Biel: Adams beats Keymer

by Sebastian Siebrecht
7/23/2020 – The youngest participant of the GM tournament in Biel, Vincent Keymer, went into the third round as the standings leader, but met his match in world-class grandmaster Michael Adams. The remaining games ended in a draw. Sebastian Siebrecht reported and spoke with tournament director Paul Kohler. | Photos: Simon Bohnenblust

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Keymer slowed down, Wojtaszek leads

The second round in the classic GM Tournament brought the young German an uncomfortable opponent. The world-class player and former semi-finalist for the World Championship, Michael Adams, showed a game typical for him. Inconspicuously and unobtrusively, all dynamics of the position were taken away and Black could not find any tension or ‘pour oil into the fire’. On the other side of the board, Adams seemed to be serene and was only waiting for his opponent’s small weaknesses, which he slowly consolidated. Despite persistent resistance until the endgame, the youngster had to give in to his fate after 69 moves.

In this kind of positions, Adams is extremely strong. Vincent will learn a lesson from this game and attack again with fresh energy tomorrow. 

All other games ended in a draw, with Radek Wojtaszek replacing Vincent Keymer at the top of the standings.

Playing behind Plexiglas

In the C-HTO (Special Corona Tournament), the favourite Christian Bauer is now the only grandmaster to have won all his games.

Christian Bauer is undefeated

Your correspondent, as in his younger years, refused to accept a draw offer and saw his opponent making the last move before the time control in the last second, with a decisive counterattack.

Sebastian Siebrecht

So, back to serious mature play! 😉   

There are four German hopes among the nine leaders.

Games - GM Tournament


Overall standings - GM Tournament

Rank Name Classical Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek 3 12 0 15
2 GM Vincent Keymer 4 10 0 14
3 GM Michael Adams 8 0 13½
4 GM Pentala Harikrishna 3 10 0 13
5 GM Arkadij Naiditsch 5 0 10½
6 GM Romain Édouard 3 4 0 7
7 GM David Antón Guijarro 4 0
8 GM Noël Studer 3 0

Standings after Round 3 - CHT-O

Rg. Name Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 Kamber Bruno 3,0 0,0
2 Bauer Christian 3,0 0,0
  Meins Gerlef 3,0 0,0
4 Contin Daniel 3,0 0,0
  Rohrer Christophe 3,0 0,0
6 Jovanovic Sladjan 3,0 0,0
7 Karsay Pascal 3,0 0,0
8 Decker Nils 3,0 0,0
9 Buchenau Frank 3,0 0,0
10 Gschnitzer Adrian 2,5 0,0
11 Baenziger Fabian 2,5 0,0
12 Fecker Noah 2,5 0,0
13 Bellahcene Bilel 2,5 0,0
14 Moriniaux Colin 2,5 0,0
15 Schulz Michael 2,5 0,0
16 Borner Daniel 2,5 0,0
17 Saya Ethan 2,5 0,0
18 Youssoupov Moisse 2,5 0,0
19 Lorscheid Gerhard 2,5 0,0
20 Pahud Cedric 2,5 0,0
21 Mathieu Phileas 2,0 0,0

...138 participants

Interview with Tournament Director Paul Kohler

SS: Biel is the first chess festival to be held during the Corona pandemic. How did the decision come about to hold the traditional European chess festival after all?

PK: Right after the lockdown in March we met with the committee and considered how we should deal with the situation. The easiest way would have been to cancel the festival directly before any costs would arise and try again next year. But I am an optimist, and we wanted to examine what was happening so that we could adapt to the current situation. When on 27th May a decree came from Switzerland that events for up to 300 people were possible, the way forward was clear. We worked out a clear plan and the team was very motivated to maintain the 53-year-old tradition in Biel.

The support of the city and the partners was reduced, of course, but there was still the possibility to offer the chess festival within this framework.

SS: How was the response of the invited players?

PK: All the players we invited wanted to play. However, we had to replace four players due to travel restrictions. First, last year’s winner Santosh Gujrathi Vidit from India, then Gata Kamsky and the Vietnamese Lé Quang Liém, but also the World Championship runner-up Aleksandra Goryachkina — who I was really looking forward to having among the participants — couldn’t make it. One day before the start Saleh Salem had to be replaced. He had tickets and was ready for departure at the airport in the United Emirates, but was not allowed to leave.

So Arkadij Naiditsch arrived in Achterfeld at short notice.

By the way, Pentala Harikrishna lives in the Czech Republic and therefore had no problems with Indian exit regulations.

SS: What about the Open participants?

PK: We have a lot of regulars, also many older players — some belong to the risk group and therefore had to cancel with a heavy heart — but those who really wanted to play are there.

Due to the fact that no conditions can be offered this year, the top of the starting list is of course not comparable with last year’s MTO, but also here many young talents can gain experience and compete with strong masters.

Yesterday a grandmaster had to allow a draw against a German talent.

Always in the picture

SS: How many tournaments does the chess festival include this year?

PK: We started on Saturday with the Chess960-ACCENTUS invitational tournament, then the Rapid started on Sunday for the grandmaster triathlon, the classical games in the GM-T started Monday, and Saturday continues with the Blitz. The main Corona tournament runs from last Monday to Wednesday next week. There are also two youth tournaments, the VINETUM Rapid on Saturday and the final of the Swiss Youth Championship from Sunday.  

SS: What restrictions do the players have to accept?

PK: We have developed a comprehensive protection concept to which all participants must adhere. So far everything looks very good and there are no complaints — all participants are handling the problem conscientiously. Disinfecting the boards is of course extra work for the team, but everything is manageable. Saturday at the Blitz will be a busy day, so if there are any waiting times, please do not be discouraged. We are giving our best.

SS: Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you a smooth and relaxed festival!

Download Safety Measures (PDF file)

Translation from German: Nick Murphy


Sebastian Siebrecht, born in 1973, has been playing chess since the age of 11 and received the grandmaster title in 2008. Besides his chess career, he founded an events agency and worked as a commentator, presenter, speaker, analyst and journalist. Furthermore, he was involved in primary school chess projects. In 2015 he was recognized as "Trainer of the Year" by the German Chess Federation.


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