Biel 2012: Preparations

IM dpruess
Jul 22, 2012, 4:00 PM |

Today, the Biel International Chess Festival kicked off in Biel/Bienne Switzerland with an exciting knock-out blitz exhibition tournament between five of the players of the A group, and three invited GMs. Two game blitz matches were played; in the event of a tied match a 5 minutes v. 4 minutes armaggedon game was played, with black having draw odds.

In the very first round, Magtown lost in the tiebreak game to Etienne Bacrot. Two rounds later, Hikaru Nakamura beat Bacrot in the final match to win the exhibition tournament. The players seemed to take their games quite seriously, though there was no prize money on the line. It was very fun to watch this!! I appreciate the organizers for adding this exhibition on at the start of the event.

Anyone who is looking for a little extra "flavor" of Biel, check out my photo album from last year's event. I don't have a camera with me this year, so probably won't be able to add anything to that.

Now it's time to reveal this year's preparation and goals, in order to give all my future opponent's a fair chance.


- Talk with 5+ chess players not named Sam Shankland. It's fun to get to know new people, and I need to do some networking now and then to bring new faces over to!

- Not get upset after bad results (I'd focused on this for a while, and really been successful, but then relapsed at the Chicago Open, so this is back on the card).

- Style: I'm not going to practice any one particular style or set of openings. I'm going to try to play "the best" or "as the position dictates"-- in other words aggressive when the opportunity is there, patient at other times, defend, grind, whatever comes my way. I will probably play some variety of openings.

- "first and last" is off the table: I feel I've succeeded with that a few times, and I'm not going to call it one of the focuses of the tournament.


- I took my first vacation since joining the team, and spent almost 4 days hiking the German countryside. Very refreshing and healthy for my body and mind.

- I picked a random complicated game of mine from several years back, and analyzed it a bit for half an hour each evening when I got back tired from walking.

- Today I did a tactics trainer sessions (6/6 and passed Shanky on the TT rating list) and then analyzed the following rook and pawn endgame from my Chicago Open, with a lot of help from Sam. Here are some of the lines he came up with, though I could not enter them as fast as he rattled them off:

For those who have no inclination to muddle through all that, here are three interesting bullet point lessons: 

- Tomorrow, before the first round at 2 pm CET, I will also be looking over this game from last year's round 1 of this same tournament. I may make that a habit, to each day look over the game from the previous year.

And that's Goals+Prep Biel 2012.

I'm planning to post updates here with my results, games, and thoughts (depending on time) from the tournament. I will also post some updates about other players that may be of interest to readers here, like Shanky, Magtown, and Hikaru.

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