Biel 09: MVL leapfrogs Navara

by Alejandro Ramirez
7/29/2015 – Another exciting round in Biel, this time with two more black wins. MVL demolished Navara in the nice side of an English, baiting the Czech player with a "free" pawn that turned out to be rather poisoned. MVL crushed his opponent's activity and now is tied with Wojtaszek in the lead, who drew Adams. Rapport lost yet again, this time agains Eljanov, and is last by 2.5 points...

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The traditional Biel/Bienne Chess Festival is going strong in Switzerland. The festival includes a series of events, but the crown jewel is the Grandmaster Tournament, with an average rating of 2720.

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 Nine

Round 09 - July 29, 2015
Navara, David 2724
0-1
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Rapport, Richard 2671
0-1
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Adams, Michael 2740
½-½
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733

Round Nine Video Report and Play of the Day

Navara, David 0-1 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
MVL chose the super solid c5/e5 with a Fianchetto system against Navara's English. At a critical juncture, Navara went for a pawn, but it backfired badly:

MVL goes into the last round with a +2, tied with Wojtaszek for the lead

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.29"] [Round "9"] [White "Navara, D."] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A37"] [WhiteElo "2724"] [BlackElo "2731"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 (6... d6 {I think is more accurate, with the idea of meeting} 7. Ne1 {with} Be6 8. d3 Nge7 9. Nc2 d5 $5 {as in Hevia-Ramirez, 2014. But who am I to tell MVL what to do?}) 7. Ne1 {White rushes his knight to e3, where it controls d5.} a6 $5 {Usually in these systems Black tries to play a5 against White's early a3, but here MVL tries to break on b5 as quickly as possible. An interesting though unusual approach.} (7... d6 8. Nc2 Be6 9. Ne3 {is not as effective, put also possible.} ) 8. d3 Rb8 9. a4 d6 10. Nc2 O-O 11. Rb1 a5 $1 {Quite interesting. White hard counters b5 with this a4 move, but Black now makes sure the queenside is completely locked up, giving him easy access to adventures on the kingside.} 12. Bg5 f6 13. Bd2 f5 14. f4 {Navara decides that he doesn't want to sit and watch as Black improves his kingside position.} Be6 15. Nd5 Nb4 16. fxe5 $6 { I don't like this move at all. It gives Black too much space and central control.} (16. Ncxb4 axb4 17. fxe5 Bxd5 18. cxd5 Bxe5 19. Bg5 $11) 16... Nbxd5 17. cxd5 Nxd5 18. exd6 Qxd6 {Black has two pawn islands against White's three; also his pieces just seem to be in better positions.} 19. Bxa5 {The greedy option, and the only way to justify Navara's decision, but now Black starts rolling the kingside:} f4 $1 20. Qe1 (20. Be1 Be5 21. b4 $1 {Was probably the best option, trying to create some kind of counterplay. However after} fxg3 22. Rxf8+ Rxf8 23. bxc5 gxh2+ 24. Kh1 Qc6 $1 $17 {With some checkmate threats, including Bh3, I would much rather be Black.}) 20... Be5 $1 {It's easy to see that this pressure is close to insurmountable.} 21. e4 fxe3 22. Bc3 Rxf1+ 23. Bxf1 Re8 24. Na3 {White isn't even up a pawn anymore, and his position is very bad. Black's passed pawn on e3, his excellent centralized pieces and safer king give him an almost decisive advantage.} Nxc3 (24... Bd4 {was pretty logical.}) 25. bxc3 Bd5 {Having two bishops shooting lasers at the White king position is also pretty logical.} 26. Nc4 Bxc4 27. dxc4 Qd2 28. Qe2 (28. Qxd2 exd2 29. Rd1 Bxc3 {is just losing.}) 28... Rf8 29. Rxb7 Bxc3 30. Rb1 {losing by force, but already Navara's position was miserable.} Qxe2 31. Bxe2 Rf2 32. Bd3 Rd2 33. Be4 e2 34. Kf2 Ra2 {Black wins the exchange (Re1 is forced) and the endgame is won easily.} 0-1

Fighting spirit: only two draws!

A great victory for MVL. He leapfrogs Navara and is now tied for first with Wojtaszek, who kept his steady pace.

99 Seconds with MVL:

Rapport, Ricahrd 0-1 Eljanov, Pavel
Rapport's second Meran with White in a row. This one was more aggressive, but not more successful.

