Biel: Kamsky extends lead

by André Schulz
8/3/2021 – In round 5 of the Grandmaster Tournament at the Biel Chess Festival, Gata Kamsky won with Black against Alan Pichot and extended his lead as his closest rivals Kirill Alekseenko and Nihal Sarin both drew: Alekseenko against Noel Studer, Sarin against Vincent Keymer. In the MTO Master Open the Indian Grandmaster Murali Karthikeyan defended his lead. | Photos: Biel Chess Festival

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Kamsky is coming closer to winning the tournament

The Grandmaster Tournament in Biel is a triathlon, consisting of a blitz and a rapid tournament and a tournament with classical time-control. Before the blitz tournament on Sunday Kamsky had a clear lead, but the blitz tournament, which was won by Nihal Sarin and in which Kamsky was in trouble, brought Nihal Sarin and Kirill Alekseenko dangerously close to Kamsky in the overall rankings.

But in this critical situation Kamsky showed good nerves and in round 5 of the classical tournament he won a crucial game with Black against Alan Pichot.

A. Pichot (2630) - G. Kamsky (2658) B12

54th Biel GMT Classical 2021 Biel (5.3), 02.08.2021

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 Qb6 A useful waiting move. But 4...h5 or 4...h6 are good alternatives.

5.g4 5.Sc3

5...Bd7 6.h5 c5 Here Black has also tried 6...e6 a couple of times.

7.dxc5 Qxc5 8.c3 Nh6 9.Be2 Nc6 10.Be3 Qa5 11.f4 Advancing the pawns on the kingside allows White to gain space but it also creates weaknesses.

11...f6!? More solid was 11...e6

12.b4 12.exf6 exf6 13.b4 Qc7 14.Qxd5 0–0–0 would be fine for Black.

12...Qc7 13.b5 Nd8 14.Qxd5 Nxg4 15.Bd4 Both players seem to follow the rules of "No Castling" chess and leave their kings in the center.

15...Nh6 16.Qc4 Qa5 17.Nd2 Rc8 18.Qd5 Giving Black a tempo. 18.Qb3!? with the idea 18...Be6 19.Bc4 was an alternative.

18...e6 18...Be6 19.Qf3

19.Qb3 19.Qf3 fxe5 20.Bxe5 Ndf7 21.Bd4 Nf5 with the idea to exchange on d4 and to play Bb4.

19...Nf5 Again threatening to exchange on d4 and to activate the Bf8.

20.h6 g6 21.exf6 21.Ngf3 Nxd4 22.cxd4 Rc3 23.Qd1 Bxb5 24.Bxb5+ Qxb5 25.Qe2 and White is okay.

21...Nxd4 22.cxd4 Bb4 23.Rd1? After this move White is definitely on the defensive. After 23.Ngf3 0–0 24.a3 Bxd2+ 25.Nxd2 Rxf6 26.Qb4 Qc7 27.0–0 White is still in the game.

23...0–0 24.Ngf3 Rc3 25.Qb1 Bxb5 26.Qe4? This loses immediately. Necessary was 26.Kf2

26...Bc6 27.Qe5 Rxf3


Boris Gelfand won with White against Maxime Lagarde. The French player tried an experimental opening and reached equality but then was outplayed by Gelfand.


Nihal Sarin vs Vincent Keymer

The game between Nihal Sarin and Vincent Keymer ended with a draw. As did the game between Alekseenko and Studer though Alekseenko tried for a long time to win in the endgame.

Overall standings

Rank Name Games Classical Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Gata Kamsky 26 12½ 11 6 29½
2 GM Kirill Alekseenko 26 8 9 25½
  GM Nihal Sarin 26 6 10 25½
4 GM Maxime Lagarde 26 7 9 7 23
5 GM Boris Gelfand 26 11 4 7 22
6 GM Vincent Keymer 26 6 7 21½
7 GM Alan Pichot 26 7 5 18½
8 GM Noel Studer 26 3 4 15½

MTO Master Open

Murali Karthikeyan from India continues to lead the the MTO Master Open after drawing in round 7 against his close rival Pavel Eljanov. With 6.0/7 Karthikeyan is still sole leader and half a point ahead of Eljanov. Eight players follow with 5.0/7 each, one of them is Praggnanandhaa.

Murali Karthikeyan

Games GM Tournament


Standings MTO Master Open

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Murali Karthikeyan 6,0 27,5
2 Eljanov Pavel 5,5 28,5
3 Saleh Salem A.R. 5,0 28,5
4 Ganguly Surya Shekhar 5,0 28,0
5 Banusz Tamas 5,0 27,5
6 R Praggnanandhaa 5,0 26,5
7 Chigaev Maksim 5,0 25,0
8 Erdos Viktor 5,0 24,5
9 Kantor Gergely 5,0 23,5
10 Gukesh Dommaraju 5,0 23,0
11 Raja Harshit 4,5 29,0
12 Wagner Dennis 4,5 28,5
13 Vaishali R 4,5 28,0
14 Kalyan Arjun 4,5 27,0
15 Fedorchuk Sergey 4,5 26,5
16 Sethuraman S.P. 4,5 25,5
17 Erigaisi Arjun 4,5 25,0
18 Tang Andrew 4,5 24,5
19 NR Vignesh 4,5 23,0
20 Sadhwani Raunak 4,5 23,0

73 players


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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