Biel 01: Adams early leader

by Alejandro Ramirez
7/20/2015 – Three hard fought games to start the tournament in Biel. The only winner, however, was Michael Adams over David Navara in a long opposite colored bishop endgame. MVL, the defending Champion, was unable to break through Pavel Eljanov's Berlin Defense. Lastly, Wojtaszek definitely let go of a very clear advantage against the always eccentric Richard Rapport and his Chigorin!

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The traditional Biel/Bienne International Chess Festival started on 18. July, the Grandmaster and Master sections began 20. July. Draw offers are forbidden for the first 40 moves and If two (or more) players share first place, the winner will be determined according to the results of a tiebreak played on July 31st (in the morning). 

Round One

Round 01 - July 20, 2015
Adams, Michael 2740 1-0 Navara, David 2724
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733 ½-½ Rapport, Richard 2671
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731 ½-½ Eljanov, Pavel 2723

Round 1 report by Daniel King

A hard fought first round in Biel, though we only had one decisive result. The game between Adams and Navara was the last game to finish, and it was only near the end that the Czech player let go of the draw:

Adams, Michael 1-0 Navara, David
Adams played a great game and obtained a winning endgame with opposite colored bishops and queens, but he was not very precise in a key moment:

Early leader: Mickey Adams

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Adams, Mi"] [Black "Navara, D."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B91"] [WhiteElo "2740"] [BlackElo "2724"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "Q5k1/4bp1p/1q1p2p1/1p2p3/1P2P2P/2P3P1/5PB1/6K1 b - - 0 25"] [PlyCount "62"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 25... Kg7 26. Bf1 {White has obtained a very nice endgame. The pawn on b5 cannot be defended, and Black is not in time to create real counterplay.} Qc7 27. Qe8 Bf6 28. Bxb5 Qxc3 29. Bc6 $1 {Material is still even, but the b-pawn is passed and Black's king is weak, for now b4 is untouchable.} Qf3 (29... Qxb4 30. Bd5 {and the kingside falls, starting with f7.}) 30. Qd7 $1 {Very accurate! } (30. Bd5 Bxh4 31. gxh4 Qg4+ {is nothing more than a perpetual.}) 30... g5 31. hxg5 $2 {Almost ruining the game.} (31. Bd5 gxh4 32. Qxf7+ Kh6 33. Qf8+ Kg6 34. Bf7+ $1 Kg5 35. gxh4+ $1 {This move is surprisingly tricky to find when analyzing quickly.} Kxh4 (35... Kf4 36. Be6 $1 {And this move is VERY tricky to find when analyzing quickly! It is the only winning move!} (36. Qh6+ Kxe4 { doesn't work.}) 36... Kxe4 (36... Qd1+ 37. Kh2 Kxe4 38. Qxf6 {and the game is over.}) 37. Bd5+ Kxd5 38. Qa8+ {skewers the queen.}) 36. Qh6+ Kg4 37. Qh5+ Kf4 38. Qf5#) 31... Bxg5 32. Qxd6 {This endgame is not easy to evaluate. Clearly White is pressing for a win, but making progress is not trivial. Black will have a decent blockade on the darksquares and it is unclear that trading queens is a good or bad thing for Adams.} Qc3 33. Kg2 Qb2 34. Qc5 Qd4 {The computer recommendation, but is the endgame a draw?} 35. Qxd4 exd4 36. f4 Be7 37. b5 Bc5 38. e5 d3 39. Be4 d2 40. Bc2 {Everything has been basically forced since the queen trade up to this point.} f6 (40... h6 {looks more logical to me. I don't think giving White a passed pawn is a good idea.}) 41. exf6+ (41. e6 f5 {simply loses the e-pawn.}) 41... Kxf6 42. Kf3 h5 43. Ke2 Bd6 (43... Bb6 $1 44. Kxd2 Bf2 45. Ke2 Bxg3 46. Kf3 Be1 47. b6 Bb4 48. b7 Bd6 49. f5 {the two passed pawns being so far apart from each other looks dangerous, but I can't imagine any way of making progress for White.}) 44. Ke3 (44. Kxd2 h4 45. gxh4 Bxf4+ {is a dead draw, as White has the wrong bishop for his h-pawn.}) 44... Bc7 $2 (44... Bc5+ 45. Kxd2 Bf2 $11) 45. Bd1 $1 h4 (45... Bb6+ 46. Kxd2 Bf2 47. g4 hxg4 48. Bxg4 {is winning.}) 46. gxh4 Kf5 47. Bc2+ Kg4 48. Ke4 {very importantly, White preserves his f-pawn. Now the rest is easy.} Kxh4 49. Bd1 $1 {Black's king is cut off! A deadly zugzwang.} Bd8 50. Kd5 Kg3 51. f5 Kf4 52. Ke6 Ke4 53. Bc2+ Kd4 54. Kd7 Bb6 55. f6 Kc3 56. Bd1 1-0

First defeat, after a long struggle: Navara

Wojtaszek, Radoslaw ½-½ Rapport, Richard
The only predictable thing about Rapport's openings is that they are completely unpredictable. He chose the Chigorin Defense today, not a common guest in grandmaster games. Wojtaszek, not surprisingly, obtained a crushing position from the opening, but he let his opponent go:

Rapport's chess is as weird as always!

