Biel R2: An Original King's Gambit; A Beautiful Tactic

Biel R2: An Original King's Gambit; A Beautiful Tactic

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

GM David Navara recovered well from his first-round loss and beat GM Pavel Eljanov with the black pieces in round two of the Biel Chess Festival's Grandmaster Tournament.

GM Richard Rapport yet again claimed the spotlight with his opening choice: he played the King's Gambit and drew with GM Michael Adams. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Radek Wojtaszek drew an Open Catalan. 

It's always nice to see a King's Gambit, and it's not that rare at the highest level actually. Recent classical games include Navara-Gelfand (Sochi GP, 2008), Carlsen-Wang Yue (Medias, 2010), Nakamura-Adams (London 2011) and Nakamura-Tomashevky (Moscow 2012).

Richard Rapport played the opening twice in a game with classical time control last year, in the German and Austrian leagues. Especially his game with Etienne Bacrot from the Bundesliga might have been useful preparation material for Mickey Adams.

The start of the second round. | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

That game was from the match SV 1930 Hockenheim vs Baden-Baden in round three, when Adams didn't play for Baden-Baden — but obviously it was available in the database.

Bacrot played the line 3...Ne7 (something Adams has tried in the past as well), and play continued 4.d4 d5 5.Qe2 Ng6 6.h4 — which is normal for that line.


Adams, another Baden-Baden player to face Rapport's h2-h4.  | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

In today's game, Rapport also played h2-h4 but here it was new! In fact, 7.Nc3 was the novelty. The Hungarian got good compensation, but at some point “the hunter got hunted” — Adams took over the initiative, and forced the draw where he could have played on.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov


Rapport keeps inspiring: today with the King's Gambit! | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

With lot number six, David Navara had to start with two Blacks. His loss yesterday was a bit unnecessary but nothing terrible either, and already today the Czech grandmaster was back on track. He beat Pavel Eljanov from a Fianchetto Grünfeld with ...c5 and ...d5.

Usually this line leads to quiet play, but this game became very dynamic when Eljanov traded his queen's bishop for a knight, and Navara's e-pawn ended up on f4. The Ukrainian might have misevaluated the resulting middlegame, which was fine for Black.

Did Eljanov misevaluate the middlegame position?| Photo Biel Chess Festival.

Navara won a pawn, and when Eljanov missed some chances to get a knight to d6 he lacked enough counterplay but still wasn't lost, until he played an erroneous exchange sacrifice, missing a beautiful reply. 

After 43.Rxc5+? Bxc5 44.Rxc5+ Navara played 44...Re5!! and after 45.Rxe5+ Kf6 the game score gives 46.Rd5, but it's hard to imagine that the move was really played.

“Of course I'm feeling happy because Pavel Eljanov is a very strong player,” said Navara to Danny King (see round report video below). “I had a bad score against him. I played three games against him with White; I lost two and saved one draw. This was surprising but OK, I can play even tough games sometimes. Today I was calculating more or less well in contrast to yesterday's game.”

About the final phase, he said: “I was a bit lucky that Pavel fell into the trap in the end,” and when King remarked: “This is a beautiful tactic at the end to win, really nice,” Navara countered with “Yes, I'm a specialist at such cheap tactics!”

Navara remained objective and was perhaps somewhat modest when he added: “I also played some other good moves but OK, the game was not clear until the end and, OK, today I was lucky.”


Navara back to 50 percent. | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

Two more players started with two draws: GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Radek Wojtaszek. Via a Réti they transposed into an Open Catalan, and the French played the line with 8.a4, to prevent ...b7-b5.

Black's queen's bishop is well placed on the h1-a8 diagonal, and reaches it via d7 to c6 in this variation. He also gets in the break ...c7-c5 much more easily than normal, but White hopes that his activity counts for something.

But alas for MVL, Wojtaszek was well prepared, improved upon a game Aronian-Karjakin from 2013 and quickly equalized.

Heavy theory? Vachier-Lagrave: “Heavy theory for most people. I just managed to recollect by miracle some game I had checked quite a long time ago. It seems interesting but maybe it's better designed for blitz games; I mean the time control this game was played in!”

Wojtaszek thought that after his novelty 17...g6 Black is fine: “This idea with 18...Nc6, well, it's just a pawn and it's a draw I thought.”

GM Danny King is providing daily round reports on his PowerPlayChess YouTube channel. Here's the report on the second round:

Today's third round will see Wojtaszek vs Eljanov, Adams vs Vachier-Lagrave and Navara vs Rapport. 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.

2015 Biel GM Tournament | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Adams,Michael 2740 2888 phpfCo1l0.png ½     1   1.5/2  
2 Rapport,Richard 2671 2736 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½       1.0/2 1.25
3 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2733 2701   ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½     1.0/2 1.00
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2731 2728     ½ phpfCo1l0.png   ½ 1.0/2 0.75
5 Navara,David 2724 2731 0       phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.0/2 0.50
6 Eljanov,Pavel 2723 2537       ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2  


The 48th Biel Chess Festival takes place July 18-30 in Biel, Switzerland. The Grandmaster Tournament is a double-round-robin with six players. 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. Games via TWIC  phpfCo1l0.png

Previous reports

More from PeterDoggers
Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Gender Bias Research Shows Parents, Mentors Shortchange Girls’ Chess Potential

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory