Biel R4: Evgeny Alekseev and Leinier Dominguez win

7/24/2008 – Before this round Magnus Carlsen was just two points behind Vishy Anand in the inofficial "live ratings". A win would have put him over the top. But that was not to be: Carlsen drew against Alexander Onischuk with black. Meanwhile Bacrot and Pelletier continued their losing streak, falling to Dominguez and Alekseev respectively. The latter joins Carlsen in the lead. Round four 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 is "Biel/Bienne". About two thirds of the population of 52,000 speak German, one third French.

Round 4: Thursday, July 24, 2008
Yannick Pelletier 
0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev
Alexander Onischuk 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Leinier Dominguez 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot

Leinier Dominguez – Etienne Bacrot
This is not his tournament, definitely not. Etienne Bacrot faced and Anti-Marshall in the closed Ruy Lopez, set up by his Cuban opponent, and seemed to be doing fine. Then, around move 32, with the French GM once again under time pressure, things started to go horribly wrong.


Etienne Bacrot at the start of round four


Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez

Dominguez Perez,L (2708) - Bacrot,E (2691) [C88]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (4), 24.07.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Nf1 Bc8 14.c3 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.b4 Qd7 17.Ng3 a5 18.bxc5 dxc5 19.Qb3 Rfb8 20.a4 b4 21.Be3 c4 22.Qxc4 bxc3 23.Red1 Bb4 24.Rac1 Rc8 25.Qa2 Qd6 26.Ne2 Nd8 27.d4 Nxe4 28.dxe5 Qa6 29.Nf4 Rc4 30.Nd4 Rac8 31.Nb5 Nf7 32.Qc2

32...Bc5?! (after 32...Nxe5 Black was okay) 33.Nd4 Bxd4 34.Rxd4 Qc6 35.Nxe6 Nxe5 36.Rcd1 Nd2?! Now was certainly the time to play 36...Qxe6. 37.Ng5 Qg6 38.Rxc4 Ndxc4 39.Qxc3. Black is a pawn down without any tangible compensation. 39...h6 40.Bf4 Qf5 41.Bxe5 Nxe5 42.Qb3+ Kh8 43.Ne6 Qe4 44.Qd5

44...Qxa4? Out of the frying pan... 45.Rd4 Qa1+ 46.Kh2. The knight is lost, whichever way you look at it. 46...Ng6 47.Qf5 Kh7 48.h4 Qe1 49.Re4 1-0. [Click to replay]


Yannik Pelletier-Evgeny Alekseev
Another jinxed player in this event is Yannick Pelletier, top native-Swiss grandmaster (Vadim Milov and Viktor Korchnoi are above him on the rating list). He went down to his Russian opponent after unambitious play in the Ragozin and a blunder on move 23.


Down in the dumps: Yannick Pelletier, strongest native-born Swiss grandmaster


Evgeny Alekseev playing against Yannick Pelletier in round four

Pelletier,Y (2569) - Alekseev,Evgeny (2708) [D38]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (4), 24.07.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Qb3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.Qxc3 b6 11.e3 0-0 12.Be2 Nd7 13.0-0 Bb7 14.Rfc1 c4 15.a4 a6 16.Qb4 Bc6 17.Nd2 b5 18.axb5 axb5 19.b3 Qg6 20.Bf3 Rfb8 21.h3 Rxa1 22.Rxa1 Qc2

23.Nb1? This simply cannot be a good move, as Alekseev immediately goes on to prove. 23...Qc1+ 24.Kh2 Qb2 25.Qc3?! Not the best way to defend the rook – why not counter-attack with 25.Ra6? After the text move Alekseev easily ground out a win. 25...Qxf2 26.bxc4 bxc4 27.Nd2 Rc8 28.Ra5 Nf6 29.Rc5 Bd7 30.Rxc8+ Bxc8 31.Nb3 Bf5 32.Nc5 g5 33.Qa3 Kg7 34.Nb7 g4 35.hxg4 Bxg4 0-1. [Click to replay]


Alexander Onischuk-Magnus Carlsen
Before this game calculations showed Carlsen overtaking Vassily Ivanchuk and once again taking up second place on the live rating list, just two points behind Vishy Anand. A victory would have taken him over the top, but a victory was not in the books for the Norwegian GM in this round.


US grandmaster Alexander Onischuk


Magnus Carlsen adjusts his pieces at the start of round four

Onischuk,Al (2670) - Carlsen,M (2775) [D19]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (4), 24.07.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Qe2 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 0-0 12.Rd1 e5

13.d5!? Bxc3 14.dxc6 e4 15.Qe2 Be5 16.cxd7 Qe7 17.Ra2 Rfd8 18.b3 Rxd7 19.Rxd7 Qxd7 20.Rd2 Qe7 21.Rd1 h6. These nerve-racking tactics had spectators agog, but it turns out that it was all played before, e.g. in L'Ami-Hector, Malmö 2007 (L'Ami won in 40 moves). Both players seemed to know the line well enough and did not let any unnecessary problems arise. 22.Qa2 Rd8 23.Rxd8+ Qxd8 24.Qd2 Qe7 25.Qa5 b6 26.Qd2 a5 27.Bb2 Bxb2 28.Qxb2 Kf8 29.Qd4 Qc7 30.Kf1 Ke7 31.Ke2 g5 32.g3 Qc5 33.Qxc5+ bxc5 34.f4 Ne8 35.g4 Nd6 36.Bd5 Kf6 37.Kf2 Kg6 38.Kg3 f6 39.Be6 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Current standings

Two players are heading the table, both with two wins and two draws. Evgeny Alekseev's performance is 2876, higher than Carlsen's 2850, since Alekseev has faced the higher ranked players (including Magnus Carlsen, who cannot play himself). Here are some notes on the Russian GM from the tournament web site.

Photos by Pascal Simon in Biel

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 
0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev
Alexander Onischuk 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Leinier Dominguez 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
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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