Biel 2009: Vachier Lagrave and Ivanchuk lead

by ChessBase
7/29/2009 – After eight of ten rounds two players are in the lead by a full point: French GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Ukrainian perennial Vassily Ivanchuk. Russian GM Alexander Morozevich has been doing a roller coaster, with Caissa frowning on him in round six, smiling in round seven and frowning again in round eight. Illustrated round seven/eight report.

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The 42nd Biel International Chess Festival is taking place from July 18th to 31st 2009. There are ten different tournaments (open, rapid, blitz, youth, Chess 960). The main event is a Category 19 double round robin tournament with six players averaging 2716 Elo points and 28.3 years of age.

Round seven

Two decisive games, one hard-fought draw was what the players provided in the seventh round of the event. Vassily Ivanchuk pressed against Evgeny Alekseev but could not overcome the resilient and imaginative defence of his Russian opponent. Boris Gelfand's losse was the result of a blunder – after his traumatic loss to Aleckseev in the previous round this time Morozevich had a bit of luck.

Boris Gelfand suffering against Alexander Morozevich (standing)

Gelfand,B (2755) - Morozevich,A (2751) [E04]
GM Biel SUI (7), 27.07.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.Ne5 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nd5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qc2 b5 10.Be4 Bb7 11.Nxd5 Bxd5 12.Bxh7+ Kh8 13.Be4 Qe8 14.Bg2 Bxg2 15.Kxg2 Nd7 16.Nf3 e5 17.b3 exd4 18.Nxd4 Qe5 19.Nf3 Qc3 20.Qb1 Qf6 21.Rd1 Ne5 22.Rd5 Ng6 23.a3 Bc3 24.Ra2 Qc6 25.Rh5+ Kg8 26.Rc2 Bf6 27.bxc4 bxc4 28.Bg5 Rab8 29.Qc1 Rb5 30.Rxc4 Qe6 31.a4 Rd5 32.e4 Ra5 33.e5? (the threat was 33...Nf4+, but Fritz tells us that 33.h3 was the right repudiation) 33...Bxe5

34.Bd2? Bb2! A discovered attack on the Rh5. 35.Rxa5. Gelfand give his queen rather than embark on 35.Qxb2 Rxh5 36.Qd4–+. 35...Bxc1 36.Rxc1 Qe4 37.Be3? (things are going from bad to worse) 37...Nh4+ 38.gxh4 Qg4+ 39.Kf1 Qxf3 40.Rac5 Re8 41.Kg1 Re4 42.Rg5 Rxh4 43.Rg3 Qh5 44.Rxc7 Rxh2 45.Bd4 Rh1+ 46.Kg2 Qh2+ 47.Kf3 Rg1 48.Rxg1 Qxg1 0-1.

Everybody and their mother-in-laws seem to be playing the Berlin Defence of the Ruy Lopez these day, but their opponents are well equipped with attacking mechanisms and the success rate against this annoying line is improving. The 18-year-old French Super-GM, who has drawn his first six games, takes his 16-year-old Italian opponent to the cleaners.

18-year-old French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated...

... the youngest player in the tournament: Fabiano Caruana, 16

Vachier Lagrave,M (2703) - Caruana,F (2670) [C67]
GM Biel SUI (7), 27.07.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.h3 h5 11.Bf4 Be7 12.Rad1 Nh4 13.Nd4 Nf5 14.Nce2 g5 15.Bh2 a6 16.e6 Nd6 17.Rfe1 Rh6 18.exf7+ Kxf7 19.Nf3 g4 20.Ne5+ Kg7 21.Bf4 Rh7 22.hxg4 hxg4 23.Ng3 Bf6 24.Nd3 Nf5 25.Ne4 Be7 26.Bxc7 Be6 27.Nf4 Bf7 28.Rd7 Re8 29.Ng5 Rh6 30. Be5+ Kg8 31.Nxf7 Kxf7 32.Bc3 g3 33.Re5 gxf2+ 34.Kxf2 Nd6 35.Bb4 Nc8 36.Rxb7 Rh4 37.Bxe7 Rxf4+ 38.Ke3 1-0.

Round eight

One game in round eight was the kind nobody wishes to see in these events:

Alekseev,Evgeny (2714) - Gelfand,B (2755) [C42]
GM Biel SUI (8), 28.07.2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nbd2 Nxd2 9.Bxd2 Bg4 10.c3 0-0 11.h3 ½-½.

However the other two games compensated for this I-don't-feel-like-playing draw. Ivanchuk played the Pirc – is there anything this man does not have in his repertoire? – equalised effortlessly and went on the attack.

