Vachier-Lagrave leads in Biel with one round to go

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Biel 2009Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the surprising leader at the Biel Chess Festival after nine rounds. The Frenchman drew quickly with Gelfand today and saw co-leader Ivanchuk losing to Morozevich, while Alekseev and Caruana also split the point.

The Biel Chess Festival takes place July 18 to 31 in Biel, Switzerland. The Grandmaster Tournament is a six-player round-robin with Gelfand (2755), Morozevich (2751), Alekseev (2714), Vachier-Lagrave (2703), Ivanchuk (2703) and Caruana (2670).

Round 9

Who would have thought? Not three times winner Morozevich, not Ivanchuk, not title holder Alekseev, but Vachier-Lagrave is the proud tournament leader in Biel after nine rounds. And he didn't even have to do anything yesterday - literally. His quick draw with Gelfand (who must be wondering why these youngsters don't put up more of a fight against him) was another non-game as several other Petroffs have ended exactly the same, often with a few more moves.

And so the Frenchman mainly profited from a miscalculation by Ivanchuk, who sacrificed a rook against Morozevich for a mate that wasn't there. It looks like there was perpetual, though, if he had changed the move order, and since the position was roughly equal anyway, 25.dxe6 was not the mistake, only 26.Qxf7+ was.

Biel 2009

Caruana-Alekseev was also a draw but of the kind we like them: fought out until the very end. Black lost a central pawn but his activity on the kingside provided enough compensation. White picked up another pawn but then had to sacrifice an exchange to prevent Black from queening and then with two passed pawns and a knight versus a rook, Caruana came close to winning.

Alekseev saved the half point and so the Russian kept chances to retain his Biel title as he's playing Vachier-Lagrave in the last round.

Games round 9

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Biel Chess Festival 2009 | GM Tournament | Round 9 Standings Biel 2009

Biel Chess Festival 2009 | Schedule & results Schedule and results Biel 2009

Photos courtesy of the Biel Chess Festival


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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