Biel 02: King's Gambit steals the show

by Alejandro Ramirez
7/21/2015 – There was only one decisive game today: David Navara bounced back from his loss yesterday by defeating Pavel Eljanov with Black. This puts the Czech player at 50% and drops Eljanov to last place with -1. However, today all eyes were focused on an absolutely crazy game. Richard Rapport's King's Gambit was so bizarre and so entertaining that it was easily game of the day.

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The traditional Biel/Bienne International Chess Festival started on 18. July and will end on 31. 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 Two

Round 02 - July 21, 2015
Rapport, Richard 2671
Adams, Michael 2740
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Navara, David 2724
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733

Round 2 report by Daniel King

A decisive result, a solid draw, and a crazy King's Gambit. This round had everything:

Rapport, Richard ½-½ Adams, Michael
The King's Gambit. This game was crazy:

The show stopper

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.21"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Adams, Michael"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C36"] [WhiteElo "2671"] [BlackElo "2740"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. e4 e5 2. f4 {The King's Gambit! It is a rare occurence nowadays in GM games. } exf4 3. Nf3 d5 {This is the reason the King's Gambit is so rare nowadays. This line has been basically proven to be at least equal for Black.} 4. exd5 Nf6 5. Be2 Nxd5 6. c4 Ne7 (6... Nb4 {is also ambitious, for example:} 7. d4 Bf5 8. Na3 g5 $5 {With a very unclear, Rapportesque, position.}) 7. Nc3 Ng6 8. h4 ( 8. d4 $44 {would be too normal of a move for the Hungarian to play.}) 8... Be7 9. h5 Nh4 10. Nd5 $5 {This frisky move is actually dangerous if Black is not careful.} Nc6 (10... Bg5 $5 11. h6 $1 Nxf3+ 12. Bxf3 O-O $1 13. d4 $1 {With just a mess on the board.}) 11. d4 Nxg2+ 12. Kf1 Ne3+ 13. Nxe3 fxe3 {Black is up two pawns, and White's king is lacking a pawn shelter, but White's pieces are very active and his pawn center is strong. Also, he will capture on e3 soon, after which Black's king feels uncomfortable no matter where he goes.} 14. d5 Nb4 15. a3 (15. Bxe3 {was a different move, that would have changed the game dramatically. Black does not have the c5 square for his bishop yet, but his knight is still in the game for now:} Bf5 16. Nd4 Qd7 $13) 15... Na6 16. Bxe3 O-O 17. Qc2 (17. h6 g6 {should probably be played at some point for White. }) 17... Bg4 $6 {Because of the following sequence, this natural move might be dubious.} (17... h6 $5 {was one way of trying to solidify the kingside.} 18. Rg1 Kh8 19. Bd4 Bh3+ 20. Ke1 Bf6 $13) 18. h6 g6 19. Qc3 Bf6 (19... f6 {is ugly. } 20. b4 $44) 20. Bd4 {Black faces some problems now on the darksquares. He cannot afford to trade bishops because of the double attack.} Be7 21. c5 $5 { A move probably only Rapport can come up with. White takes c5 away from Black, but he loses a key tempo in the attack.} (21. Bh8 $2 f6 $17) (21. Re1 $44) (21. Bf2 Bf6 22. Bd4 $11) 21... Re8 $1 (21... Qxd5 22. Bh8 {loses, as Bc4 next move (after f6) will win the queen.}) 22. c6 {Black has a lot of weird options here. } (22. Bc4 $5) 22... Bf8 (22... b5 $1 {Defends everything for now as b5 cannot be taken. White still has to prove his compensation after this} 23. Bc5 { Threatening mate on g7.} (23. Bxb5 Qxd5 $19) 23... f6 $15) 23. cxb7 Rb8 { Suddenly, with g7 covered, Black is taking over the initiative. For now, however, there is a knight hanging...} 24. Bxa6 (24. Bc4 $5) 24... Qxd5 25. Kf2 Bxf3 26. Bc4 Re2+ $2 {Forcing a draw, but Black had no need to.} (26... Qe4 $1 27. Bxf7+ (27. Rhe1 Qf4 28. Bxf7+ Qxf7 29. Qxf3 Rxe1 30. Rxe1 c5 31. Qxf7+ Kxf7 32. Bc3 Rxb7 {And Black is up a pawn.}) 27... Kxf7 28. Qxf3+ Qxf3+ 29. Kxf3 Rxb7 {again, Black is up a pawn.}) 27. Bxe2 Bxh1 28. Rxh1 $1 Qxh1 29. Qxc7 Qh4+ 30. Kf1 {White is down the exchange, but his passed pawn on b7 supported by the queen force a perpetual.} Qh1+ 31. Kf2 Qh4+ (31... Rxb7 32. Qe5 {is already extremely dangerous, if not losing.}) 32. Kf1 Qh1+ 33. Kf2 {A wild ride!} 1/2-1/2

A group of mathematicians started deciphering how Rapport chooses his openings. However, midway
through the project, they decided that predicting lottery numbers was an easier endeavor.

