Biel: Wojtaszek dominates the Rapid

by Klaus Besenthal
7/20/2020 – The first discipline of the ‘Grandmaster Triathlon’, the rapid section, was played on Sunday at the International Chess Festival in Biel. The best player in the 15'+5" tournament was Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who in the end only drew two games and won the rest to get a 6/7 score. Vincent Keymer had another strong performance, as he finished third with 5 points, behind Pentala Harikrishna who obtained the same amount of points but had a better tiebreak score. | Photos: Official website

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Keymer in the spotlight

In view of the many blitz and rapid tournaments in recent months, it is certainly not necessary to show every spectacular blunder, but the final phase of the game between Michael Adams and Pentala Harikrishna in the first round was quite interesting — even if things came to a head when Adams made a big mistake:


Michael Adams, Pentala Harikrishna

Michael Adams won three and lost two on Sunday

Vincent Keymer started his great winning streak — which left him atop the standings table after winning three in a row at the outset — by beating David Anton. The Spaniard initially ruined his own position, before Keymer secured the full point with a long series of strong, precise moves:


David Anton, Vincent Keymer

Vincent Keymer kicked off the day with three straight wins

After a draw against Pentala Harikrishna in round 4, Keymer won again in round 5 against local hero Noël Studer. One could almost feel a little sorry for the ambitious Swiss grandmaster, as he actually had a good position with a passed pawn on the b-file. But the convincing way in which Keymer, with his majority in the centre, simply rolled over White’s position in the end was certainly admirable:


Noël Studer

Noël Studer

Vincent Keymer’s amazing run came to an end in round 6 when Radoslaw Wojtaszek took the lead in the standings with a commanding win. The Polish grandmaster also won his seventh game of the day — against Studer — to finish the rapid section of the Biel Triathlon in clear first place.


Biel Chess Festival 2020

The playing hall 

There will be no Grandmaster-Triathlon action on Monday, while the first round of classical chess is set to take place on Tuesday. For the organizers, however, the biggest challenge begins on Monday, as the start of the 150-player Special Corona Amateur Tournament means there will be a significant increase in the number of people at the Congress Centre.

Final standings - Rapid

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Wojtaszek Radoslaw 6,0 0,0
2 Harikrishna Pentala 5,0 0,5
3 Keymer Vincent 5,0 0,5
4 Adams Michael 4,0 0,0
5 Naiditsch Arkadij 2,5 0,0
6 Anton Guijarro David 2,0 0,5
7 Edouard Romain 2,0 0,5
8 Studer Noel 1,5 0,0

Each point gained in the rapid will be worth twice as much in the overall standings

All games - Rapid



Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.
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ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 7/20/2020 06:16
nice Harikrishna ... for maintaining form ..... one hopes him to do well in the remaining formats too .....
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 7/20/2020 05:43
There is a plexiglas window between the players (you have to look closely on the photographs to see it) with a hole to play the pieces. All the pieces, boards and clocks are washed/disinfected after and before each game. When there are no games, social distancing is respected.

Other measures are taken -details in that document from the organizers: file:///C:/Users/UTILIS~1/AppData/Local/Temp/Schutzkonzept_ISF_Biel_v07_en.pdf
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 7/20/2020 05:36
MVL won many Biel tournaments. Was he invited?
caselli caselli 7/20/2020 03:31
I see no face masks and no gloves. Is fear of COVID disapperead in Switzerland? Is every player tested before the competition? Here in Italy we have unrealistic guidelines to play chess OTB. The outcome is that we only play online...