Biel Blitz: MVL continues his winning ways

by Albert Silver
7/31/2016 – It was the final event of the Biel Chess Festival, saving dessert for last: the blitz challenge. The six players from the matches, Studer, Bok, Rambaldi, Georgiadis, and of course the stars Peter Svidler and Maxime Vachier Lagrave, would face off in a round-robin of blitz. The two elite players won and faced each other in a mini-match that led to a memorable and epic battle. We bring you the report, commented games, and exclusive videos.

The 49th International Chess Festival Biel is taking place from Saturday, July 23 until Wednesday, August 3 2016. The exact schedule and further information are now published on the official website. Here are the main links:

All photos and videos by Pascal Simon (ChessBase)

Blitz tournament

Entering the final day, the rapid and classical matches had all been decided, and though that phase of the competition had come to an end, there was still one part left: the blitz tournament.

Although Noel Studer was the lowest rated of the players, he would not leave without drawing blood of his own. That said, it was not against MVL that he would shine as he lost the first round game.

To be fair to the Swiss player (left), he held off the new world no. 2 to a balanced endgame, and only succumbed to a tactic when he was down to seconds.

Dutch GM Benjamin Bok scored 50% and was tied with Italian player Francesco Rambaldi with 2.5/5

He also beat Studer, but Noel would still beat Rambaldi and his compatriot Nico Georgiadis

Nico Georgiadis was winless in this phase, but he did eke a draw from MVL, no mean feat

Peter Svidler lost to Rambaldi, but caught up with his main rival MVL in the end with 3.5/5

All blitz games

Select games from the list below the board.

Final standings

Blitz final

It finally came down to the two stars, the showdown that everyone expected. The Frenchman was running hot, as in volcano hot. After beating Peter Svidler in both the rapid and classical matches, raising his rating to a fantastic 2819, all that was left was the blitz. Here MVL was the outright favorite, not just because of the above, but because he is known as a blitz specialist whose FIDE Blitz rating has been consistently among the very best. Still, things happen, and the match was to be two games unless tied.

Game one was a spectacular melee with an exciting Sicilian Defense with MVL as white. A small oversight suddenly saw him facing the prospect of a nice round egg for his opening score as his bishop was caught in a pawn rush. The Frenchman struck back with verve and imagination and when the dust settled, White was better!

Pascal Simon from ChessBase, also author of all the photos in the reports, filmed the blitz games live and has added the live GM commentary by Daniel King as all heard it on Playchess and the official YouTube channel. Watch it and enjoy!

Game one

 

The first game of the blitz final, hand-recorded, with the GM commentary in the audio

[Event "Exhibition Blitz Final"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2016.07.30"] [Round "1"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2798"] [BlackElo "2759"] [PlyCount "76"] [EventDate "2016.07.30"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. g3 d5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 dxc4 4. Na3 Bg7 5. Nxc4 Nc6 6. d3 e5 7. Be3 Nge7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. h4 Nf5 10. Bc5 Re8 11. h5 Be6 12. Rc1 g5 13. e3 h6 14. Qe2 Qd7 15. O-O Rad8 16. Rfd1 b6 $1 {Suddenly things are very bad as ...b5 and ...b4 condemn the bishop.} 17. Ba3 b5 18. Ncd2 b4 19. Nxg5 $1 {White's only fighting chance. White grabs a pawn to maximize material gain for the lost bishop.} Ncd4 {Black tries to hit back.} (19... hxg5 {would let White back in with} 20. Bxc6 Qe7 21. Bxe8 Rxe8 22. Bxb4 Qxb4 23. Ne4 {and things are no longer clear.}) 20. exd4 Nxd4 21. Qe3 bxa3 $2 {It seems hard to believe, but capturing the bishop was a mistake. Not a losing one, but it reverses the balance of power.} (21... Bg4 {was the correct continuation according to the engines, but good luck finding that in a blitz game.} 22. Ngf3 bxa3 23. bxa3 f5 {and Black has a small pull.}) 22. Nxe6 axb2 23. Nxd8 $3 {With a pawn attacking the rook and promoting to queen, it would have been easy to be lulled into playing the rook, but White is not to be misled.} (23. Rb1 $2 Qxe6 24. Rxb2 e4 $1 25. dxe4 Nf5 $1 {and the point of e4 is clear: it opened the diagonal for the bishop to allow} 26. Qa3 Bxb2 27. Qxb2 Nd4 {and Black is winning.}) 23... bxc1=Q 24. Rxc1 Rxd8 25. Nf3 {GM Daniel King said that with the dust settled, he preferred White, and right he is.} Nf5 26. Qxa7 Qxd3 27. Qxc7 e4 28. Ne5 Bxe5 29. Qxe5 e3 30. fxe3 Nxe3 31. Bf3 Nf5 32. Rf1 ({Yes,} 32. Rd1 {was winning, but both players had mere seconds left.}) 32... Nd4 33. Be4 Qc4 34. Qf6 Re8 35. Bg2 Re2 36. Qxh6 Qc5 37. Kh1 Rxa2 38. Be4 Nf5 {and Black's flag fell in this lost position.} 1-0

First blood was drawn by MVL and it was now time for game two. Would Svidler be able to level the score and forestall defeat?