A King's Gambit? The last time Adams faced this was against
Nakamura in the 2011 London Classic. Nakamura won that game.

Eljanov, Pavel 0-1 Navara, David
Eljanov's dubious opening landed him in a precarious position, and Navara swooped in with his pieces from all sides:

Down to last place for Eljanov

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.21"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Eljanov, Pavel"] [Black "Navara, David"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A49"] [WhiteElo "2723"] [BlackElo "2724"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 d5 5. O-O c6 6. Bf4 O-O 7. Qc1 {Eljanov chooses some kind of strange set up against the c6 Grunfeld. He doesn't want to commit to c4 yet, and he might keep the option of playing a later Bh6, trading off bishops.} Bg4 8. Nbd2 Nh5 9. Bg5 (9. Be3 Nf6 $11 (9... Nd7 10. c4 { is also fine for Black if he wants to play on.})) 9... f6 10. Be3 e5 {Because of this move it is unclear if Bg5 f6 really favored White.} 11. h3 Be6 12. g4 $5 {Making the position double edged.} Nf4 13. Bxf4 exf4 {Black's pawn structure isn't very good, but it contains White's pawns and pieces. Black might be slightly better, as if any big pawn trades happen the bishops will be very powerful.} 14. Nb3 Qc7 15. Nc5 Bf7 16. b3 g5 17. c4 Nd7 18. Nd3 Rae8 19. Re1 h5 $1 {By now it is quite clear that Black's pressure is mounting.} 20. gxh5 dxc4 21. bxc4 Nb6 22. c5 Nd5 {Black improves his knight and will capture on h5 when he pleases.} 23. Qa3 Bxh5 24. Nb4 Nxb4 25. Qxb4 Re7 26. Rab1 Rfe8 { Navara only has to play natural moves to continue applying pressure. White's position is already very unpleasant.} 27. d5 {An interesting sacrifice in order to diffuse the bad situation for now. However, a pawn is still a pawn...} cxd5 28. Nd4 Qd7 29. Qb3 Kh8 $1 30. Qxd5 Qxd5 31. Bxd5 Rd7 {Black's counter sacrifice is well calculated. At the end of the trades c5 will be extremely weak.} 32. Bf3 Bxf3 33. Nxf3 Bf8 {The point. There is no good way to defend c5. } 34. c6 bxc6 35. Kf1 Kg7 36. Rec1 c5 37. Rc2 Kg6 38. Ne1 f5 {Black's pawn mass on the kingside and better rooks give him a nearly decisive advantage.} 39. Rbc1 g4 40. hxg4 fxg4 41. Rc4 Kg5 42. Ng2 Rh7 {Black is even threatening checkmate! Actually, this move is not very accurate.} (42... Rd4 $1 43. Rxd4 cxd4 $19) 43. Rxc5+ $6 {Trying to simplify the position, Eljanov falls for a nice trick.} (43. Kg1 $1 $17) 43... Bxc5 44. Rxc5+ Re5 $1 (44... Kf6 45. Nxf4 { would be still hard to break through.}) 45. Rxe5+ Kf6 {Because of the trade of rooks, The resulting position is winning elementary. White cannot hold the a-pawn for long.} 0-1

A nice come back from Navara after losing his first game

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½ Wojtaszek, Radoslaw
If anyone was pushing for an advantage in this game, it probably was the Polish player. But that is not to say that MVL was in any real danger at any point. After many piece trades the passed pawn from Black was relatively insignificant as the opposite colored bishops gave the game a very drawish tendency.

The Pole pressed just a tiny bit

The top two rated players dueling


Round Two Games

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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
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
Round 01 - July 20, 2015
Adams, Michael 2740
Navara, David 2724
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
Rapport, Richard 2671
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Round 02 - July 21, 2015
Rapport, Richard 2671
Adams, Michael 2740
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Navara, David 2724
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733




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Topics: Biel

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.
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algorithmy algorithmy 7/22/2015 09:57
well two things!!
first, Rapport is such fantastic player and i really like his spirit!
and secondly, the King's gambit is really underestimated! it really can be a dangerous opening!
jhoravi jhoravi 7/22/2015 02:08
Re5!! by Navara is beautiful
ex0 ex0 7/21/2015 11:44
"The top two rated players dueling"

Isn't Adams the top rated player here?
Vikingmaster5000 Vikingmaster5000 7/21/2015 09:17
Wow !! What a fantastic daring game by Rapport. This gives new life into chess which is currently dominated by computer based lines. Just sad that Rapport couldn't finnish off Adams.