Vachier-Lagrave beats Carlsen in 5th round Biel

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Vachier-Lagrave beats Carlsen in 5th round BielMagnus Carlsen suffered his first loss at the Biel Chess Festival on Saturday. With the white pieces Maxime Vachier-Lagrave held a small advantage for long, and eventually managed to break through the Norwegian's defence with a pawn sac, to score the full point after 96 moves. Alexander Morozevich is just one point behind Carlsen after beating Fabiano Caruana with Black.

General info

The 44th Biel Chess Festival takes place July 16-29 in Biel, Switzerland. The 'Grandmaster Tournament' is a six-player, double round robin with Caruana, Pelletier, Shirov, Carlsen, Morozevich and Vachier-Lagrave.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 'football' scoring system is in effect: three points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. Besides, no draw offers are permitted before move 30. More info here.

Round 5

Suddenly anything is possible in Biel after tournament leader Magnus Carlsen suffered his first loss, against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Normally Alexander Morozevich, who beat Fabiano Caruana, would have taken over the lead from the Norwegian on tie-break, with an even number of board points. However, as the football score is used, the Norwegian is still clear first, one point ahead of the Russian.

Carlsen wasn't himself on Saturday. He played quite passively and allowed his opponent to get a positional bind which he could try and win for hours, without any risk. The Frenchman manoeuvred for many, many moves and even had to worry a few times that he wouldn't allow a threefold repetition. The winning idea was pretty:

Vachier-Lagrave - Carlsen Biel, 2011



78. f4! This key move Vachier-Lagrave saw long before. 78... gxf4 79. Qh3 Kf7 80. Ra8 Qe6 81. Qh5+ Kf8



82. Qf5! Qxf5 83. gxf5 Rxa8 84. Rxa8+ Kf7 85. Kc2 Re7 86. Kd3 Re8 87. Ra7+ Kg8 88. Rg7+ Kf8 89. Rxh7 Kg8 90. Ra7 Kh8



91. h7! Rb8 92. Ke2 Rd8 93. Kf3 Rc8 94. Kg4 Rd8 95. Kh5 f3 96. Kg6 1-0

A good win for Vachier-Lagrave, who won the tournament two years ago

A good win for Vachier-Lagrave, who won the tournament two years ago



Caruana didn't have his day either, against Morozevich. In a Catalan the Italian seemed to have trouble finding a good plan right after the opening. Black kept his extra pawn, but then he played the break ...c5 too early, so that White got good compensation anyway.

However, when a pair of rooks and the queens went off the board, the ending was just very good for Black. Then, in timetrouble, both players missed that White could just win back the pawn, and after that Morozevich finished it off without further errors. It wasn't the best game of the tournament, but surely an important win for the Russian.

Morozevich beats Caruana in 5th round Biel

Morozevich beats Caruana, narrowing the gap with Carlsen



The draw between Yannick Pelletier and Alexei Shirov was quite interesting and their joint post-game analysis in the video below took more than half an hour. There were just too many fascinating variations in the ending! Well worth watching.

Pelletier and Shirov draw in 5th round Biel

Pelletier vs Shirov: a fascinating draw



Sunday is the second and final rest day in Biel. On Monday your editor-in-chief is travelling from Amsterdam to Biel by train, and I'll be providing some videos during the final rounds. After that, on my way back I'll make a stop in Dortmund to cover the last two rounds from there.

Games round 5



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Videos by Chessbase



Biel 2011 | Schedule & results
Round 1 18.07.11 14:00 CET Round 6 25.07.11 14:00 CET
Caruana ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
Pelletier 0-1 Carlsen Carlsen - Pelletier
Shirov ½-½ Morozevich Morozevich - Shirov
Round 2 19.07.11 14:00 CET Round 7 26.07.11 14:00 CET
Vachier-Lagrave 0-1 Morozevich Morozevich - Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 1-0 Shirov Shirov - Carlsen
Caruana ½-½ Pelletier Pelletier - Caruana
Round 3 20.07.11 14:00 CET Round 8 27.07.11 14:00 CET
Pelletier ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave - Pelletier
Shirov 1-0 Caruana Caruana - Shirov
Morozevich ½-½ Carlsen Carlsen - Morozevich
Round 4 22.07.11 14:00 CET Round 9 28.07.11 14:00 CET
Shirov ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave
Morozevich ½-½ Pelletier Morozevich - Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Caruana Shirov - Pelletier
Round 5 23.07.11 14:00 CET Round 10 29.07.11 11:00 CET
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Carlsen Vachier-Lagrave - Shirov
Caruana 0-1 Morozevich Pelletier - Morozevich
Pelletier ½-½ Shirov Caruana - Carlsen



Biel 2011 | Round 5 Standings (Classical)

Biel 2011 | Round 5 Standings (Football)
# Name Elo Points
1. Magnus Carlsen NOR 2821 10
2. Alexander Morozevich RUS 2694 9
3-4. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2722 6
3-4. Alexei Shirov ESP 2714 6
5. Yannick Pelletier SUI 2590 4
6. Fabiano Caruana ITA 2711 2



Photos © Biel Chess Festival



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