Biel 01: Happy Birthday, Judit Polgar – and great game!

7/23/2007 – The Grandmaster Group of the 40th annual Biel Chess Festival started with a spectacular black win for Judit Polgar, who was also celebrating her 31st birthday, over Loek van Wely. Magnus Carlsen was the second successful player, in a marathon game with white against China's Bu Xiangi. The other three games were drawn, mostly after interesting fights.

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The participants of the Grandmaster Group (from left): Alexander Onischuk, Alexander Motylev, Anatoly Karpov (special guest), Teimour Radjabov, Judit Polgar, Alexander Grischuk, Boris Avrukh, Loek van Wely, Mangnus Carlsen, Bu Xianghzi, and Yannick Pelletier.

The 40th Biel Chess Festival is taking place from July 21st to August 3rd, 2007. The Grandmaster group starts on Monday July 23rd. The participants are:

Teimour Radjabov AZE 2746
Alexander Grischuk RUS 2726
Magnus Carlsen NOR 2710
Judit Polgar HUN 2707
Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2685
Loek van Wely NED 2680
Alexander Onischuk USA 2650
Alexander Motylev RUS 2648
Boris Avrukh ISR 2645
Yannick Pelletier SUI 2591

Parallel to the GM group there are a number of other events, including the BrainStore Master Tournament with a number of very strong players, e.g. (to list just those above 2500):

GM Bartosz Socko 2660
GM Michael Roiz 2630
GM Christian Bauer 2626
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 2613
GM Nikita Vitiugov 2608
GM Vitali Golod 2589
GM Maxim Rodshtein 2586
GM Leonid Kritz 2571
GM Mladen Palac 2570
GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki 2563
GM Sergei Shipov 2559
IM Georg Meier 2546
GM Misho Cebalo 2533
IM Sebastien Mazé 2530
GM Ognjen Cvitan 2529
GM Parimarjan Negi 2529
GM Florian Jenni 2527
GM Marat Makarov 2518
GM Mikhail Ulibin 2514
GM Vitaly Tseshkovsky 2513

Biel is located in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, on the north eastern shore of Lake Biel. It is a thoroughly bilingual town – called Biel in German, Bienne in French. Since 2005 the official name is "Biel/Bienne". About two thirds of the population of 52,000 speak German, one third French.

Round one report: wins for Polgar and Carlsen

1st round – Monday July 23rd
Alexander Onischuk
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Alexander Motylev
Yannick Pelletier
½-½
Boris Avrukh
Loek van Wely
0-1
Judit Polgar
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Bu Xianghzi
GamesReport

Judit Polgar has already long since shattered the old tradition, that women could not compete at chess with the best male players. Another tradition of the game is that players tend to do badly when playing on their birthday, but today she disposed of that one too, opening her account on the day she celebrated her 31st birthday.


Loek van Wely congratulates Judit Polgar before the start of their game

With the 4...Ba6 Queen's Indian currently under some pressure after 5.Qc2, many players are switching to the older 4...Bb7 lines, as Polgar did today. Van Wely chose the 7.d5 gambit, but against Polgar's slightly unusual response, he regained his pawn only at the cost of ceding the initiative. With Black exerting some uncomfortable pressure, he sacrificed the a-pawn to activate his rook, but never achieved any compensation, and Polgar's technique did the rest.

Van Wely,L (2680) - Polgar,Ju (2707) [E17]
GM Biel SUI (1), 23.07.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0–0 0–0 7.d5 Na6 8.Nd4 exd5 9.Nc3 c6 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Nf5 Bf6 13.Bxd5 Bc6 14.Qb3 Nc5 15.Qf3 Bxd5 16.Qxd5 Qe8 17.Qf3 Qe6 18.Ne3 Ne4 19.Rd1 Rac8 20.Nd5 Rc2 21.Nxf6+ Nxf6 22.Rd2 Rc5 23.Rd4 Re8 24.Be3 Rf5 25.Qb7 Re5 26.Qf3 h5

27.Rad1 Qxa2 28.R4d2 Qa4 29.h3 Qb5 30.Bd4 Rf5 31.Qb7 Rxe2 32.Bxf6 gxf6 33.Qc8+ Kg7 34.Rxd7

34...Rfxf2 35.Rxf7+ Kxf7 36.Rd7+ Re7 37.Rxe7+ Kxe7 38.Qb7+ Ke6 39.Qe4+ Qe5 40.Qc6+ Kf5 0–1. [Click to replay].


