Biel: Fighting chess, four ways!

by Sebastian Siebrecht
7/28/2020 – After the rest day, the grandmasters showed themselves to be in a fighting mood in the invitational tournament. Harikrishna won the top game of the day, while Vincent Keymer’s balance sheet reads like a binary code: 1 0 1 0 1. Sebastian Siebrecht reports. | Photos: Simon Bohnenblust, Sebastian Siebrecht

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Great fighting chess, Keymer beats Studer

The fifth round of the classical chess GM Tournament gave us four fantastic fighting games, just the way the spectators love it. After a rest day, which included relaxed miniature golf, the players were full of ideas and playfulness.


Vincent Keymer played the sharp 4.f3 variation against the Nimzo-Indian put forth by Noël Studer and showed himself to be well-prepared. Up till the 17th move, the young German made his moves in a matter of seconds. Studer had to give up the exchange and was looking for counterplay. But Keymer was able to come up with precise moves even after the material win and further improved his position. He ended the game with tactical skirmishes, and is now back in contention with those atop the leader board. In classical chess he has a strong 3 points from 5 games. 

The absolute top pairing between Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Pentala Harikrishna was also a delight to watch. A Slav turned into a lively punch and jab with opposite castling and king attacks on both sides. 

The Indian was finally able to settle into a better endgame and scored with black. So he used his chance to get close to Wojtaszek in the overall standings, and made the fight for tournament victory exciting again.


[This is not a typical position in the Slav Variation of the Queen’s Gambit.]

22...b3 23.Qxc3 bxa2+ 24.Ka1 Bb4 25.Qc2 Bxe1 26.h6? [Better was 26.Rdxe1 Rfc8 27.Rc1 and White plays on the c-file.]

26...Rfc8 27.Rdxe1 Nb4 28.Qxc7 Rxc7 29.hxg7 [After the forced sequence, Black gets the better endgame.]

29...Nc2+! [29...Kxg7 30.Bf3 Rb8 31.Reg1 is less clear.]

30.Kxa2 Nxe1 31.Rh8+ Kxg7 32.Rxa8 Nxg2 33.Rxa6 Nxe3 34.Ra3 Nf5 [34...Nc2 was a bit more precise because of the fork on b4 after Rd3.]

35.Rd3 Rd7 36.d5 [Waste of time. Better was 36.b4]

36...Rxd5 37.Rxd5 exd5 38.b4 Nd4 39.Bg4 [39.Bf1 Kf8 and wins.]


39...Nc6 40.b5 Nxe5 41.b6 Kf6 42.b7 Nc6 43.Ka3 Ke5 44.Ka4 Kd6 45.Kb5 Kc7 46.Kc5 Ne7 [Black shows clean technique.]

47.b8Q+ Kxb8 48.Kd6 f5 49.Bd1 g4 50.Ke5 [50.Kxe7 g3 51.Bf3 d4; 50.Ke5 Ng6+ 51.Kd4 g3 52.Bf3 Nh4] 0–1

The Spaniard David Antón Gujiarro seems to be getting going in Biel. It seemed that he had teething problems in all disciplines so far, but today he played a typical masterpiece against Michael Adams, who had recently caused a sensation.


After a slow opening, the Spaniard was able to stage a dangerous kingside attack. With the white camp thus weakened, he was able to penetrate decisively into the position and close the game with a mating attack.

Adams with his wife Tara MacGowran

The game between Romain Édouard and Arkadij Naiditsch was also turbulent and razor sharp. Both players aimed for the full point very creatively. In the end, the Frenchman had the better chances, but he couldn’t finish off the game.


Today Vincent Keymer is challenging the leader of the standings, Poland’s Radoslaw Wojtaszek. We are curious to see if there will be fireworks again!

Overall standings - GM Tournament

Rank Name Classical Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek 12 11 31½
2 GM Pentala Harikrishna 12½ 10 6 28½
3 GM Michael Adams 8 11 27½
4 GM Vincent Keymer  12 10 26½
5 GM David Antón Guijarro 4 22
6 GM Arkadij Naiditsch 7 5 18½
7 GM Noël Studer 7 3 5 15
8 GM Romain Édouard 6 4 13½

All games - GM Tournament


Main Corona Tournament

In the main Corona Tournament, the French grandmaster Christian Bauer was able to extend his lead, winning against German IM Adrian Gschnitzer.

Christian Bauer

So far, 16-year-old Phileas Mathieu from France has been surprisingly strong, and he is in second place with an impressive 6/7. Three Germans are in the chasing group with 5½ points.

Frank Buchenau

The FM Frank Buchenau from Göttingen settled for a draw against GM Bilel Bellahcene.

Standings after round 7 - Open

Rg. Name Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 Bauer Christian 6,5 31,5
2 Mathieu Phileas 6,0 27,5
3 Buchenau Frank 5,5 30,5
4 Meins Gerlef 5,5 30,0
5 Baenziger Fabian 5,5 28,5
6 Bellahcene Bilel 5,5 28,0
7 Fecker Noah 5,5 28,0
8 Siebrecht Sebastian 5,5 26,0
9 Saya Ethan 5,5 26,0
10 Kamber Bruno 5,5 25,5
11 Rohrer Christophe 5,0 29,0
12 Gschnitzer Adrian 5,0 28,5
13 Schulz Michael 5,0 27,5
14 Pham Khoi 5,0 26,0
15 Adrian Claude 5,0 26,0

...138 participants

In the final round, the course for the tournament victory is set: on the first board, 16-year-old Swiss FM Noah Fecker challenges the tournament leader.

Incidentally: the Swiss love to eat fondue, even in the middle of summer. Whether in a restaurant, by the lake, or in the private gathering of the organisers.


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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