Interesting line-up at the Biel Chess Festival

by ChessBase
7/23/2021 – The Biel International Chess Festival takes place from 24 July until 04 August and offers a large variety of tournaments, and the prestigious Grandmaster Tournament impresses with an interesting format and an interesting line-up. Young players like Nihal Sarin and Vincent Keymer will meet veterans like Boris Gelfand and Gata Kamsky, and others, in a triathlon (Fischer Chess, Rapid, Classical). The tournament will begin on Saturday, 24 July, with the Fischerrandom event.

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Press release

54. International Chess Festival Biel

With the International Chess Federation (FIDE) having fortuitously decided in April to organise the World Cup in the middle of the Biel Chess Festival, the dates of which had been reserved for a long time, the organisers were hard pressed to find eight competitive players to perpetuate the tradition of the Grand Masters tournament, the festival's flagship event. But finally their efforts have been rewarded and they are pleased to present a line-up consisting of two legendary world championship runners-up who will face two emerging teenagers. Furthermore are participating regional champion Noel Sutder, the 2019 French champion, the Argentinian No. 1 and one of the eight participants in the recent Candidates Tournament which decided on a new challenger to face world champion Magnus Carlsen at the end of 2021.

The curtain rises on the eight players, in order of their Elo ranking:

  • Kirill Alekseenko (24 years): he was among the eight who were fighting for the spot against Carlsen for the world crown at the end of the year!
  • Boris Gelfand (54 years): He was crowned in Biel for the first time in 1993 by winning the Interzonal. But it was in 2012 that he challenged the world champion, Vishy Anand.
  • Gata Kamsky (47 years): He was also on the podium in Biel in 1993! This led him to face Karpov in the final of the World Championships in 1996!
  • Maxime Lagarde (27 years): The 2019 French champion has a great opportunity to surprise his world!
  • Alan Pichot: the young (22 years) Argentinean number one, recently invited by Magnus Carlsen in a stage of the Champions Chess Tour, is looking forward to create the exploit while discovering the European continent!
  • Nihal Sarin: The Indian prodigy (17 years) could well continue the momentum that has seen him win two important Opens in Serbia in recent weeks.
  • Vincent Keymer (16 years): Fourth last year, the young German has now the experience of the Triathlon and will perhaps know how to measure the effort even better than his rivals to get to the top this year.
  • Noël Studer (24 years): the local native has gone all in by abstaining from the Swiss championship to better prepare for the Grand Masters Tournament, a torunament more open than it has ever been!

A brief biography of the players can be found here, as well as the most important information in the attached documentation.

Follow the festival online

Unfortunately, current health restrictions mean that the organisers cannot allow spectators to enter the venue. But fortunately, chess fans will be able to follow the GMT games with commentary by Latvian GM Arturs Neiksans, and post-mortem interviews moderated by Angelika Valkova. 

In addition, for the first time this year, all the games of the Masters Tournament (MTO) will be available live online, as well as the best chess boards of the Amateur Tournament (ATO). The same will be true for all games of the five categories of the Swiss Junior Championship finals (U16, U14, U12, U10, U08)!

Information for streamers

This year we will share with the interested community all the multimedia content we produce during the festival. 

If you are planning to feature the Biel Chess Festival in your streaming channel, please join our Discord channel. There you will find all additional information:

- Link to the PGN files.

- Link to the online rating and pairings.

- URLs to GMT player videos, post-match interviews and photos from the game room.

We hope to see you on Discord!

Health measures

Only people with a badge can enter the Biel Congress Centre. The badge will be issued to participants at the time of check-in. Other persons, in particular those accompanying juniors (ATO and MTO: max. 1/player; SJM: max. 2/player) and disabled players, as well as journalists and photographers, are requested to send an e-mail in advance to  indicating their surname, first name, address, telephone number and the name of the player they are accompanying, or the name of the media outlet they are representing.

As the number of people present at the same time in the Biel Congress Centre is limited to 250, and the capacity of the game room cannot be used to more than 2/3, it is unfortunately not possible to accommodate spectators.

For further inquiries:

Peter Bohnenblust, chairperson of the organising committee: 076 405 80 87

Paul Kohler, general secretary and director of the tournaments:


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