Magnus Carlsen joined the birthday girl in the lead, by winning the longest game of the day. Having converted the small advantage of the bishop pair into an extra pawn in an opposite-coloured bishop ending, he ground down Bu Xianghzi in a marathon effort. To those who are wondering how he managed to win the position, I can only point out a little-known postulate of endgames, namely Giddins' Rule. This states that in opposite-coloured bishop endings, it is always better to have the light-squared bishop. If you don't believe me, check your database – the light-squared bishop wins in a ratio of at least 3:1!

Carlsen,M (2710) - Bu Xiangzhi (2685) [D94]
GM Biel SUI (1), 23.07.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Be2 0–0 7.0–0 a6 8.b3 Ne4 9.Bb2 Nxc3 10.Bxc3 Bg4 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 e6 13.Qd2 Re8 14.Ba5 Qe7 15.Rac1 Nd7 16.Qb4 Qxb4 17.Bxb4 a5 18.Bd2 dxc4 19.bxc4 e5 20.d5 e4 21.Be2 Red8 22.Rfd1 cxd5 23.cxd5 Nf6 24.Be1 Nxd5 25.Rc5 Nb4

26.Rxa5 Nc2 27.Bd2 Rxa5 28.Bxa5 Ra8 29.Rd5 Bf8 30.Bd1 Nb4 31.Bxb4 Bxb4 32.Bb3 b6 33.Rd7 Rf8 34.g4 g5 35.Rb7 Bc5 36.Bd5 Kg7 37.Kf1 h6 38.Ke2 Kf6 39.a4 Kg7 40.Rc7 Bb4 41.Bxe4 Rd8 42.Bd3 Kf8 43.Rb7 Rd6 44.Bc4 Rf6 45.Bd5 Be7 46.f3 Bb4 47.Kd3 Be1 48.Ke4 Bg3 49.Bc4 Be1 50.f4 gxf4 51.exf4 Bg3 52.f5 Be1 53.Bd5 Kg7 54.Kd4

54...h5 55.Kc4 hxg4 56.hxg4 Bf2 57.Be6 Be3 58.Kd5 Kf8 59.Ke5 Kg7 60.Ke4 Bd2 61.Kd3 Bf4 62.Kc4 Kf8 63.Bd5 Be3 64.Kb5 Kg7 65.Be6 Kf8 66.Bc4 Bf2 67.Bd5 Kg7 68.Bc6 Kh6 69.Rxb6 Kg5 70.a5 Rd6 71.Rb7 Kxg4 72.Rxf7 Kg5 73.Rd7 Rh6 74.Be4 Rh8 75.a6 Rb8+ 76.Kc4 Kf4 77.Re7 Rc8+ 78.Kd3 Rd8+ 79.Ke2 Bd4 80.Bd3 Bc5 81.Re6 Rh8 82.f6 Rh2+ 83.Kd1 Rh6

 84.f7 1–0. [Click to replay].


Onischuk-Radjabov saw an interesting King's Indian battle. Onischuk obtained reasonable compensation for the exchange, and gradually outplayed his opponent. By move 35, it looked as though White was winning, but Radjabov found a way to achieve counterplay against the weakened enemy king, and in the end, Onischuk had to settle for perpetual check.

