Looking back: Biel

by Alejandro Ramirez
7/29/2014 – Even though only one of the players in the tournament was in the top-10 of the official rating list, it is clear that Biel was a top tier event and one of the most exciting tournaments of the year. The combination of youth and talent exhibited at the event made for a close event that was not defined until the very last round. We bring you a comprehensive look at the Biel super-tournament.

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International Chess Festival in Biel

Recap

The Biel super tournament had a very exciting mix of players. The field had players that were all in their 20s, with the exception of Alexander Motylev who is 35. This made the rounds very exciting and lively, and almost in every one of them there was an unusual or unexpected result. This might have been aided by the fact that there was one player that was considerably lower rated than the rest: Hou Yifan, despite being World Women's Champion and a talented player was after all about 100 points lower than the average. With this need to win from her opponents it was clear that opportunities could arise.

The first taste of that was definitely in round one, when Giri thought he could simply crush the World Champion:

Women's World Champion Hou Yifan with an excellent +12 rating

[Event "Hans Suri Mem 2014"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2014.07.14"] [Round "1.3"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B51"] [WhiteElo "2629"] [BlackElo "2750"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2014.07.14"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Be2 {A very strange move; Hou Yifan continues employing the unusual openings that have brought her success in the women events.} Ngf6 7. O-O e5 8. Qe3 d5 $6 {This move is somewhat strange. Opening the position doesn't make sense as long as Black is underdeveloped.} 9. exd5 Bc5 $2 {Giri goes for some kind of bold sacrifice. However where exactly his compensation is is very unclear.} (9... Nxd5 10. Qd2 N5f6 11. Nc3 $14) 10. Qd2 O-O 11. c4 e4 (11... Ne4 12. Qc2 Ndf6 13. Nc3 Nxc3 14. Qxc3 $16) 12. Nd4 Ne5 (12... Qb6 13. Nb3 Bd6 14. Nc3 $16 {This is simply a pawn up for White.}) 13. b4 {White takes advantage of her position to grab as much space as possible. She does not fall into passive play as there are no threats to take care of yet.} Ba7 14. Nc3 Bg4 15. c5 $1 {A very powerful move. White is using her extra material to shut down Black's bishop on a7 and with that preventing any kind of counterplay. The threat of installing a powerful passed pawn on d6 is very real.} a5 16. a3 Nxd5 $6 {Not a good move, but Black's position was already bad.} 17. Nxe4 Bb8 18. f3 $1 {Very precise. The Light-squared bishop does not have a good retreat.} Nf4 $2 {Some kind of attempt to muddy the waters, but Hou Yifan has everything under control.} 19. Nd6 $1 {This well calculated move nets a piece.} (19. Qxf4 Nxf3+ 20. Nxf3 Bxf4 21. Bxf4 axb4 {turns the tables. White cannot recapture on b4 and the three pieces dont have the necessary coordination yet.}) 19... Bxd6 20. cxd6 Nxe2+ 21. Qxe2 {This is the point. Now both e5 and g4 are hanging.} Qxd6 22. Nb5 { And now it is the Queen and the Bishop.} Qf6 23. fxg4 $1 (23. Bb2 Bd7 24. Bxe5 Qb6+ 25. Nd4 Rfe8 {probably wins somehow but it is not as clear.}) 23... Nf3+ 24. Qxf3 Qxa1 25. Be3 (25. Bf4 {with the idea of Bd6 was also game over.}) 25... Qf6 26. Qxf6 gxf6 27. Nc7 Rac8 28. Nd5 {White is up a significant amount of material and Black has nothing to show for it. An amazing demolition of a 2750 player.} 1-0

Hou Yifan definitely had a memorable tournament. A combination of exploiting her opponent's mistakes and having some actual decent preparation in some games allowed her to have a magnificent tournament, despite a disappointing last round game against Harikrishna.

That being said, it was Vachier-Lagrave that stood as the tough guy throughout the entire event. He started strong and finished strong, his positional masterpiece against Giri definitely showed everyone in the tournament what he was capable of.

