Biel R7: Dominguez, Alekseev, Bacrot win, Dominguez leads

7/28/2008 – We had almost forgotten that it was possible: Magnus Carlsen can lose a game. The Norwegian pressed for a win against Evgeny Alekseev for over 70 moves and then lost a pawn race. Leinier Dominguez defeated the luckless Yannick Pelletier to take over the lead from Carlsen, and Etienne Bacrot continued his comeback with a black win over Alexander Onischuk. Round seven 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 7: Monday, July 28, 2008

Magnus Carlsen 

0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev

Leinier Dominguez 

1-0
 Yannick Pelletier

Alexander Onischuk 

0-1
 Etienne Bacrot

Carlsen,M (2775) - Alekseev,Evgeny (2708) [C65]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (7), 28.07.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nxe5 Qd4 8.Be3 Qxe5 9.d4 Qe7 10.dxc5 Nxe4 11.Qd4 Bf5 12.0-0-0 Rad8 13.Qb4 Qe6 14.Kb1 b5 15.b3 Qe5 16.Nxe4 Bxe4 17.Bd4 Qf5 18.Qc3 f6 19.f3 Bd5 20.Rhe1 Rd7 21.Bf2 Rfd8 22.Rd4 h5 23.h3 Bf7 24.g4 hxg4 25.hxg4 Qg5 26.Kb2 Rxd4 27.Bxd4 Qd5 28.Rd1 b4 29.Qxb4 Qxf3 30.Rd2 Qxg4 31.Bc3 Qc8 32.Rg2 Bd5 33.Rg1 Qf5 34.Qb7 Kf7 35.Qxc7+ Rd7 36.Qc8 Be4 37.Qh8 Qh7 38.Qc8 Qf5 39.Rf1 Qe6 40.Qh8 Re7 41.Rd1 Re8 42.Qh2 Bf5 43.Rd2 Re7 44.Qb8 Rd7 45.Rf2 Bg6 46.Rh2 Qe8 47.Qg3 Qe4 48.Rg2 Re7 49.Rd2 Rb7 50.Qh2 Re7 51.Qb8 Bf5 52.a4 Bg6 53.a5 Bf5 54.a6 Bg6 55.Qg3 Bf5 56.Rg2 Bg6 57.Rh2 Bf5 58.Qb8 Bg6 59.Ka3 Bh7 60.Rd2 Bf5 61.Qh8 Qe3 62.Kb2 Qe4 63.Rf2 Qg4 64.Qh2 Bg6 65.Qd6 Qe6

The white queen has seen quite a bit of the board – Carlsen moved it more and further than most people do in an entire tournament. It went Qd1-d4-b4-c3-b4-b7-c7-c8-h8-c8-h8-h2-b8-g3-h2-b8-g3-b8-h8-h2-d6, a long-distance trip that is only inadaquately shown in the following "piece path" diagram generated by ChessBase (the program):

Now the young Norwegian, who has been probing for a black weakness, decides to trade queens and go for a pawn race, not the best decision so far. 66.Qxe6+? Kxe6 67.Ba5 Be4. Against the check on e2 with following rook exchange and tricks with Bb6. 68.c4 g5 69.Bd2 Rg7 70.Re2 f5 71.b4 g4 72.b5 cxb5 73.cxb5 g3 74.Re1 Kd5

The position has become quite bleak for Carlsen, with the two completely free black pawns posing a greater threat than the white ones, which cannot advance as easily on the queenside. 75.Be3? The immediate 75.b6 was better, e.g. 75...Kxc5 76.Be3+ Kb5 77.b7 Bxb7 78.axb7 Rxb7 with drawing chances. 75...Bd3 76.Rd1 [again 76.b6 was probably better] 76...Ke4 77.Rxd3? Loses the game. Both players were in serious time touble, but Alekseev handles the rest impeccably. 77...Kxd3 78.Bg1 f4 79.b6 f3 80.b7 Rg8 81.c6

81...f2 82.c7 fxg1Q 83.c8Q Qd4+ 84.Ka2 and because he saw 84...Rxc8 85.bxc8Q Qc4+ 86.Qxc4+ Kxc4 coming Magnus Carlsen resigned. 0-1.


Defeated Carlsen with black: Evgeny Alekseev of Russia


Dominguez Perez,L (2708) - Pelletier,Y (2569) [C88]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (7), 28.07.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 b4 9.d3 d6 10.Nbd2 Na5 11.Ba2 Rb8 12.c3 bxc3 13.bxc3 c5 14.d4 cxd4 15.cxd4 Nc6 16.Ba3 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 exd4 18.Nf3 Bb7 19.Qd3 d5 20.Bxe7 Qxe7 21.exd5 Qd8 22.Rab1 Bxd5 23.Rxb8 Qxb8 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Qxd4 Nf6 26.h3 Qc7 27.Rb1 Rd8 28.Rb7 Qc8 29.Qb6 h6 30.Rc7 Qf5 31.Rc1 Rc8 32.Re1 Qd3 33.Qb7 Rf8 34.a5 Nd5 35.Qd7 Nf4 36.Qxd3 Nxd3 37.Rd1 Nc5 38.Rd6 Ra8 39.Rb6 Rc8 40.Ne5 Re8 41.f4 Re6 42.Rb8+ Kh7 43.Nxf7 Rf6 44.Rh8+ Kg6 45.Ne5+ Kf5 46.Rc8 Nb3 47.Rc4 g5 48.g4+ Ke6 49.Rc6+ Ke7 50.Ng6+ Kf7 51.Rc7+!

