Carlsen Finishes 2nd Behind Mamedyarov In Biel
The start of the game Carlsen vs Georgiadis. | Photo: Simon Bohnenblust / Biel International Chess Festival.

Carlsen Finishes 2nd Behind Mamedyarov In Biel

58 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen finished in clear second place at the Biel Chess Festival after profiting from an endgame blunder by Nico Georgiadis today. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had already secured victory in the penultimate round.

When a game ends in a draw, it's not so strange if both players are unhappy. But sometimes a game ends decisively, and still both players are not happy.

Magnus Carlsen and Nico Georgiadis did not join the live commentary today, after they had played an excellent game that was sadly "disturbed" by a big blunder at the end. 

Carlsen had started the game with 1.e4 c5 2.Na3!?, a rare but known system. Vadim Zvjaginsev was the first strong grandmaster who started playing it, back in 2005. Players such as Dubov, Malakhov, Morozevich, Savchenko, Shabalov and even Svidler have tried it as well.

Magnus Carlsen 2.Na3 Sicilian

Carlsen played Zvjaginsev's 2.Na3 today. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Georgiadis played lots of sensible moves in the opening and actually reached a slightly better endgame. Carlsen avoided more trouble, and a draw would have been logical, until Georgiadis suddenly erred terribly. A sad way to end the tournament, and not the most pleasant way to win for Carlsen.


Nico Georgiadis Biel 2018

Georgiadis deserved a better way to end his tournament. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

At least Carlsen avoided further damage to his Elo rating. A draw with Georgiadis would have brought the lead over number-two Caruana in the rankings to an even smaller margin. The two players will face each other, probably for the last time before their match, in two weeks at the Sinquefield Cup.

Mamedyarov won a whopping 16 rating points. He is now only five points behind Caruana, and 20 ahead of Ding Liren.


The live ratings after today. | Image: 2700chess.

David Navara clearly didn't have his best day. He played the Giuoco Pianissimo inaccurately (although the players weren't exactly sure where), and then chose the unfortunate plan of Nf6-h7-g5, after which Maxime Vachier-Lagrave quickly reached a winning advantage.

The French GM recovered well from a 0.5/3 start, and his plus one was close to his expected score. “In the last portion I found back my chess, which I had lost for the last six months or so,” he said.

Svidler checking out Vachier-Lagrave vs David Navara Biel 2018

Svidler checking on MVL and Navara. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Tournament leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov finished his fantastic tournament undefeated as he drew with Peter Svidler. The latter was just very slightly better throughout the game, and introduced a new and interesting way of describing that: "I felt I was controlling the equality," said Svidler. 

Svidler also congratulated his opponent on his tournament victory, on behalf of the other players. He had started the press conference saying: "That was one of the more commanding performances we’ve seen in recent times."

Mamedyarov himself was almost too exhausted to express joy. He said: "I am very tired. All were interesting games. It was a very nice tournament, a very good organisation. I want to say, a big thanks to the sponsors. It was one of the best tournaments which I’ve seen, and the chess was also very interesting. Very fighting chess."

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Wins Biel 2018

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, the glorious winner in Biel. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Biel 2018 | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2801 2919 ½1 ½½ ½1 11 7.5/10
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2842 2791 ½0 ½½ ½1 6.0/10
3 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2779 2768 ½1 ½1 5.5/10 23.25
4 Svidler,Peter 2753 2772 ½½ ½½ ½0 ½½ 11 5.5/10 23.25
5 Navara,David 2741 2670 ½0 ½0 ½½ 4.0/10
6 Georgiadis,Nico 2526 2482 00 ½0 00 1.5/10


Games via TWIC.

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