorf Sicilian, with h3, he did not get very far before mass simplifications in the middlegame lead to an opposite-colored-bishops ending. Bacrot played on but never held an advantage.

Hou Yifan took on Rafael Vaganjan with Black. The former world-class player had probably noticed the game Vladimir Kramnik won against Hou in November 2016 in the same line, and decided it was worth a try:


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Hou Yifan has chances to win the tournament | Photo: Pascal Simon

Alexander Morozevich had some ups and downs to cope with in this tournament but is currently on the upswing after his successful attack yesterday against Ruslan Ponomariov. The same cannot be said for Noel Studer. The young Swiss has only been able to score two points and has now lost once more.


The second young Swiss in the field, Nico Georgiadis, is overperforming. Playing White against Peter Leko's Najdorf, he had no reason to go crazy. In the rather tame Fianchetto variation, both players were already satisfied with a draw by repition on the 22nd move.

Ruslan Ponomariov and Pentala Hariskrishna were playing the longest today, in what may prove a critical result in the final calculation.

Hariskrishna vs. Ponomariov

The Ukrainian essayed the Tarrasch variation against the Indian's French. Black was already pushing in the middlegame when Ponomariov decided to sac the exchange for the initiative which netted him a pawn and full equality. But shortly after reaching time control Harikrisha was able to coordinate his pieces and the extra material was felt with full force.


Ponomariov fought in vain for a half point.

Tomorrow Hou and Harikrisha both have White against their closest pursuers, Georgiadis and Bacrot respectively. Morozevich will try his luck with Black against Leko. Once could hardly imagine more exciting final round pairings!



Games and commentary


Commentary by GMs Danny King and Joe Gallagher


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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