Onischuk,Al (2650) - Radjabov,T (2746) [E62]
GM Biel SUI (1), 23.07.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.g3 0–0 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Nd7 10.e3 e5 11.d5 Ne7 12.e4 f5 13.Bg2 a5 14.exf5 gxf5 15.f4 e4 16.Be3 Nc5 17.Qe2 Nd3 18.Rfd1 a4

19.Rxd3 exd3 20.Qxd3 Qd7 21.Re1 Rae8 22.Bf2 Ng6 23.Re6 Kh8 24.Rxe8 Rxe8 25.Qc2 Ra8 26.Nb5 Kg8 27.Nd4 Bxd4 28.Bxd4 b6 29.Bf3 Re8 30.Kg2 Kf7 31.Bc3 Ke7 32.Bd1 a3 33.bxa3 Kd8 34.a4 Kc8 35.Bf3 Kb7 36.a5 Qe7 37.axb6

37...Nxf4+ 38.gxf4 Qe3 39.bxc7 Rg8+ 40.Bg4 fxg4 41.Qb3+ Ka7 42.Qa4+ Kb7 43.Qb5+ Ka7 44.Qa4+ Kb7 45.Qc6+ Ka7 46.Qa4+ ½–½. [Click to replay].


Pelletier chose a quiet anti-Grunfeld system, that used to be a favourite of the late and great Paul Keres. Despite this pedigree, he achieved no advantage, and the game was quietly drawn in 26 moves.

Pelletier,Y (2591) - Avrukh,B (2645) [D94]
GM Biel SUI (1), 23.07.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.e3 0–0 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Bc4 Nb6 8.Bb3 c5 9.0–0 cxd4 10.exd4 Bg4 11.d5 N8d7 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Rc8 14.Bg5 Ne5 15.Qe2 Re8 16.Rac1 Qd7 17.Rfe1 h6 18.Bh4 Nec4 19.Na4 Nxa4 20.Rxc4 Nc5 21.Bxe7 Nxb3 22.axb3 Qxd5 23.Rd1 Qb5 24.Qc2 Rxc4 25.bxc4 Qe5 26.Ba3 h5 ½–½. [Click to replay].


Grischuk had a very narrow escape against Motylev. Presumably not wishing to reveal his preparation for Mexico, Grischuk opened 1 d4, but followed up his interesting pawn sacrifice with the blunder 19 Ra3? (19 Rb1 offers compensation), presumably missing the fact that Black's reply forced an exchange of queens. He then fought desperately, and after Motylev decided to bail out into an ending with several pawns against a knight, White managed to hold the draw.

Grischuk,A (2726) - Motylev,A (2648) [D18]
GM Biel SUI (1), 23.07.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0–0 0–0 9.h3 h6 10.Qe2 Bh7 11.Rd1 Nbd7 12.Bd3 Qe7 13.e4 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.f4 Qa5 17.e5 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3

19.Ra3? Bxd3 20.Qxd3 Qxd3 21.Raxd3 Nd5 22.f5 Rfe8 23.Rg3 Rxe5 24.Bb2 Rxf5 25.Rxg7+ Kf8 26.Rh7 Ke7 27.g4 Rg8 28.Re1+ Kd7 29.Rf1 Rxf1+ 30.Kxf1 Ke6 31.Rxh6+ Rg6 32.Rh8 Ne3+ 33.Ke1 Kd5 34.Bc1

34...Nxg4 35.hxg4 Rxg4 36.a5 b6 37.Ra8 Re4+ 38.Kd2 Re7 39.axb6 axb6 40.Rb8 b5 41.Kd3  ½–½. [Click to replay].

Commentary by Steve Giddins

Portrait of a Lady: Judit Polgar, the attacker

Hungary , 31 years, Elo: 2707

Date and place of birth: 23.7.1976 in Budapest
Lives in: Budapest
National ranking: 2
World ranking: 19
World women ranking: 1
Best world ranking: 8 (2735 Elo, October 2005)
In Biel: 1993: 20th (out of 73) of the interzonal tournament

"There isn't a woman player in the world that I can't give knight odds to and still beat." When Bobby Fischer said this, Judit Polgar was not even born. Ironically, when she was 15, she broke his record of being the world's youngest grandmaster.