Vachier's positional style and solid preparation made him nearly invincible

[Event "Hans Suri Mem 2014"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2014.07.18"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Giri, Anish"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2766"] [BlackElo "2750"] [PlyCount "122"] [EventDate "2014.07.14"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] {Maxime Vachier-Lagrave showed excellent positional understanding and technique in his victory over Anish Giri. With the slightest of advantages, the pair of bishops in a closed position, MVL was somehow able to improve, improve and improve his position until Giri was forced to resign in a hopeless endgame!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. Nc3 Ne8 10. Nd5 Bd6 11. Re2 c6 12. Ne3 Bc7 13. Nf5 d5 14. Ne7+ Kh8 15. Nxc8 Rxc8 16. d3 f5 17. g3 Qf6 18. Bd2 Nd6 19. Bc3 d4 $6 { This natural move is surprisingly not very good. The problem is that the Light squared bishop, which has no Black counterpart, will be more active and more difficult to control.} 20. Bd2 Nf7 21. f4 $1 {Controlling Black's pieces. White has a slight advantage and MVL plays wonderfully.} Rce8 22. Bg2 Nd6 23. a3 Bb6 24. Rxe8 Rxe8 25. Qf1 Kg8 26. Re1 Re6 27. a4 a6 28. Bf3 g6 29. Kg2 Kf7 30. Rxe6 Qxe6 31. Qa1 $1 {Using both flanks!} Bc5 32. b4 Bb6 33. Be1 {d4 is suddenly also weak.} Nc8 34. Bf2 Qd7 35. h3 h5 36. b5 axb5 37. axb5 cxb5 38. Qa8 Bc5 39. Bxb7 Nb6 40. Qa2+ Kg7 41. Qa6 b4 42. Bf3 $1 Kf8 43. Qa5 Qe7 44. Kf1 Kf7 45. Kg2 Kf8 46. g4 $1 hxg4 47. hxg4 fxg4 48. Bxg4 Qc7 49. Bf3 Kg7 50. Qb5 Nc8 51. Qc4 Qb6 52. Qd5 Qd6 53. Qe5+ $1 Qxe5 54. fxe5 $16 {This endgame is somwhere between unpleasant and lost for Black. Giri collapses quickly.} Na7 ( 54... Ne7 {was more resilient.}) 55. Bd5 Nb5 56. Bh4 g5 (56... Nc3 57. Bf6+ Kh6 58. Bb3 Nd1 59. Kf3 Ne3 60. Ke4 $18) 57. Bxg5 Kg6 58. Bd8 Kf5 59. e6 Na3 60. Bb3 Nxc2 61. Bxc2 Kxe6 1-0

Giri himself had a horrible start to the tournament. With losses against Hou Yifan in round one and to Harikrishna in round two it seemed as if he had no chance in the tournament at all. Yet his willpower did not let hiim down, and though he fell to MVL in round five after consecutive victories against Wojtaszek and Motylev he was able to safe quite a big of dignity in the vengeance round.

Giri was always dangerous, but never had chances to lead the event

 