Game two

 

Game two of the blitz final between MVL and Svidler commented by GM Daniel King and Nico Georgiadis

MVL and Peter Svidler review their blitz games for the spectators

[Event "Exhibition Blitz Final"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2016.07.30"] [Round "2"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2759"] [BlackElo "2798"] [PlyCount "62"] [EventDate "2016.07.30"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. b3 e5 4. Bb2 e4 5. Ng1 Nf6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. g3 O-O 8. Bg2 Re8 9. Nh3 d5 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Nxe4 Bf5 12. Nc3 Bf6 13. O-O Nxc3 14. Bxc3 Bxc3 15. dxc3 Qf6 16. Nf4 Qxc3 17. Rc1 Qe5 18. e4 Rad8 19. Nd3 Qf6 20. exf5 Nb4 21. Rxc5 b6 22. Rc7 Nxd3 23. Qf3 a5 24. h4 h6 25. Qc6 Qxf5 26. Qxb6 Ne5 27. Rc3 Rd2 28. a4 Nd3 29. Qb5 Re5 30. Qb8+ Kh7 31. Qa7 Ree2 0-1

Yannick Pelletier congratulates Maxime for his victories

The participants of the Masters and Junior Challenges (left to right): Nico Georgiadis, Noel Studer, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Benjamin Bok, Peter Svidler, and Francesco Rambaldi

The Masters Tournament

The Masters Tournament is still underway with six rounds played

Dozens of masters and grandmasters are playing and it is still very tight

Paraguayan GM Axel Bachmann is in the mix with 4.5/6

Standings after six rounds

Rk
Name
Ti.
Rtg
Fed
Pts
TB
1. Shankland,Samuel 
GM
2661
USA
5.0
20.0
2. Aravindh,Chithamb
GM
2543
IND
5.0
19.0
3. Safarli,Eltaj
GM
2678
AZE
4.5
20.0
4. Bachmann,Axel
GM
2649
PAR
4.5
19.5
5. Kunin,Vitaly
GM
2592
GER
4.5
19.5
6. Sethuraman,S P.
GM
2656
IND
4.5
19.5
7. Saric,Ivan
GM
2660
CRO
4.5
19.0
8. Khairullin,Ildar
GM
2629
RUS
4.5
19.0
9. Vitiugov,Nikita
GM
2728
RUS
4.5
18.5
9. Salem,A R. Saleh
GM
2608
UAE
4.5
18.5
11. Bartel,Mateusz
GM
2649
POL
4.5
18.5
12. Baklan,Vladimir
GM
2618
UKR
4.5
18.0
13. Erdos,Viktor
GM
2578
HUN
4.5
17.0
14. Jumabayev,Rinat
GM
2613
KAZ
4.5
16.5
15. Henrichs,Thomas
IM
2471
GER
4.5
13.0
16. Sasikiran,Krishna
GM
2639
IND
4.0
21.5
17. Gozzoli,Yannick
GM
2571
FRA
4.0
19.0
18. Meier,Georg
GM
2657
GER
4.0
19.0
19. AL-Sayed,Mohammed
GM
2524
QAT
4.0
19.0
20. Bellahcene,Bilel
IM
2498
FRA
4.0
18.0
21. Rodshtein,Maxim
GM
2698
ISR
4.0
17.5
22. Karthikeyan,Mural
GM
2513
IND
4.0
17.5
23. Stany,G A.
IM
2476
IND
4.0
17.5
24. Edouard,Romain
GM
2639
FRA
4.0
17.5
25. Brkic,Ante
GM
2585
CRO
4.0
17.0
26. Bellaiche,Anthony
IM
2499
FRA
4.0
16.0
27. Henderson de La F
 
2258
ESP
4.0
15.5
28. Nitin,S
IM
2398
IND
4.0
15.5
29. Kovchan,Alexander
GM
2576
UKR
3.5
21.5
29. Kraemer,Martin
GM
2567
GER
3.5
21.5

Click for complete standings


Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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footloose4 footloose4 8/1/2016 03:00
How did Svidler lose that game against Rambaldi? On time? Did they play with increments?
Bertman Bertman 8/1/2016 06:56
@footloose4 Although the full video of the day is available on YouTube, offhand my guess would be that he lost on time. He had time management issues as seen in game two of his blitz against MVL.
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