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Wojtaszek, R."] [Black "Rapport, R."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D07"] [WhiteElo "2733"] [BlackElo "2671"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "83"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. cxd5 Qxd5 4. e3 e5 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Nf6 8. c4 Qd6 9. d5 Nb8 10. Ne2 O-O 11. Nc3 Bf5 12. a4 Na6 13. Ba3 Nb4 14. Be2 a5 15. O-O Rfe8 16. Rc1 c5 17. f3 Bd7 18. e4 Nh5 19. Nb5 Qh6 20. Rc3 Nf4 21. g3 Nh3+ 22. Kh1 Rac8 23. Bd3 Qg6 24. Bb1 h5 25. Qe1 Ng5 26. Re3 $2 {Until now Wojtaszek had done an excellent job of beating back Black's attack and obtaining a nice positional advantage. All that was left was to break through.} (26. f4 $1 exf4 (26... Nh7 27. fxe5 Rxe5 28. Bb2 {is really bad for Black.} Rce8 29. Re3 Bh3 30. Bxe5 Rxe5 31. Rf4 {with some compensation, but it should not be enough for a full exchange.}) 27. e5 Bf5 28. Bxf5 Qxf5 29. Nd6 $18 (29. gxf4 $16)) 26... Bxb5 27. axb5 f6 28. f4 Nf7 {Black's blockade gives him a sustainable position.} 29. Qe2 Nd6 30. Bb2 b6 31. h3 Rc7 32. Kh2 Rce7 33. f5 Qh7 34. Rg1 Kf7 35. g4 hxg4 36. Rxg4 Rh8 37. Reg3 Ke8 38. Bc1 Kf8 39. Kg2 Qh5 40. Bd2 Rh7 41. Bc1 Rh8 42. Bd2 1/2-1/2

Wojtaszek definitely missed his chance today

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½ Eljanov, Pavel
An interesting Berlin, in which both players tried to restrict their opponent's pawn advances. Eljanov won a pawn, but did not gain an advantage: MVL's pieces were very well positioned and a draw seemed likely. The Ukrainian even pushed a little too much, but it was always a draw:

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.20"] [Round "1"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Black "Eljanov, P."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2731"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Rd1+ Ke8 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Bg5 Bxg5 12. Nxg5 h6 13. Nge4 g5 $5 { An interesting approach. Black severely wekens the f6 square, but he halts the advance of White's pawns on the kingside. The computer seems to approve of this idea, though computers aren't always the most reliable in the Berlin.} 14. b4 {White takes a similar approach on Black's queenside pawns! However, if this is the best MVL can do, Black should be ok.} a6 15. a4 Ke7 16. a5 Nh4 17. Nc5 Ng6 18. f3 b6 19. Nd3 Bf5 20. Na4 Rhb8 21. Nab2 Rd8 22. Kf2 Rd4 23. Ke3 Rh4 24. h3 Ke6 25. c3 Nxe5 26. Nxe5 Kxe5 {Black managed to pick up the e-pawn, but with an awkward rook on h4 and some problems with his queenside structure there is no way to claim an advantage.} 27. axb6 cxb6 28. Na4 b5 (28... Rb8 $5 29. Nb2 c5 30. Rxa6 cxb4 31. c4 $1 $11) 29. Nc5 Rc4 30. Ra3 Ra7 31. g4 Bg6 32. Nd7+ Ke6 33. Nc5+ Ke5 34. Nd7+ Ke6 35. Nc5+ Ke7 {Playing for a win, but Black doesn't have anything real here.} 36. Rd4 Rxd4 37. Kxd4 Bc2 38. Ra2 Bd1 $6 { this is even over-ambitious.} 39. Ke3 Ra8 40. f4 f6 41. f5 (41. Ra1 $1 gxf4+ 42. Kxf4 Bc2 43. h4 $14) 41... h5 42. Ra1 Ba4 43. Nxa4 bxa4 44. Rxa4 hxg4 45. hxg4 Kd6 {Black has an uncomfortable endgame to defend, but it is still a draw. } 46. Kd4 Rh8 47. Rxa6 Rh4 48. b5 Rxg4+ 49. Kd3 Rg3+ 50. Kc4 Rg4+ 51. Kb3 Kc5 52. Rxc6+ Kxb5 53. Rxf6 Rf4 54. Rf8 g4 55. Rg8 Rxf5 56. Rxg4 1/2-1/2

A solid draw to start the tournament

The grandmasters at work

The strong Master Open is on the right. The hall is empty since most of the events have not started yet

Round One Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Photos by: Marie Boyard, Simon Bohnenblust, Christian Ostermeier and Pascal Simon

Commentary on Playchess

Danny King live in Biel

We will be bringing you interviews, photos, reports and videos from Biel, and of course we will have live commentary on our website,

Day Date Round German English
Tuesday July 21 Round 2 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Wednesday July 22 Round 3 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Thursday July 23 Round 4 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Friday July 24 Round 5 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Saturday July 25 Free    
Sunday July 26 Round 6 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Monday July 27 Round 7 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Tuesday July 28 Round 8 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Wednesday July 29 Round 9 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Thursday July 30 Round 10 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server 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.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register