[Event "Hans Suri Mem 2014"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2014.07.23"] [Round "9.1"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2750"] [BlackElo "2766"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2014.07.14"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 e6 4. e4 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Nc3 dxe4 7. fxe4 Bb4 8. Bd3 $5 {Giri's new idea} (8. Bg5 h6 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Nf3 Bg4 {was eventually ok for Black in Svidler, Peter- Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime from last year in the Paris Grand Prix}) 8... Nxe4 9. Qe2 O-O (9... f5 {is possible but surely Giri had some prep against this.}) 10. Bxe4 Re8 11. Nf3 Bf5 {black will regain the piece, but that's not the end of his problems.} 12. Bg5 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 f6 14. Nd2 fxg5 15. O-O {Black is up a pawn but his position is suspicious; his king is open and his development is far from complete.} Nd7 16. Qc4+ (16. Qd3 $1 { is stronger according to the computer.} Bxe4 17. Nxe4 Kh8 18. Rae1 $16) 16... Be6 17. Bd5 Bxd5 18. Qxd5+ Kh8 19. Rae1 (19. Qxb7 $14) 19... c6 20. Qb3 Nb6 21. Nf3 Rxe1 22. Rxe1 Qf6 23. Qe6 Qxe6 24. Rxe6 {through some help by his opponent MVL has managed to come close to equalizing, but he doesn't find the best way to continue now.} g4 25. Ne5 Nd5 26. c4 Nf4 27. Re7 Ne2+ 28. Kf2 Nxd4 29. Rxb7 {Black's position is clearly dangerous} a5 $6 (29... Rf8+ $1 30. Ke3 Nc2+ 31. Kd3 Ne1+ $11) 30. Nd7 {threatening the surprisingly lethal Nf6.} Ne6 31. Kg3 Rd8 32. Nf6 Ng5 33. Kxg4 $16 h6 34. Nd7 $1 {White is controlling his opponent's position.} Nf7 35. Kf4 g5+ 36. Ke3 Nd6 (36... Re8+ 37. Kd3 Re1 {was the last chance for counterplay and to save the game.}) 37. Rb8 Rxb8 38. Nxb8 $18 {the knight endgame is hopeless because of the king activity.} Nxc4+ 39. Kd4 Nb6 40. Nxc6 a4 41. Kc5 Nc8 42. Kb4 Nb6 43. Kc5 Nc8 44. Kb4 Nb6 45. Kb5 Nd5 46. Kxa4 Kg7 47. Nb4 Ne3 48. Kb5 Kf7 49. a4 Ke6 50. a5 Kd7 51. a6 Kc8 52. Kc5 1-0

Wojtaszek had an unusual tournament. Many of his games were quiet and not very exciting; actually out of all the players he had the largest amount of boring draws in the tournament, but somehow this was not so important as his results were consistent; what was important was that he struck when his opponent showed any sign of weakness.

With his quiet results Wojtaszek finished a deserved clear second

[Event "Hans Suri Mem 2014"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2014.07.23"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2733"] [BlackElo "2726"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2014.07.14"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bb5+ Nc6 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Na5 10. Bf4 Bd7 11. Be2 c5 12. d5 Bg4 13. e5 $14 {Something, somehow, just didn't work out for Harikrishna in this opening.} Qd7 14. Re1 Rad8 15. h3 Bf5 16. c4 e6 17. Qd2 b6 18. d6 {surprisingly committing the pawn so early is not beneficial.} (18. Rad1 $1 $16) 18... Be4 19. Ng5 Bb7 20. Rad1 Kh8 21. Qe3 Nc6 22. Nf3 Nb4 23. Rd2 Qa4 24. Bd1 Qa6 25. Bg5 $1 $16 Rd7 26. Bf6 $6 (26. a3 $1 {pushing the knight away is more exact} Nc6 27. Bf6 Bxf6 28. exf6 {and there is no bxf3.}) 26... Bxf6 27. exf6 Bxf3 28. Bxf3 $16 Qc8 $6 29. Qe4 $2 (29. Qg5 $1 {with the brutal idea of Rh4-Qh6 was near unstoppable.}) (29. Qh6 Rg8 30. Re4 Qf8 {was on the other hand not so clear.}) 29... Rg8 30. a3 Na6 31. Bd1 Nb8 32. Ba4 Rdd8 33. g4 Qa6 34. Qc2 Qb7 35. Qc3 Nc6 $6 36. Bxc6 $1 Qxc6 37. Rxe6 {A nice combination that finally ends the game.} Rgf8 (37... fxe6 38. f7+ Rg7 39. d7 $1 {and the threat of Qf6 and f8 is unstoppable.}) 38. Qe5 Qf3 39. Qe3 Qc6 40. Re7 Rd7 1-0

Speaking of Harikrishna it seemed that he always had good chances in his games, but was unable to capitalize. Whether it was time trouble or his inability to correctly guess his opponent's opening, it did seem that things didn't fully go the Indian's way. His final 50% score was decent, but he might have done better with just a little luck. That being said, he did put an end to Hou Yifan's dream of winning the tournament with a clean last round win:

