3 Leaders After Exciting Biel Round 3

3 Leaders After Exciting Biel Round 3

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

An exciting third round of the Biel Chess Festival's Grandmaster Tournament saw three decisive games, and three leaders at the end of the day: GM Maxime Vachier-LagraveGM Radek Wojtaszek and GM David Navara

As if the first two rounds hadn't brought enough excitement yet, the fans were treated with three decisive games in Biel's third round. The leader went down, and three others took his place.

Michael Adams, the only player on 1.5/2, was nowhere near his form of the first two days. He quickly got into trouble against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The game was a 3.Bb5 Sicilian that looked like a Ruy Lopez. The big difference was the white rook and queen, which had changed tasks on the d- and e-files. 

With his central pawn break 15...d5! Vachier-Lagrave made clear that the normal Spanish setup with Qd1 and Re1 works better for White. Black instantly equalized, and after just one careless move by Adams the Frenchman took complete control.

“It's a nice thing to beat Mickey with Black; to beat Mickey with any color is nice, with Black especially,” said Vachier-Lagrave to GM Danny King (see video below). “It happens once in a while that someone will miss some tactic and then things are very bad suddenly. It happened to everyone, including me lately!”

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov


 Poor form this time by Adams, and an excellent game by MVL. | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

David Navara started with a loss, but two rounds later he can be found at the top of the leaderboard. The Czech grandmaster defeated Richard Rapport, who chose to play the Chigorin Defense again. The opening wasn't to blame though!

Rapport turned it into a pawn sacrifice on move five, and three half-moves later the position on the board was completely new. After the queens were traded, White's extra pawn was a doubled one, and his c-pawn was isolated.

The queenless middlegame was highly complex, especially when a pawn race started. Just when he got a big advantage, Rapport made a mistake, allowed a tactic, had to defend and then erred again.

The game is about to start, closely watched by a GoPro camera. | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

“Normally I play more carefully but Richard surprised me in the opening,” said Navara. “Then the position became very double-edged and sharp, so I had to calculate a lot.

“I really like such positions and I like to calculate like this, but of course it's tiring and when I'm in a poor form I can blunder quite easily, but now I played quite well. OK, I achieved a significantly worse position at some moment but I was lucky to escape this time and then I caught my chance. Richard made a mistake on move 40, which is frustrating, I think.”

But of course it's more than just luck. Navara: “You also need to deserve the luck somehow. If I had missed the 40th move Ne4 I would not have won the game, so I need to be ready to exploit my opponent's mistakes, but basically it could have finished otherwise as well and I'm aware of it.”


Navara: a bit lucky, but with a sharp tactical vision. | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

Radek Wojtaszek played an excellent technical game from start to finish against Pavel Eljanov. “It feels fantastic,” said the Polish GM, who had used world championship preparation. Wojtaszek revealed that he had prepared this for Vishy Anand, but he didn't want to say for which match. “You would have to ask him!” he said. 

Wojtaszek reached an ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops that was very hard to defend for Eljanov. Black's 34...gxf5 might have been the decisive mistake. Wojtaszek remained extremely accurate for the remainder of the game.


Wojtaszek had good reason to feel “fantastic” after this game. | Photo Biel Chess Festival.

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

Thursday's fourth round will see Michael Adams vs Pavel Eljanov, David Navara vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Richard Rapport vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. 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 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2731 2852 phpfCo1l0.png ½   1   ½ 2.0/3 2.75
2 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2733 2828 ½ phpfCo1l0.png     ½ 1 2.0/3 2.00
3 Navara,David 2724 2831     phpfCo1l0.png 0 1 1 2.0/3 1.50
4 Adams,Michael 2740 2709 0   1 phpfCo1l0.png ½   1.5/3  
5 Rapport,Richard 2671 2612   ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png   1.0/3  
6 Eljanov,Pavel 2723 2450 ½ 0 0     phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/3  


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

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