Fun Chess Opening Helps Mamedyarov Closer To Biel Victory
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Fun Chess Opening Helps Mamedyarov Closer To Biel Victory

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

Although he needs to survive his game with Magnus Carlsen today, three draws on Monday brought Shakhriyar Mamedyarov a small step closer to victory at the Biel Chess Festival. The Azerbaijani GM played the rare and entertaining Dilworth variation against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The Dilworth is a fun line. It occurs in the Open Ruy Lopez: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Bc5 10. Nbd2 0-0 11. Bc2

And now 11...Nxf2!? 12. Rxf2 f6. Giving two minor pieces for a rook and a pawn in the opening like this is usually not enough, but the open f-file provides some attacking chances.

It's one of the few opening variations that's named after an amateur player. Vernon Dilworth was a railway clerk who tried out the line in the years 1939-1941 in correspondence games, and then published some analysis in Chess magazine.

He got worldwide recognition and fame when none other than Mikhail Botvinnik tried out the line (unsuccessfully) in a game against Vasily Smyslov at the 1943-44 Moscow Championship.

Bent Larsen, Vassily Ivanchuk, Nigel Short, Peter Leko and Artur Jussupow have all tried it in their careers (the latter multiple times), but nowadays it's rarely seen at top tournaments. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, now a 2800 player, is the first 2700+ player to play it.

Asked what was going on, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave retorted instantly: "I don't know!" It showed the complexity of the game.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Biel 2018

MVL, about to face the Dilworth. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

"I overestimated my position. Unfortunately I cannot keep the queens, and that’s an issue," MVL said in more general terms.

Mamedyarov: "First I played not very well, but then I got my chances. It wasn’t enough, so a draw is a good result."

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Biel 2018

More Dilworths please, Shak! | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

As happens regularly, Peter Svidler was quite critical of his opening play. "If this is what I am doing against the Berlin I shouldn’t be playing 1.e4. It felt I was trying to equalize from move 12 onward," he said.

Magnus Carlsen got the better pawn structure in a QR-QR ending, but immediately threw away his advantage due to what you could call a misevaluation of a miscalculation.

Critical was 27...Rd8, and Svidler was quite worried about it. "Not to play this is just insane. I was calculating it before but then I thought there was no particular difference," Carlsen said.

Svidler, who is known to walk a lot during games, revealed that during this tournament he got permission to wear a wrist band. He said he does about 4-5 kilometers on average per game.

Magnus Carlsen Biel 2018

Carlsen had one chance vs Svidler today, but it's not even clear whether it would have been enough for a win. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Is Nico Georgiadis going to win one game in this tournament? It seems there's a curse against it. Well, that curse is called time trouble.

The Swiss GM was winning against David Navara but threw it all away when low on time. "I had 30 seconds. I couldn't calculate anything," he said.


Georgiadis vs Navara Biel 2018

Close to his first win, Georgiadis couldn't find his way in the complications while the clock was ticking (if digital ticking exists). | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Biel 2018 | Round 8 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2801 2901 ½ ½ ½1 11 6.0/8
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2842 2823 ½ ½½ ½ 5.0/8
3 Svidler,Peter 2753 2773 ½ ½½ ½0 ½ 11 4.5/8
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2779 2758 ½1 ½ 1 4.0/8
5 Navara,David 2741 2691 ½0 ½ ½ 3.5/8
6 Georgiadis,Nico 2526 2439 00 ½ 00 0 1.0/8


Games via TWIC.

Round-nine pairings (Monday): Navara vs Svidler, Georgiadis vs Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov vs Carlsen.

Tuesday's games start day at 2 p.m. central European time (5 a.m. Pacific, 8 a.m. Eastern). On Wednesday, the final round will start two hours earlier.

You can follow them in Live Chess. The Chessbrahs are providing daily commentary with GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton, which you can follow on and

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