Harikrishna will be a big player missing from the Olympiad, along with Anand

[Event "Hans Suri Mem 2014"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2014.07.24"] [Round "10.1"] [White "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2726"] [BlackElo "2629"] [PlyCount "145"] [EventDate "2014.07.14"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Nc6 8. Nxc6 {Unusual but it has been played.} bxc6 9. Qe2 d5 10. Bb3 Be7 11. Ba4 Bd7 12. e5 Ng8 13. Qg4 g6 14. Ne2 h5 15. Qf3 Nh6 16. Bxh6 Rxh6 {Although unorthodox, the placement on the rook on h6 is not devastating to Black's position. The closed nature of the game and the pair of bishop's potential power compensates.} 17. c4 Kf8 18. Nd4 Rc8 19. Rac1 c5 20. Bxd7 Qxd7 21. Ne2 d4 22. b4 h4 $5 {Bringing the rook in through the 5th rank.} 23. bxc5 Rh5 24. Rfd1 Rxe5 $6 (24... Bxc5 {was important to keep d4 under protection.} 25. Nf4 Rf5 $11) 25. Nxd4 Qe8 (25... Bxc5 26. Qf6 $1 $16 {may have been what Hou Yifan missed.}) 26. Qf4 Rcxc5 (26... Rexc5 27. Nxe6+ $16) 27. Nb3 Rf5 (27... Bg5 28. Qd4 Bf6 29. Nxc5 Re1+ 30. Rxe1 Bxd4 $14) 28. Qh6+ Kg8 29. Nxc5 Bxc5 $2 (29... Bg5 30. Qxg5 Rxg5 31. Ne4 {and the rook on g5 cannot defend f6 and itself, because of the fork on d6.} Qe7 $1 (31... Rf5 32. Nd6 $18) 32. Nxg5 Qxg5 33. c5 $1 h3 34. g3 Qg4 35. Kf1 $1 Qf3 $1 {Black's counterplay seems just enough to draw.}) 30. Rc2 Be7 31. Qe3 Qc6 32. Kh1 Kh7 33. Rd4 Kg7 34. Qe4 Qb6 35. Rd1 Bf6 36. Qe3 {The conversion isn't quick, but Harikrishna proves that it does come eventually.} Qc6 37. c5 Kh7 38. h3 Be7 39. Rd4 Kg8 40. Rdc4 a5 41. Qc3 Rd5 42. Qf3 Qd7 43. Rc1 Rf5 44. c6 Rxf3 45. cxd7 Rd3 46. Rc7 Bd8 47. Rb7 Kf8 48. Kg1 Ke7 {White will lose d7 but the endgame is winning.} 49. Kf1 Rd2 50. Rc8 g5 51. Ke1 Rd5 52. Ke2 f5 53. Ke3 Rd1 54. Ke2 Rd4 55. Rbb8 Rxd7 56. Rc3 Rd4 57. Rd3 Re4+ 58. Kd2 Rf4 59. f3 Bc7 60. Rb7 Rc4 61. Rc3 Rxc3 62. Kxc3 Kd6 63. Kc4 Kc6 64. Ra7 Bb6 65. Ra8 Bc7 66. Ra7 Kb6 67. Ra8 Kc6 68. a4 Kd7 69. Ra6 Bd8 70. Kb5 Bc7 71. Kc5 Bd8 72. Ra7+ Bc7 73. Rb7 1-0

Last was Alexander Motylev. This is definitely another player that suffered from having good positions turn bad very quickly. He was better against Hou Yifan in both of their games but somehow he managed to lose both. His only win of the tournament was against Harikrishna in a Berlin that the Russian player understood much better, but it is possible Motylev might have scored at least 50% with just a little luck here and there.

3.5/10 is not a fair result for Motylev's play; but is chess fair?

