Halfway Biel

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Finally there was a really spectacular game in Biel: Carlsen-Dominguez was a short but very lively draw. Alekseev-Onischuk was also drawn. In the batte of the tail-enders Etienne Bacrot beat Yannick Pelletier.

By Michael Schwerteck

Click here to download the games.

I didn't have the time to analyse the games properly, so let me just shortly summarize the first half of the tournament.

Magnus Carlsen has an amazing ability of constantly performing at least on 2800 level. He's doing exactly the same in Biel, although he hasn't shown anything really special so far. He twice missed the opportunity to place himself on top of the unofficial live rating list, but so what? He still has excellent chances to win the tournament and one day he will be world champion anyway.

Evgeny Alekseev's play is still hard to evaluate for me. Everything has gone smoothly for him so far, but Bacrot and Pelletier hardly offered any resistance to him. His 7th round game with Black against Carlsen will be crucial for the outcome of the tournament.

Leiner Dominguez has also had a decent first half. He might play an important role in the battle for first place. Still, I'm slightly disappointed that his play has become less sparkling than it used to be a couple of years ago.

Alexander Onischuk has done much better than I predicted. I'm still not very enthusiastic about his super-solid play, but as long as he is successful I can hardly criticize him.

Etienne Bacrot had a horrible start, but at least he finally managed to win a game. Let's see if this gives him a boost for the second half. Anyway, he most probably won't fulfil my prediction of +1.

Yannick Pelletier is playing even worse than I expected. Was the first round loss from a drawish position against Carlsen such a big shock? Time-trouble and passive play are the best way to self-destruct and if he doesn't change his attitude, the second half will be similarly bad.

Current standings:

1.-2. Magnus Carlsen and Evgeny Alekseev 3,5/5; 3.-4. Leinier Dominguez and Alexander Onischuk 3/5; 5. Etienne Bacrot 1,5/5; 6. Yannick Pelletier 0,5/5.

Pairings of the 6th round:

Pelletier ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Carlsen Bacrot ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Alekseev Onischuk ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Dominguez
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