Biel R3: Carlsen, Onischuk win, Carlsen leads

7/22/2008 – After three rounds of play the top seed in the Grandmaster Tournament in Biel, 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen, already has two victories under his belt. In an aggressive game against top French GM Etienne Bacrot, after a little hiccup the Norwegian took the point in 31 moves. Alexander Onischuk needed 57 to grind down Yannick Pelletier and join Evgeny Alekseev in second place. Round three report.

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The 41st Biel International Chess Festival is taking place from July 20th - 31st, 2008. The Grandmaster Tournament is a category 18 event with an average rating of 2686. Biel is located in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, on the north eastern shore of Lake Biel. It is a thoroughly bilingual town – called Biel in German, Bienne in French. Since 2005 the official name has been "Biel/Bienne". About two thirds of the population of 52,000 speak German, one third French.

Round 3: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Leinier Dominguez 
½-½
 Evgeny Alekseev
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Alexander Onischuk 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier

Leinier Dominguez-Evgeny Alekseev
22-year-old Russian GM Alekseev played the Berlin Defence against his two years older colleague Dominguez from Cuba. Both have exactly the same rating, 2708, and the game was a well-balanced struggle that ended after 36 moves in an opposite bishop draw.

Magnus Carlsen-Etienne Bacrot
The two players skirted around different Slav possibilities, with Carlsen going for the sharpest lines. The game transposed into the main line of a Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation, with Magnus still playing the sharpest moves available. Bacrot deviated on move 14 from a 2006 game between Zhao Jianchao and A. Kim in Yerevan (draw in 30 moves). Carlsen kept up the pressure, sacrificing a pawn on move 22. By move 29 he had regained it and was pressing for a win.

Carlsen,M (2775) - Bacrot,E (2691) [D43]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (3), 22.07.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Be7 8.Qc2 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.0-0-0 Nb6 11.h3 Be6 12.Bd3 0-0-0 13.Kb1 Kb8 14.Nd2 g6 15.Nb3 Ng7 16.f3 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Nxf5 18.Rhe1 Nc4 19.Qc1 Qg5 20.g4 Ng7 21.f4 Qh4 22.e4 Qxh3 23.exd5 cxd5 24.Nc5 Ne6 25.b3

We were dictating the game to Garry Kasparov, who is on a seaside vacation, and his reaction at this point was: wait, Nd6 and Black can win, can't he? Indeed our chess engines seemed to agree with Kasparov's lines: 25...Nd6 (Kasparov: "This is a move you play automatically – and work out the variations later") 26.Nxd5 (Kasparov: "Or maybe 26.g5 is White's best chance to hold a draw?!") 26...Qxg4 (Kasparov: "Or 26...Nb5, both with good winning chances"). The rest of the impromptu analysis was drowned by the waves of the Mediterranean... 25...Nxc5? Now Carlsen is back in the driving seat. 26.dxc5 Na5 27.b4 Nc4 28.Nxd5 Na3+ 29.Ka1

Now White is close to a win, when Black makes it easy for him: instead of a move like 29...Nb5 (Re3 is threatened) Bacrot plays the lemon 29...Rhe8?? This allows immediately 30.c6! bxc6 31.Qxc6 and Black's position has collapsed. For instance the game could continue 31...Qf3 32.Qc7+ Ka8 33.Nb6+ axb6 34.Rxd8+ Rxd8 35.Qxd8+ Ka7 36.Qd7+ Qb7 37.Qa4+ Kb8 38.Re8+ Kc7 39.Re7+ etc. 1-0.


Magnus relaxes with some informal games on the deck by the lake

Alexander Onischuk-Yannick Pelletier
The Swiss GM Pelletier played an ambitious Queen's Indian and pinned his hopes on an advanced d-pawn. However, things did not work out favourably for him and to add to his problems his US opponent handled the rook ending perfectly, converting the extra pawn into a full point.

Onischuk,Al (2670) - Pelletier,Y (2569) [E15]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (3), 22.07.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 Bb4 6.Qc2 0-0 7.Bg2 d5 8.0-0 c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Ne4 Nb4 12.Qd2 Be7 13.a3 Qxd2 14.Bxd2 Nd5 15.Nd4 Bc5 16.Nxc5 bxc5 17.Nf5 Nc6 18.Rfc1 Nd4 19.Nxd4 cxd4 20.Bb4 Rfd8 21.Bc5 e5 22.Rc2 Rac8 23.Rac1 Nc3 24.bxc3 Rxc5 25.cxd4 Rxc2 26.Rxc2 exd4 27.Be4 Kf8 28.f3 Ke7 29.Kf2

29...d3?! 30.Rc7+ Kf8 31.Rxa7 d2 32.Bc2 Rc8 33.Bd1 Rc1 34.Rxa6 Rxd1

White is a pawn up, and Black cannot make decisive progress with his d-pawn after 35.Ke3. He is going to be simply a pawn down, with the daunting task of having to stop White's distant passer. 35...h5 36.a4 Rh1 37.Kxd2 Rxh2 38.Rc6 h4 39.gxh4 Rxh4 40.a5 Ra4 41.a6 g5 42.e4 Ke7 43.Kc3 Kd7 44.Rf6 Ke7 45.Rb6 Kd7 46.Kb3 Ra1 47.Kc4 Ra3 48.Kb4 Ra1 49.Kb5 Rb1+ 50.Kc5 Rc1+ 51.Kd5 Ra1

52.Rb7+ Kc8 53.Rxf7 Rxa6 54.Ke5 Ra1 55.Kf6 Rg1 56.e5 Rg3 57.Ke7 1-0.