Nice trick: Black cannot play 51...Kxg6 because of 52.f5+ Rxf5 53.gxf5+ Kxf5 54.Rc6+–. Now the king should go to g8, but a discouraged Pelletier takes the wrong path and runs into a dashing attack by his Cuban opponent: 51...Ke6? 52.f5+ Kd5 53.Ne7+ Ke4 54.Ng8 Rf8 55.Nxh6 Nd4 56.Nf7 1-0.


The new leader: Leinier Dominguez of Cuba


The worst tournament of his adult life: Yannick Pelletier


Onischuk,Al (2670) - Bacrot,E (2691) [A40]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (7), 28.07.2008'
1.d4 e6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 exd5 4.cxd5 d6 5.e4 g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Bd3 a6 8.h3 b5 9.Nf3 Nf6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Re1 Re8 12.a3 Ra7 13.Bf4 Rae7 14.Rc1 Qb6 15.b4 Nbd7 16.Qd2 Bb7 17.Be3 Qd8 18.Bf4 Qb6 19.Bg5 Rc8 20.Be3 Qd8 21.Bf4 Nb6 22.bxc5 Rxc5

White tries a petite combination which backfires: 23.Bxd6 Qxd6 24.e5 Qd8 25.exf6 Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Bxf6 27.Ne4 Rc8 28.Nxf6+ Qxf6. After the dust has settled Black is clearly better. 29.Be4 Re8 30.Qd3 Nc4 31.Nd2 Bxd5 32.Qxd5 Rd8.

Don't ask us what happened, but White played 33.Nxc4? Now he is completely lost. 33...Rxd5 34.Bxd5 bxc4 35.Bxc4 Qc3 36.Re4 Qxa3. White has a rook and a bishop for the queen and a dangerous passed pawn. This cannot be what he envisioned. Bacrot finishes the game quite effortlessly. 37.g3 Kf8 38.Rf4 f5 39.Kg2 Qd6 40.h4 Ke7 41.Bb3 a5 42.Kg1 Qd3 43.Ba4 h6 44.Bc6 Kd6 45.Be8 g5 46.hxg5 hxg5 47.Ra4 Qd1+ 48.Kg2 Qd5+ 49.Kh2 Ke7 50.Bh5 Qb5 51.Ra2 g4 52.Bg6 a4 53.Bh7 Kf8 54.Rc2

54...Qd7 Now, to compound his misery, White has his bishop trapped. 55.Bg6 Kg7 0-1.


After a disastrous start picking up the pieces: Etienne Bacrot


Two white losses in a row: Alexander Onischuk

Current standings

Cuban grandmaster Leinier Dominguez Perez is the only player who has not yet lost a game. With today's victory he takes the lead and can be proud of his remarkable 2823 performance. After his surprise loss Magnus Carlsen has slipped to joint second place – and to third in the world, behind Anand and Ivanchuk, in the live rating list. His vanquisher Alekseev joins him in the plus two slot. Bacrot and Onischuk have traded places after their game today, and Yannik Pelletier remains in a record-breaking low: minus six and a 2274 performance.

The drawing stats are quite remarkable: only 38% of the games did not reach a decision, with the same number of white wins and 24% victories for Black. There were no games under 20 moves, only one draw so far in less than 30 (Carlsen-Dominguez in round five), and all games generally well contested. Is it the air in Switzerland?

Evgeny Alekseev

Russia, 23 years old
Elo: 2708
World ranking: 26

Date and place of birth: 28.11.1985 in Puschkin
Lives in: St. Petersburg
National ranking: 6
Best world ranking: 14 (October 2006)
Previous results in Biel: participating for the first time.

The Success of the Russian School

Although the political and economic contexts are different, Russia still has plenty of talented players, among the best in the chess world. The situation has completely changed in the last few years. The disappearance of the Soviet bloc meant the end of state financial support; the best players had to look for a sports and financial home in Western Europe or the U.S. However, like with other elite sports, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the former Soviet republics now organize first-rate national championships, with significant means, thanks to the support of powerful oil and gas moguls.

Evgeny Alekseev is an emerging force in this new context. He is part of this new Russian generation that produces an abundance of young champions (e.g. Grischuk, Jakovenko, Inarkiev), which show very promising talent. At only 22, the champion of St Petersburg has already reached the world’s top 20. In Biel, he will compete in the Grandmaster tournament for the first time, with the number 26.

His honor roll is already convincing. He won the Geneva Open in 2004, became champion of Russia in 2006, and confirmed the following year by winning the famous Aeroflot Open in Moscow (one of the most competitive in the world). He placed second in the Dortmund invitation tournament, behind Vladimir Kramnik.

Evgeny Alekseev’s coach is Sergey Dolmatov, who is highly regarded in Russia, and whose skills in training young talents have been confirmed a while ago. Alekseev’s recent successes show that he has become an assertive and consistent player against the best in the world. At the Biel Congress Center, he will enter the competition with the exact same number of Elo points as Leinier Dominguez, the grandmaster from Cuba.

Simon Kümin, Olivier Breisacher

Photos by the organisation in Biel

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 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Round 6: Saturday, July 26, 2008
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Evgeny Alekseev
Yannick Pelletier 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Onischuk 
0-1
 Leinier Dominguez
Round 7: Monday, July 28, 2008

Magnus Carlsen 

0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev

Leinier Dominguez 

1-0
 Yannick Pelletier

Alexander Onischuk 

0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
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

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