Biel R8: Dominguez wins, Pelletier draws

7/29/2008 – The news is that the Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez defeated Evgeny Alekseev from Russia with the black pieces, taking a full point lead in Biel. Magnus Carlsen made it possible by drawing with black against Etienne Bacrot. The other newsworthy item: Yannick Pelletier managed to chalk up a second draw, against Onischuk, to bring his total to one point. Round eight 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 8: Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
0-1
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk

Alekseev,Evgeny (2708) - Dominguez Perez,L (2708) [B91]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (8), 29.07.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.g3 e5 7.Nde2 Be7 8.Bg2 b5 9.h3 Nbd7 10.g4 b4 11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.exd5 a5 13.0-0 h5 14.gxh5 Rxh5 15.Nd4 Nf6 16.Nc6 Qc7 17.Qf3 Bf5 18.Re1 Qd7 19.a3 b3 20.cxb3 Bxh3 21.Bd2 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Rf5 23.Qd3 Nh5 24.Rh1 g6 25.b4 Bg5 26.b5

Instead of doing something about his exposed kingside, Alekseev has been pushing his b-pawn. Now comes the punishment: 26...Bxd2 27.Qxd2 Rf4 (threatening 28...Qg4+ and forced mate) 28.Rh3 Kf8 29.Rah1? Let the fireworks begin: 29...Qg4+ 30.Kf1 Ng3+ 31.Rxg3. White is forced to give up the exchange. 31...Qxg3 32.b6 Qf3 33.Rh2

Now Black should play 33...Qb3, mindful of the fact that Alekseev has been pushing the b-pawn and obviously pinning his hopes on this. Instead: 33...Kg8? Gives his opponent full counterplay. 34.b7 Re8 35.b4 axb4 36.axb4 Qg3 37.Rh1 Qf3 38.Rh2 Qg3 39.Rh1 Qb3

At last the black queen is where it belongs. 40.b8Q? Too late; this loses by force (which is not to say that White was not losing anyway). 40...Rxb8 41.Nxb8 Rxb4 42.Nd7 Qc4+ 43.Kg2 Qg4+ 44.Kh2 Qh5+ 45.Kg2 Rg4+ 0-1.


After his shock defeat in round seven Magnus Carlsen faced the comeback kid, Etienne Bacrot, who had won his previous three games. The Norwegian did not let the streak continue and defended actively to make a sure draw in 31 moves. Get things under control, that was the goal in this round.

Meanwhile Yannick Pelletier was doing uncharacteristically well in a Ragozin against Alexander Onischuk when he got into a spot of trouble, but survived in the end to obtain his second draw in this tournament. With 1.0/8 he is still at rock bottom, but everybody was relieved that the friendly and charming GM did not lose another one.

Pelletier,Y (2569) - Onischuk,Al (2670) [D38]
41st Festival GM Biel SUI (8), 29.07.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 c5 8.Bb5 Qa5 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7 11.bxc3 0-0 12.a4 Re8 13.Qb3 c4 14.Qc2 Qa6 15.a5 Nf8 16.Bf4 g6 17.Qb2 Bf5 18.Rfe1 f6 19.Qb4 g5 20.Bg3 Ng6 21.Nd2 h5 22.f3 h4 23.Bf2 Bd3 24.e4 Qc6 25.exd5 Qxd5 26.Ne4 Kg7 27.Nd6 Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 h3 29.Qxb7+ Qxb7 30.Nxb7 Nf4 31.Bg3 Ne2+ 32.Kf2 Nxc3 33.Nc5 hxg2 34.Kxg2 Nd5 35.Kf2 Bf5 36.Rc1 Bd3 37.Nxd3 cxd3 38.Rd1 Rc8 39.Rxd3 Rc2+ 40.Ke1 Ra2 41.Rd2 Rxa5 42.Rc2 Kf7 43.Rc5 Rxc5 44.dxc5 Ke6 45.Kd2 Ne7 46.Kd3 Kd5

47.h4 Nf5 48.hxg5 Nxg3 49.gxf6 Nh5 50.f7 Nf4+ 51.Kc3 Ne6 52.Kb4 Kc6 53.Ka5 Kxc5 ½-½.

Current standing

Yannick Pelletier

Switzerland, 32 years old
Elo: 2569

Date and place of birth: 22.9.1976 in Biel
Lives in: Montpellier
National ranking: 3
Best world ranking: 69th (January 2003)
Previous results in Biel: 1997 (6th), 1998 (5th), 1999 (5th), 2001 (4th), 2002 (5th), 2003 (4th), 2004 (4th), 2005 (3rd), 2006 (5th), 2007 (3th)

Welcome to Biel

Yannick Pelletier settled in 2007 in Montpellier, along with his girlfriend Sophie Milliet, who is also a chess player. Nevertheless, the best grandmaster “made in Switzerland” will always feels at home at the Biel International Festival, which he has been attending for two decades, and in which he participated for the first time in the grandmaster tournament in 1997, when he was 20.

Every year, the pre-tournament script looks the same: he is ranked last at the start of the grandmaster tournament, but he takes the best of the situation, and resists his opponents – most of whom are better ranked than he is. In the last ten years, he never finished “his” competition at the last rank. Even better: in 2005 and 2007, he finished third, ahead of impressive players such as Judit Polgar, Teimur Radjabov or Alexander Grischuk.

This summer, Yannick Pelletier (2569) has 206 fewer Elo points than Magnus Carlsen (2765), who is the top-seeded player in Biel, and 100 fewer than all other contenders. History has shown that the chessboard reality can change on one given day. Didn’t the French-Swiss player beat Magnus Carlsen 12 months ago? Yannick Pelletier is not overwhelmed by his opponents. His pragmatism, his ambition and his fighting spirit contribute to his good performances.

Pelletier was crowned three times individual Swiss champion, and four times with the Biel Chess Society. This season, he competed in many national team championships with Zurich (in Switzerland), Werder Bremen (in Germany) and Clichy (in France), where he became national champion a few weeks ago. He is fluent in French, German, English, Spanish, and Russian.

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 
0-1
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
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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