Adams Takes Early Lead At Biel GM Tournament

Adams Takes Early Lead At Biel GM Tournament

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Michael Adams started with a win at the Biel Chess Festival's Grandmaster Tournament. The English GM beat Czech number-one David Navara.

The traditional summer chess festival in Biel, Switzerland is organized for the 48th edition this year. The impressive list of former winners includes Tony Miles, Viktor Kortchnoi, Vlastimil Hort, Lev Polugaevsky, Vassily Ivanchuk, Anatoly Karpov, Alexei Shirov, and Vishy Anand.

The last 10 editions were won by Boris Gelfand/Andrei Volokitin (2005), Alexander Morozevich (2006), Magnus Carlsen (2007), Evgeny Alekseev (2008), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2009), Fabiano Caruana (2010), again Magnus Carlsen (2011), Wang Hao (2012) and again Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2013, 2014).

“Biel” took off on Saturday with the opening ceremony, a simul and the Swiss Chess960 Championship. These are just a few of the many side events that are part of the festival.

On Monday, the two main events started: the “GM Tournament” and the big open, called the “Master Tournament.” This is a tough one: it's a Swiss with not nine (standard), not 10 (like in Gibraltar or Reykjavik) but 11 rounds!

This year the top group is a six-player, double-round-robin with five 2700 GMs and one former 2700 GM who has all the chances to get back there. 

2015 Biel Chess Festival | Participants GM Tournament

# Name Fed Rating Born
1 Michael Adams ENG 2740 1971
2 Radoslaw Wojtaszek POL 2733 1987
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2731 1990
4 David Navara CZE 2724 1985
5 Pavel Eljanov UKR 2723 1983
6 Richard Rapport HUN 2671 1996


It was the highly experienced Mickey Adams who grabbed an early lead as he won his round-one game against David Navara. The Czech GM might have underestimated White's chances in the middlegame with opposite-colored bishops as b5 and f7 turned out to be very weak after the rooks left the board.

On move 31, the computer pointed out a complicated win for White based on some nice tricks (checkmates, queen skewers...) but Adams can hardly be blamed for missing that. He won an opposite-colored bishop ending as Navara didn't find the drawing idea.

GM Radek Wojtaszek, who joined hours before the first round (rumor has it that he wanted to do some last-minute tactics in our Tactics Trainer!), faced the creative but unpredictable Richard Rapport of Hungary.

In the spirit of three-time Biel winner Alexander Morozevich, Rapport played the Chigorin Defense, but was soon driven into passivity. With more space and the bishop pair White could have reached an overwhelming advantage with the pawn push f3-f4, but Wojtaszek played a bit too cautiously.


GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, another three-time winner in Biel, has an incredibly busy schedule behind him. After the Norway Chess tournament there was finally some rest, but not for long: on July 12, he won the Corsican Blitz Championship.

In the first round in Biel the French number-one played Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine, whose Berlin Defense looked very solid:


GM Danny King is providing daily round reports on his PowerPlayChess YouTube channel. Here's the report on the first round, where he speaks to Rapport, Eljanov, Vachier-Lagrave and Adams:

Today the second round will see Rapport vs Adams, Eljanov vs Navara and Vachier-Lagrave vs Wojtaszek. The rounds start at 2 p.m. CET (8 a.m. New York, 5 a.m. Pacific) and can be watched live here or in the live server. 

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