Biel Chess Festival 2021: All winners

by ChessBase
8/6/2021 – Gata Kamsky won the Grandmaster Triathlon of the Biel Chess Festival. But there were many more winners: the Master Open was won by Salem Saleh in a photo finish. The best woman player was Vaishali. In the Amateur Open, the juniors dominated and the youngest on the podium was eleven-year-old Neeraj Harish from the USA. On the rest day, the players got insights into parts of life in Switzerland. | Photos: Schachfestival Biel

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Gata Kamsky wins the 54th Biel Chess Festival!

Press release, 4 August 2021

With an unchallenged win against Keymer, Gata Kamsky secured victory at the Biel Chess Festival 2021. The American was convincing as the best player in the classical games and the rapid during the 12 days of Biel and was thus able to compensate for his weakness in the blitz without any problems. He is followed in second place by Kirill Alekseenko, with Indian young star Nihal Sarin in third.

Kirill Alekseenko, Gata Kamsky, Nihal Sarin

Vincent Keymer and Gata Kamsky during their last-round game

Gata Kamsky explains the game

The top-class Master Tournament was won by Emirati Salem Saleh, ahead of Karthikeyan Murali from India, who tied on points. Hungarian Tamás Bánusz placed third.

In 1993, Gata Kamsky reached third place at the Interzone Tournament in Biel as a 19-year-old. Thanks to this he qualified for the Candidates Tournament 1994/95, which he won and he was thus allowed to compete against Anatoly Karpov for the World Championship title in 1996. Although he lost this series, the tournament in Biel was the beginning of his runner-up title. Now, 28 years later, Kamsky has come full circle by winning the Biel Chess Festival 2021!

Second place goes to Kirill Alekseenko, who had to settle for a draw against Alan Pichot today and thus could no longer threaten Kamsky. The Russian had to earn his second place hard: No other player spent more time at the board and played more moves in the classical games of the Grandmaster Triathlon. Alekseenko needed a total of 37 hours and 27 minutes for the seven games!

Nihal Sarin finished the tournament in third place. The young Indian star, who replaced his compatriot Praggnanandhaa who was still playing at the World Cup in Sotchi, showed excellent games in blitz and rapid chess. In the classical games, after a defeat in the first round, he drew all the following games, which ultimately earned him the third place.

The participants of the Grandmaster Tournament with Ana Srebenic and Peter Bohnenblust

Final ranking

Rank Name Games Classical Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Gata Kamsky 28 18 11 6 35
2 GM Kirill Alekseenko 28 14 8 9 31
3 GM Nihal Sarin 28 9 10 28½
4 GM Boris Gelfand 28 15 4 7 26
  GM Maxime Lagarde 28 10 9 7 26
6 GM Vincent Keymer 28 12½ 6 7 25½
7 GM Alan Pichot 28 10 5 21½
8 GM Noel Studer 28 3 4 15½

The games of the Classical Tournament


During an excursion the players experienced Swiss music

Tournament director Peter Bohnenblust during the winner's ceremony

Master Tournament: Salem Saleh surpasses Karthikeyan

Salem Saleh (VAE)
Karthikeyan Murali (IND)
Tamás Bánusz (UNG)

Thanks to today's win over Pavel Eljanov, Salem Saleh was able to overtake Karthikeyan Murali, who had been leading for four rounds, to secure victory in the 2021 Master Tournament MTO. The Emirati, who was seeded number 1, thus finally lived up to his role as favourite. He is followed by Karthikeyan Murali, who started the tournament as number 12, and the Hungarian Tamás Bánusz on the other places of the podium. As the best Swiss, Fabian Bänziger finished the tournament in 38th place.

The winners of the Master Open

Master Tournament (Women): Vaishali prevails

Vaishali (IND)
Jovana Eric (SRB)
Tijana Blagojević (SRB)

India's Vaishali proved to be the best player among the ten women participating in the MTO - thanks to this success in Biel, she has now reached the standard for the title of International Master (IM)! However, the field of participants proved to be extremely balanced: six other women players also achieved 4.5 points in the overall ranking, with the two Serbians Jovana Eric and Tijana Blagojević coming second and third. Obviously, the prize money for the best female players, which thanks to the support of FIDE was significantly increased, provided additional motivation!

The winners of the women's tournament

Final ranking

Rg. Name Pts.  Tb1 
1 Saleh Salem A.R. 7,0 47,5
2 Murali Karthikeyan 7,0 46,0
3 Banusz Tamas 6,5 47,0
4 Erdos Viktor 6,5 43,0
5 Gukesh Dommaraju 6,5 41,5
6 Erigaisi Arjun 6,5 41,0
7 Ganguly Surya Shekhar 6,0 47,5
8 Eljanov Pavel 6,0 46,0
9 Fedorchuk Sergey 6,0 42,5
10 Kantor Gergely 6,0 40,0
11 Wagner Dennis 5,5 46,0
12 Sethuraman S.P. 5,5 45,5
13 R Praggnanandhaa 5,5 45,0
14 Chigaev Maksim 5,5 43,0
15 Valsecchi Alessio 5,5 43,0
16 Tang Andrew 5,5 42,5
17 Narayanan S.L. 5,5 42,5
18 Sadhwani Raunak 5,5 41,5
19 Puranik Abhimanyu 5,5 41,0
20 NR Visakh 5,5 40,0
21 Budisavljevic Luka 5,5 39,5
22 Yuffa Daniil 5,5 38,5
23 Raja Harshit 5,0 47,0




Amateur Tournament: Youth triumphs

Up-and-coming juniors

Wissam Pheng (FRA)
Grégoire Tissier (SUI)
Neeraj Harish (USA)

The first places in the Amateur Tournament ATO were occupied by young players this year: The two students of the EPF Lausanne Wissam Pheng and Grégoire Tissier took first and second place, third was the only 11-year-old (!) Neeraj Harish from the USA.

The winners of the Amateur Open

Final ranking

Rg. Name Pts.  Tb1 
1 Pheng Wissam 8,0 49,5
2 Tissier Grégoire 7,5 51,0
3 Harish Neeraj 7,0 52,5
4 Salem Ahmed Salem 7,0 50,5
5 Saif Ahmed 7,0 47,5
6 Ahmed Fareed 7,0 47,0
7 Wanner Stefan 6,5 47,0
8 Collin Moritz Valentin 6,5 46,5
9 Pedagandham Saketh 6,5 43,5
10 Jaggy Matteo 6,5 43,5
11 Hecht Jonas 6,5 42,5
12 Arulanantham Aneet 6,0 49,0
13 Ali Abdulaziz 6,0 45,5
14 Musaelyan Arshavir 6,0 45,0
15 Corbat Philippe 6,0 45,0

120 players


Games ATO




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