Current standings

We do not want to start staring, transfixed, at the rating performance of Magnus Carlsen, or wondering what his live rating might be. It is too early in the tournament for that. Instead we bring you some notes on the top seed, taken from the tournament web site.

Magnus Carlsen

Norway, 17 years old
Elo: 2775
World ranking: 6

Date and place of birth: 30.11.1990 in Lommedalen
Lives in: Lommedalen
National ranking: 1
World junior ranking: 1
Best world ranking: 5 (April 2008)
Previous results in Biel: 2005 (6th), 2006 (2nd), 2007 (Winner)

Number 2 in the World… actually

In the last few years, it has not been difficult to predict a glorious future for Magnus Carlsen. Nevertheless, few had foreseen such a precocious and mind-blowing breakthrough, especially in the last year. It was in Biel, at the 2007 Grandmaster Tournament, that he began his unstoppable rise. He clinched the gold medal of the 40th jubilee edition of the Festival, ranking first with 5.5 points in 9 games, and beating U.S. player Alexander Onischuk in the tie-break.

In the summer of 2008, one should take the FIDE rankings with caution: Carlsen is ranked 6th in the world, with 2775 points. In fact, for administrative and timing reasons, the ranking does not yet take into account the results of the Foros tournament (Ukraine), which Carlsen brilliantly won in mid-June. In this case, he would have reached 2792 points Elo and would stand at the second place of the world’s top players list, just behind Viswanathan Anand.

Thus, Magnus Carlsen is actually number 2 in the world, and he is only 17. It has been an incredible year: at the end of 2007, he reached the semi-finals of the World Cup (in Russia, with 128 participants). It was only the beginning. A month later, he shared the first place of the prestigious tournament of Wijk aan Zee (Netherlands) with 8 points in 13 matches, with players of the caliber of Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk or Leko trailing him. There was no doubt: he was now part of the world elite. He confirmed it a month later in Morelia/Linares (Mexico/Spain) with an extraordinary second place. In April, he won in Baku (Azerbaijan), in the first Grand Prix that counts for the world championship.

In spite of his young age, Magnus Carlsen is already considered an exceptional grandmaster, and he takes advantage of every position on the chessboard. Most of all, he is very creative. He recently added risky and dangerous openings to his repertoire. Carlsen is an authentic, multi-talented artist, whose rise to the top should only be a matter of time.

It was in Biel in 2005 that Magnus Carlsen took part in his first high-level closed competition. He was 14 then. In his 4th consecutive participation, the champion from Lommedalen (a suburb of Oslo) is the favorite of the 2008 edition. Chess connoisseurs are looking forward to enjoying his attractive matches.

Simon Kümin (olb/bs)

Europe Echecs videos reports

These reports are provided by Echecs.com, which is doing extensive coverage of the Biel Tournament

Round 1: Sunday, July 22, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Leinier Dominguez 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Round 2: Monday, July 21, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
½-½
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Round 3: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Leinier Dominguez 
½-½
 Evgeny Alekseev
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Alexander Onischuk 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Round 4: Thursday, July 24, 2008
Yannick Pelletier 
-
 Evgeny Alekseev
Alexander Onischuk 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Leinier Dominguez 
-
 Etienne Bacrot
Games – Report
Round 5: Friday, July 25, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
-
 Alexander Onischuk
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Yannick Pelletier
Games – Report
Round 6: Saturday, July 26, 2008
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Evgeny Alekseev
Yannick Pelletier 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Onischuk 
-
 Leinier Dominguez
Games – Report
Round 7: Monday, July 28, 2008

Magnus Carlsen 

-
 Evgeny Alekseev

Leinier Dominguez 

-
 Yannick Pelletier

Alexander Onischuk 

-
 Etienne Bacrot
Games – Report
Round 8: Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
-
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
-
 Alexander Onischuk
Games – Report
Round 9: Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Alexander Onischuk 
-
 Evgeny Alekseev
Leinier Dominguez 
-
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
-
 Etienne Bacrot
Games – Report
Round 10: Thursday, July 31, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
-
 Yannick Pelletier
Magnus Carlsen 
-
 Alexander Onischuk
Etienne Bacrot 
-
 Leinier Dominguez
Games – Report

Links

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