Biel: Vidit's zeal and Shankland's escape artistry

by Tanmay Srinath
7/31/2019 – After winning a tournament, players usually take a quick draw in the last round to go and celebrate. Not Vidit! He fought tooth and nail and managed to outplay Maghsoodloo in a reversed King's Indian as Black to end the tournament a whopping 6 points clear of his nearest competitor (using Biel's weighted scoring system)! Shankland was lost for the majority of an exchange-up endgame against Leko, but somehow survived to take second and relegate Leko to third. Georgiadis thumped Cori's indecisive play with a piece sacrifice and won an attacking beauty. | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Winning with the King's Indian Attack Winning with the King's Indian Attack

The King's Indian Attack is full of positional and tactical ideas and often an unpleasant surprise for the opponent.


A peerless finale

The annual Biel Tournament has come to a close, and what an event it has been! The novel idea of including all three chess formats to determine the winner is definitely one for the future, and the field this year didn't disappoint us when it came to fighting chess — more than once all games ended with a decisive result. This wonderful tournament was dominated by the Indian No.3 Vidit Gujarathi, who finished with a bang by out-calculating Parham Maghsoodloo in a reversed KID. Sam Shankland finished second, but had to pull the chess equivalent of Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon by repeatedly surviving Peter Leko's winning attempts, to claim a tense draw. Nico Georgiadis destroyed Jorge Cori's kingside with an inspired attack in the Tarrasch, while Sebastian Bogner's amazing opening preparation meant Abdusattorov couldn't get much out of his last game.

Maghsoodloo 0-1 Vidit

Parham Maghsoodloo is one of Iran's greatest hopes in the world of chess, but as this tournament has shown, he still has a lot to work on to reach 2700. His opponent, on the other hand, seems ready to reach higher — Vidit was absolutely unflappable!

The future of chess is in good hands! | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Here are the critical moments:


Parham chose the fashionable Reversed KID as White. Vidit chose to respond in classical fashion, but his previous move 8...e8 was a slight inaccuracy, allowing white to enter a favourable version of the reversed open King's Indian with 9.exd5!. Instead, Maghsoodloo went 9.b3, allowing 9...d4! after which Black is starting to take over.


The players soon reached this complex middlegame. Somehow, I feel White has been slightly outplayed — I see no way for him to take over the initiative. The computers come up with an interesting way to liquidate here with 17.♗xd7!, and say the position is equal. Instead, after the rather meaningless 17.fe1?! Vidit took over the initiative with 17...f6!, drawing a blunder almost immediately!

Parham thought he was winning a pawn after 18.xd7 xd7 19.fxe5?, however, this blunders away a piece! 19...xe5 20.xe5 xe5 21.f4.


The point behind Parham's play. However, the hanging queen on b3 gives Black an important tempo. Can you spot it?

21...e6!. Vidit calmly converted the extra piece in nine more moves.

Tournament victory ending with a win as Black? Of course I'm happy! | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Cori 0-1 Georgiadis

Who said it is easy to play against an IQP? The initiative it offers, even as Black, is sometimes too much to take. A masterful handling of a kingside attack by Georgiadis meant Cori could only sit back and watch Black's tornado of pieces thrash his king around, before finally coming close to mating.


This is a standard Tarrasch position for Black, but White is not threatening a thing — his pieces are not coordinating in the best way against d5 (♘c3, ♗g5, ♗g2). Here the move 14.d4?!, played by Cori in the game, is the most popular, but clearly not the best, instead the prophylactic 14.h3!? was safer, as after 14...g5! Black gets a super strong attack against the weak white king.


Cori went 18.h1?, which is the decisive mistake. 18.♖c2!? is the engine's way of maintaining the position, but I don't see how White can unravel easily after 18...♝xd4! Nico didn't take long to spot 18...g6! leaving the h3 bishop en prise and threatening ♗xg2+, and forcefully won the exchange. The cute point is that 19.gxh3?? is mate after 19...♛g1+!! 20.♖xg1 ♞xf2#. After this it was purely a matter of technique.


The final position is beautiful — White has no reasonable way to avoid mate, other than sacrificing the queen!


Cori vs Georgiadis

A roller-coaster ride in Biel 2019 ended with a win for Nico. This experience hopefully propels him to greater heights! | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Shankland ½-½ Leko

The mark of a true champion is getting good results even when you are not at your best! Sam Shankland has definitely played better than this, but his grittiness stood out in this tournament, saving many points just by hanging in there. There is a lot of introspection to be done, but if there is one positive Sam can take from this tournament, it is his never-say-die attitude! His opponent, Leko, was definitely the better player today, but time pressure spoilt what was a great game from Peter:

Sam's tenacity helped him remain in second | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival


Peter started to play for a win from here with 31...xf3! 32.xf3 g5+ 33.e2 xh3. From here the Hungarian played the endgame exceeding well, and after errors from Sam he received numerous winning chances.


Peter did find the idea later, which is to reroute the knight to f4 with ♞g2!. However, his move 43...f3+?! was definitely an inaccuracy.


The main reason Black is winning is not because of the g-passer, but because White's king is horribly weak and his pawns are targets to the deadly ♛+♞ duo. Here 52...e7?! was the first imprecision in a winning position. Instead, 52...♛h3! should decide sooner rather than later.


Peter played energetically till here, but here the lack of time must have taken its toll — 56...c8? is too passive, throwing away an easy win after 56...g3! followed by g2.


Despite his mistakes, Leko still retained a winning position, and it was time to start grabbing pawns — 64...♞d3+! 64.♔c2 ♞xc5 with a crushing position. Instead, 64...e2+? was the last straw, allowing Sam to stir up enough play on the queenside to obtain a draw.


Leko played fascinating chess throughout | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Abdusattorov ½-½ Bogner

The least dramatic game of the round. Bogner played his latest defense, the Caro-Kann, and achieved equality easily. Play then became sharper, but both players were up to the task, playing sublime and precise chess to sign a deserved draw. Here is the one of the best moments of the game:


It seems as if White is better, but after the precise 42...d4! from Bogner, the game soon petered out to a draw.


Bogner shared his preparation in the press conference without any hesitation | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Legendary Grandmaster Vlastimil Hort (right) visited the playing venue | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel Chess Festival

Final overall standings

Rank Name Games Classic Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Santosh Vidit 28 15 8 11 34
2 GM Sam Shankland 28 9 9 10 28
3 GM Peter Leko 28 9 10 6.5 25.5
4 GM Parham Maghsoodloo 28 7 8 9.5 24.5
5 GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov 28 10 5 8 23
6 GM Jorge Cori 28 8 7 7 22
7 GM Nico Georgiadis 28 7 6 2 15
8 GM Sebastian Bogner 28 7 3 2 12

All games



Tanmay Srinath has been writing for ChessBase India since quite some time now. His tournament reports and depth of analysis have been widely appreciated. Pursuing a full-fledged career in engineering Tanmay doesn't get enough time to pursue chess, but he loves to follow top-level encounters and analyzes those games with his Fat Fritz engine. We hope you find his analysis useful in your games.


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