Vassily Ivanchuk at the start of round eight

Caruana,F (2670) - Ivanchuk,V (2703) [B07]
GM Biel SUI (8), 28.07.2009
1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Bh6 Bxh6 7.Qxh6 Qa5 8.Bd3 c5 9.Nge2 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.Bb5+ Kd8 12.Ng3 c4 13.h3 (13.g5 is a promising alternative) 13...a6 14.f4 Nf3+ 15.gxf3 axb5 16.0-0 b4 17.Nce2 Qc5+ 18.Kg2 Bd7 19.c3 bxc3 20.Nxc3 b5 21.a3 Kc7 22.Rad1 Rhg8 23.e5 Nh5 24.Rfe1 g5 25.exd6+ exd6

White is doing fine and after 26.fxg5 Nf4+ 27.Kh1 Black has no dangerous attack. 26.Nxh5? Rg6 27.Ne4 Rxh6 28.Nxc5 dxc5 29.Ng3 gxf4 30.Ne2. Now Black is clearly better. 30...Kd6 (30...Bxh3+ is an obvious alternative) 31.Nxf4 Rg8+ 32.Kf2 Rh4 33.Ng2 Rxh3 34.Rh1 Rgg3 35.Rxh3 Rxh3 36.Re1 h5 37.Re4 Rh1 38.a4 Rb1 39.axb5 Rxb2+ 40.Kg3 c3 41.Ne3 Bxb5 0-1.

Alexander Morozevich and Fabiano Caruana, who both lost their games in round eight

An even more exciting and tragic game was the following encounter, which show Caissa from her worst side: one day she frowns on Morozevich, next day she smile, and then she frowns again. Talk about fickle...

Morozevich,A (2751) - Vachier Lagrave,M (2703) [B90]
GM Biel SUI (8), 28.07.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.g4 h6 10.0-0-0 b4 11.Nce2 Qc7 12.h4 d5 13.Nf4 e5 14.Nfe6 fxe6 15.Nxe6 Qa5 16.exd5 Qxa2 17.Qd3 Kf7 18.g5 Nxd5 19.Bh3 Nxe3 20.Nd8+ Ke7 21.Nc6+ Kf7

Addendum: Franz Mauelshagen of Germany followed the game on the Playchess server and analyed the following very exciting lines: 22.Be6+!! Kxe6 23.Qg6+ Nf6 24.Nd8+ leads to mate: 24...Ke7 25.gxf6+ gxf6 26.Nc6+ Ke6 27.Qe8+ Kf5 28.Nd4+! Kf4 (28...exd4 29.Qe4#) 29.Ne2+ Kf5 30.Ng3+ Kf4 31.Nh5+ Kxf3 32.Qc6+ Nd5 33.Rxd5 Qa1+ 34.Kd2 Qxh1 35.Rxe5+ Kg4 36.Qc4+ Kh3 37.Qd3+ and mate in three more moves. Black's only defence after 22.Be6+!! is 22...Qxe6 23.Nd8+ Ke7 24.Nxe6 Kxe6 (24...Nxd1 25.Rxd1 Kxe6 26.Qd5+ Ke7 27.Qxa8+–) 25.Qxe3 with a clear win for White. [Click to replay this analysis]

22.g6+ Kg8 23.Qxe3 Bc5 24.Qe4 Nf8 25.Rd8 Bb7

Switch on your engines, ladies and gentlemen. After innovative play in an English Attack Alexander Morozevich can finish his French opponent off and take the brilliancy prize: 26.Rxf8+ Bxf8 (or 26...Rxf8) 27.Qxe5 threatening 28.Be6 and mate. Fritz says White can force mate in at the most 19 more moves. But not after 26.Rxa8? Bxa8 27.h5 Rh7 (what a move, what an amazing game) 28.Re1 Bxc6 29.Qxc6 Bd4 30.Kd2 Qxb2 31.Qc4+ Kh8 32.Kd3 a5 33.Qc8

Just imagine sitting across from Morozevich with this position on the board. But Maxime VL has a defence ready and is cool as a cucumber: 33...Qa3+ 34.Ke4 b3 35.cxb3 a4! 36.Rb1 Qb4 37.Qc4 Qb7+ 38.Qd5 Qb4 39.Qc4 Qd2

The last move before the time control is a costly mistake by Morozevich. Instead of finally playing 40.gxh7 (or 40.Qc8) he goes for 40.Bg4?, allowing 40...a3 41.Qf7 Qc2+ 42.Kd5 Qc5+ 43.Ke4 a2 44.Rc1 a1Q (three ladies on the board) 45.Rxc5 Bxc5 46.Qd5 Qe1+ 47.Kd3 Qd1+ 48.Kc4 Qxd5+ 49.Kxd5 Ba3 50.Bf5 Kg8 51.Kxe5 Rh8. Can you believe it? Black has managed to extricate his rook, which has been trapped and hanging on h7 for 23 moves. 52.Kd5 Nh7 53.gxh7+ Kf7 54.Bg6+ Kf6 55.f4 Bc1 56.f5 Bd2 57.Kd6 Be1 58.Kd7 Bb4 59.Kc7 Ke5 60.Kd7 Ba3 61.Kc6 Kd4 62.Kc7 Kc3 63.Kd7 Kb4 64.Kd6 Kxb3+ 65.Kd5 Bb2 66.Kd6 Bf6 67.Kc5 Kc3 68.Kd6 Kd4 69.Kc6 Rd8 70.Kb6 Kd5 71.Kc7 Kc5 72.Bf7 g5 73.fxg6 Rd6 74.Be8 Be5 75.Kb7 Rb6+ 76.Kc8 Kd6 with an impending mate. 0-1. It is well worth replaying this game with a good chess engine running.

Alexander Morozevich has a capricious affair with Caissa

Pictures by Pascal Simon, ChessBase

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