[Event "48th Biel GM 2015"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2015.07.29"] [Round "9"] [White "Rapport, R."] [Black "Eljanov, P."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D45"] [WhiteElo "2671"] [BlackElo "2723"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2015.07.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 $5 {The Shabalov-Shirov attack in the Meran fell out of fashion years ago, but it is hard to imagine a player who is more suited to play it than Rapport.} Nxg4 8. Rg1 Nxh2 9. Nxh2 Bxh2 10. Rxg7 Nf8 11. Rg2 Bd6 12. e4 {Even though this has been played many times, it hasn't been seen in top tournament play. The idea has been known for some time, though: Black is greedy, captures the pawn, but his development is not as good as White's and Rapport's Central expansion gives him good chances for compensation.} Ng6 13. Bg5 {It's interesting how often this simple attack of the queen in the Meran forces an awkward reaction. Black doesn't want to give up the f6 square (if he moves the queen), doesn't want to weaken with f6, and he doesn't want to retreat his developed bishop - but he has to choose!} Be7 14. Be3 (14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. O-O-O $13) 14... dxe4 15. O-O-O $5 (15. Nxe4 f5 16. Nc3 f4 {is not good for White.}) 15... f5 16. d5 { White is down two pawns, but things are about to get crazy! The center is exploding and Black's lack of development is dangerous.} Qa5 17. Kb1 (17. d6 Bf6 18. Na4 $1 {was perhaps a better version of what happened in the game.}) 17... Bd7 18. d6 $1 {Going for some positional compensation. Instead of blasting the position open, Rapport closes it, but with the idea of cutting Eljanov's army in half. It will be difficult for him to make his king safe, as well.} Bf6 19. Bd2 Qe5 20. Nb5 $6 {A nice tactical detail, but it is not necessarily such a strong move. Black avoids the trap and asks the knight what it is doing on b5.} (20. Qb3 $5 {counter pressuring b7, ocmes to mind.}) 20... Kf7 (20... cxb5 21. Bc3 Qc5 22. b4 $1 Qc6 23. Bxf6 Rf8 {and White retains a lot of compensation.}) 21. Bc3 Qf4 22. Nc7 $6 {White commits a lot of pieces to the queenside, but Black simply migrates his remaining pieces to the kingside, makes sure nothing happens in the center, and he uses his overwhelming pawn majority to finish the game.} Rag8 23. c5 Bxc3 24. Qxc3 Ne5 { Taking a look at the position, it is clear that Black has an excellent set of pieces and he is up two pawns. It's true that the bishop on d7 is just a big pawn, but if that piece on d7 was actually a real pawn, Black would be better anyway.} 25. Rxg8 Rxg8 26. Be2 Qxf2 {Third pawn, why not?} 27. Qxe5 Qxe2 28. Rh1 Qd3+ (28... Qd3+ 29. Ka1 Qh3 $1 30. Rb1 Qg3 {is just embarassing for White's pieces.}) 0-1

Eljanov and Adams are tied for 4th-5th, 2.5 points ahead of Rapport

Adams, Michael ½-½ Wojtaszek, Radoslaw
The 2.c3 Sicilian is not the most common thing to see at top level play, but once in a while it is played. Adams obtained a very slight advantage from it that endured well into the endgame, but Wojtaszek was happy to hold on to a worse position for as long as it took. Eventually, the Polish player gave up a pawn to simplify into an easily drawn endgame, despite the pawn deficit.

Standings

Round Nine 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, www.playchess.com

Day Date Round German English
Saturday July 25 Round 6 GM Klaus Bischoff GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Sunday July 26 Free    
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
1-0
Navara, David 2724
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
½-½
Rapport, Richard 2671
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
½-½
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Round 02 - July 21, 2015
Rapport, Richard 2671
½-½
Adams, Michael 2740
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
0-1
Navara, David 2724
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
½-½
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
Round 03 - July 22, 2015
Navara, David 2724
1-0
Rapport, Richard 2671
Adams, Michael 2740
0-1
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
1-0
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Round 04 - July 23, 2015
Navara, David 2724
1-0
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
Rapport, Richard 2671
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Adams, Michael 2740
0-1
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Round 05 - July 24, 2015
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
½-½
Adams, Michael 2740
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
½-½
Navara, David 2724
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
½-½
Rapport, Richard 2671
Round 06 - July 25, 2015
Navara, David 2724
0-1
Adams, Michael 2740
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Rapport, Richard 2671
0-1
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
Round 07 - July 27, 2015
Adams, Michael 2740
1-0
Rapport, Richard 2671
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Navara, David 2724
0-1
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Round 08 - July 28, 2015
Rapport, Richard 2671
0-1
Navara, David 2724
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
1-0
Adams, Michael 2740
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
½-½
Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733
Round 09 - July 29, 2015
Navara, David 2724
0-1
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2731
Rapport, Richard 2671
0-1
Eljanov, Pavel 2723
Adams, Michael 2740
½-½
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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Radena Radena 7/30/2015 03:22
But who am I to tell MVL what to do? I don't have any idea to comment this such regret question.. lol.. uuhh May be one day you will become one of >2700 GM !!
bernard38 bernard38 7/30/2015 12:27
French in the lead ==> "frog" in the title. Impressive imagination...
raki-baki raki-baki 7/30/2015 11:54
" but if that piece on d7 was actually a real pawn, Black would be better anyway" I like this comment
Emil Cabagay Emil Cabagay 7/30/2015 06:04
Navarra you can do better! Fight on...Wojtaszek, you're still going strong! make it happen...!
Logos Logos 7/30/2015 03:34
Nice report and annotations. Thank you.
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