Her story is unheard of: the father, Laszlo Polgar, decided to turn his three daughters Zsuzsa, Sofia, and Judit into strong chess players. Zsuzsa, became World Women's Champion, but the big star of the family is the youngest daughter, Judit (born in 1976). In the chess world, where women are scarce, the female prodigy drew a lot of attention in the late 1980s. In Biel, in 1989, Judit scared many established Swiss masters with her aggressive play.

In 1993, Judit Polgar played the Interzonal Tournament in Biel and finished 20th out of 73 participants. This year will be her first Grandmaster Tournament in Biel. She has played chess at the world's highest levels for over ten years now. In spite of the birth of her two children in 2004 and 2006, she has not lost any strength. At the end of 2006, she even won the tournament of Hoogeven (Holland), where she twice beat the world's number one, Veselin Topalov.

Judit Polgar is an extremely dangerous player at attacking, which she proved in numerous games. We expect to see some brilliant games of her this year in Biel! (sk)

From the official web site players' portraits


Schedule and results

1st round – Monday July 23rd
Alexander Onischuk
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Alexander Motylev
Yannick Pelletier
½-½
Boris Avrukh
Loek van Wely
0-1
Judit Polgar
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Bu Xianghzi
GamesReport
2nd round – Tuesday July 24th
Teimour Radjabov
-
Bu Xianghzi
Judit Polgar
-
Magnus Carlsen
Boris Avrukh
-
Loek van Wely
Alexander Motylev
-
Yannick Pelletier
Alexander Onischuk
-
Alexander Grischuk
GamesReport
3rd round – Wednesday July 25th
Alexander Grischuk
-
Teimour Radjabov
Yannick Pelletier
-
Alexander Onischuk
Loek van Wely
-
Alexander Motylev
Magnus Carlsen
-
Boris Avrukh
Bu Xianghzi
-
Judit Polgar
GamesReport
4th round – Friday July 27th
Teimour Radjabov
-
Judit Polgar
Boris Avrukh
-
Bu Xianghzi
Alexander Motylev
-
Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Onischuk
-
Loek van Wely
Alexander Grischuk
-
Yannick Pelletier
GamesReport
5th round – Saturday July 28th
Yannick Pelletier
-
Teimour Radjabov
Loek van Wely
-
Alexander Grischuk
Magnus Carlsen
-
Alexander Onischuk
Bu Xianghzi
-
Alexander Motylev
Judit Polgar
-
Boris Avrukh
GamesReport
6th round – Sunday July 29th
Teimour Radjabov
-
Boris Avrukh
Alexander Motylev
-
Judit Polgar
Alexander Onischuk
-
Bu Xianghzi
Alexander Grischuk
-
Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier
-
Loek van Wely
GamesReport
7th round – Tuesday July 31th
Loek van Wely
-
Teimour Radjabov
Magnus Carlsen
-
Yannick Pelletier
Bu Xianghzi
-
Alexander Grischuk
Judit Polgar
-
Alexander Onischuk
Boris Avrukh
-
Alexander Motylev
GamesReport
8th round – Wednesday August 1st
Teimour Radjabov
-
Alexander Motylev
Alexander Onischuk
-
Boris Avrukh
Alexander Grischuk
-
Judit Polgar
Yannick Pelletier
-
Bu Xianghzi
Loek van Wely
-
Magnus Carlsen
GamesReport
9th round – Thursday August 2nd
Magnus Carlsen
-
Teimour Radjabov
Bu Xianghzi
-
Loek van Wely
Judit Polgar
-
Yannick Pelletier
Boris Avrukh
-
Alexander Grischuk
Alexander Motylev
-
Alexander Onischuk
GamesReport

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