[Event "Hans Suri Mem 2014"] [Site "Biel SUI"] [Date "2014.07.16"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Motylev, Alexander"] [Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2698"] [BlackElo "2726"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2014.07.14"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Bd7 10. Rd1 Be7 11. c4 Kc8 12. Nc3 Nh4 13. Nxh4 Bxh4 14. b3 b6 15. Bb2 a5 16. a4 Bf5 17. Ne2 Kb7 18. g3 Be7 19. g4 Bc2 20. Rd7 Bc5 21. Ba3 Bxa3 22. Rxa3 Rhe8 23. Rd2 Be4 24. f4 Rad8 25. Raa2 g5 $2 (25... c5 {leaves Black in an acceptable position.}) 26. Nc3 {Black's bishop is surprisingly in trouble!} Bd3 27. Ra1 {Now the threat is to trap it with Rad1.} Rd7 28. Ne4 $1 {White's knight is untouchable due to the pin and the game is now winning for White.} Red8 29. Nxg5 Kc8 30. Re1 b5 31. e6 fxe6 32. Nxe6 Re8 33. f5 bxc4 34. bxc4 Rd6 35. Red1 Bxc4 36. Rxd6 cxd6 37. Rxd6 Bxe6 38. Rxc6+ Kd7 39. Rxe6 Rxe6 40. fxe6+ Kxe6 41. Kf2 Kd5 42. Ke3 Kc4 43. g5 Kd5 1-0

Free Day

On the free day the players and some seconds went on a boat trip from Briel to Ligerz and took a cable car to Preles where they had dinner.

Motylev, Wojtaszek and the Polish player's girlfriend, Kashlinskaya, enjoying the off day

The winner of the open tournament enjoying the view; more on his win tomorrow!

And it was a spectacular view!

Small towns are perfect for relaxing free days

Hou Yifan never travels without her mother, unless its a team competition

Wang Qian, Yanick Pelletier, Hou Yifan and Baskaran Adhiban

Quiet relaxation in the country side

Overall Biel was an exciting and fun event. The tournament was close to the very end, and it is definitely fair to say that Maxime Vachier-Lagrave took home an important and deserved victory.

Look out tomorrow for a report on the Open section, which was also incredibly strong.

Replay All games

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Standings

Schedule

Round 01 – July 14, 2014
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
Alexander Motylev 2698
0-1
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
Hou Yifan 2629
1-0
Anish Giri 2750
Round 02 – July 15, 2014
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
1-0
Anish Giri 2750
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
½-½
Hou Yifan 2629
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
½-½
Alexander Motylev 2698
Round 03 – July 16, 2014
Alexander Motylev 2698
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
Hou Yifan 2629
0-1
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
Anish Giri 2750
1-0
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
Round 04 –July 17, 2014
Hou Yifan 2629
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
Anish Giri 2750
1-0
Alexander Motylev 2698
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
½-½
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
Round 05 – July 18, 2014
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
½-½
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
1-0
Anish Giri 2750
Alexander Motylev 2698
½-½
Hou Yifan 2629
Round 06 – July 19, 2014
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
½-½
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
½-½
Alexander Motylev 2698
Anish Giri 2750
½-½
Hou Yifan 2629
Round 07 – July 21, 2014
Anish Giri 2750
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
Hou Yifan 2629
½-½
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
Alexander Motylev 2698
0-1
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
Round 08 – July 22, 2014
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
½-½
Alexander Motylev 2698
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
½-½
Hou Yifan 2629
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
½-½
Anish Giri 2750
Round 09 – July 23, 2014
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
Anish Giri 2750
1-0
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
Hou Yifan 2629
1-0
Alexander Motylev 2698
Round 10 – July 24, 2014
Pentala Harikrishna 2726
1-0
Hou Yifan 2629
Alexander Motylev 2698
½-½
Anish Giri 2750
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2766
½-½
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2733

Links

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Topics: Biel

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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dr.genial@yahoo.com.br dr.genial@yahoo.com.br 7/29/2014 08:42
"despite a disappointing last round game against Harikrishna".

These "i-know-all" writers should stop bashing chess like this. The game thought her a good lesson and she knows a bit more now, unless she told you it was disappointing to her.

Please stop using words like "boring" and such when you describe chess or chess games. It is you who is bored, not the games.
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