Carlsen starts with a win in Biel

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Three draws in first round BielOn Monday the 'Accentus Grandmaster Tournament' of the Biel Chess Festival started. In the first round Magnus Carlsen defeated Yannick Pelletier on the black side of a Grünfeld. Alexei Shirov and Alexander Morozevich split the point in an interesting French while Fabiano Caruana and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drew a Najdorf middlegame with opposite-coloured bishops.

General info

The 44th Biel Chess Festival takes place July 16-29 in Biel, Switzerland. As always the festival contains many different tournaments, including a strong open which lasts 11 rounds, but also a rapid and a blitz tournament, a Chess960 event, youth events and simuls.

The top attraction is simply called 'Grandmaster Tournament'. It's a six-player, double round robin with Fabiano Caruana from Italy, Yannick Pelletier from Switzerland, Alexei Shirov from Latvia, Magnus Carlsen from Norway, Alexander Morozevich from Russia and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from France.

The participants in Biel

Interestingly, this year the top group is sponsored by Accentus, an umbrella foundation based in Zurich and devoted solely to charitable purposes. It supports and encourages social, charitable, ecological, cultural, and other philanthropic projects, as can be read on their website.

The rate of play is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 61. The organizers chose to use the 'football' scoring system: three points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. Besides, no draw offers are permitted before move 30.

For most chess fans the participation of Magnus Carlsen will be of most interest, The 20-year-old Norwegian has good memories of Biel: in 2005, at 14 years old, he played his first ever GM tournament and in 2007, at 16, he won the 40th anniversary edition. As the organizers revealed in a press release a while back, ‘support of a private sponsor’ was needed to get Carlsen back to Switzerland.

Another very interesting name is Alexander Morozevich, who has barely played chess in the last year or so. However, recently the former world's number two won the Russian Championship Higher League so who knows what he's going to do in Switzerland...

In the first round the top seed and the last seed met each other: Carlsen beat Pelletier with the black pieces in a Grünfeld Defence. In a complicated middle game Black ended up with an extra pawn, but a slightly worse king's position. Carlsen managed to reach a queen endgame with two passed pawns, but needed run his king all the way to the other end of the board to win this.

Biel R1: Pelletier vs Carlsen

Morozevich played his favourite Classical French but Shirov said that he didn't expect this particular variation. It has been quite popular recently, and over the board Shirov wasn't able to change what seems to be the currently theoretical verdict: that Black is doing OK.

Biel R1: Shirov vs Morozevich

The game between Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave also ended in a draw. The young Italian, who recently won a strong tournament in India, missed a big opportunity to start this tournament with a victory too. On move 40 Caruana missed the deadly blow Qf7, and a move later he was probably still winning. A narrow escape for the Frenchman.

Biel R1: Caruana-Vachier

Games round 1

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Videos by Chessbase

Biel 2011 | Schedule & results

Biel 2011 | Round 1 Standings (Classical)

Biel 2011 | Round 1 Standings (Football)
# Name Fed ELO Points
1. Magnus Carlsen NOR 2815 3
2. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2722 1
3-5. Alexei Shirov ESP 2714 1
3-5. Fabiano Caruana ITA 2711 1
3-5. Alexander Morozevich RUS 2694 1
6. Yannick Pelletier SUI 2590 0

Photos © Biel Chess Festival


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