Wojtaszek Grabs Sole Lead In Biel; 3 Rounds To Go

Wojtaszek Grabs Sole Lead In Biel; 3 Rounds To Go

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Radek Wojtaszek beat GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave convincingly to become the sole leader at the Biel Chess Festival's Grandmaster Tournament. GM Michael Adams defeated GM Richard Rapport after 118 moves.

It's hardly possible to play a perfect game of chess, but Radek Wojtasek came quite close on Monday in Biel. He got his preparation, built up a huge positional advantage, won a pawn and decided the game in a double-knight ending.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played his usual Grünfeld, and Wojtaszek had chosen the 4.Bf4 variation. MVL didn't hesitate and went for the modern line with 6...Be6, forcing White to make a decision with his c-pawn.

The pawn was pushed to c5, which was considered to be a positional error in the old days. Isn't Black getting his e7-e5 break in too easily now? Sure, but meanwhile Black's bishop was pushed back to c8, White had a better development and could start a queenside attack.

And then, after you have your nice center pawns on d5 and e5, what are you going to do as Black? MVL made the wrong choice of closing the center.

Wojtaszek: “I was quite lucky that I prepared exactly the idea which happened in the game and then he played this move 15...e4 ,which is probably a mistake because what he should play is 14...exd4 exd4 and 15...b5 instead of 14...Bh6 I think.

“After 15...e4 I'm just better and my advantage is quite solid, and it's not his style to just sit and defend. That was enough to score,” said the leader of the tournament with three rounds to go.

A close to perfect game by Wojtaszek. | Screenshot from video below courtesy of the Biel Chess Festival.

At the start of the round, something peculiar happened on the board of Michael Adams and Richard Rapport. Adams started with 1.e4, the move he has played since he left the cradle, but nonetheless Rapport started pondering for almost five minutes!

In his video GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov asked David Navara and Pavel Eljanov about this moment. “I know this sometimes happened with Bronstein,” said Eljanov. “You can't ask him unfortunately now but there might be some reason. Maybe he just tried to concentrate before the start of the game.”

Navara: “I have no suggestions because I am not such a good psychologist to tell you this, I'm sorry! I do this only when I am choosing between several options and I'm trying to recall my preparation or at least to decide what to avoid and to play basically. When I know what my opponent is going to play, I am not hesitating to play my move.”

After almost five minutes Rapport plays 1...e6. | Screenshot from video below courtesy of the Biel Chess Festival.

Eventually Rapport went for the French Defense. In the middlegame he offered several move repetitions, but Adams decided to play on. He was proven right when Rapport made a strange decision on move 28.

The Hungarian grandmaster spent 10 minutes on the weakening 28...b5?!, which allowed all kinds of tactics based on the pinned knight. Before he knew it, a sacrifice on e6 was in the air, and there was nothing to be done about it.

Adams took it, and went for an ending with four pawns against a piece. Remarkably, he got exactly the same material distribution earlier in the tournament against Navara. 

However, it was right at that moment where Adams missed a clear win, if he had kept the queens on the board. But also in the endgame he was much better, and eventually the Englishman converted, on move 118.

David Navara and Pavel Eljanov played “one of those games” on “one of those days,” as Kasimdzhanov put it. Somehow all the pieces got traded, and a dead-drawn rook endgame appeared on the board very quickly. On move 40 the players were allowed to agree to a draw, and so they did.

 A rather dull draw between Navara and Eljanov. | Screenshot from video below courtesy of the Biel Chess Festival.

GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov is providing daily round reports on the PowerPlayChess YouTube channel. Here's the video on the seventh round:

Tuesday's eighth round will see Pavel Eljanov vs Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Michael Adams and Richard Rapport vs David Navara. 

2015 Biel GM Tournament | Round 7 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2733 2815 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½1 1 ½1 4.5/7
2 Adams,Michael 2740 2760 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 11 0 0 ½1 4.0/7 13.25
3 Navara,David 2724 2772 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 4.0/7 12.75
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2731 2721 ½0 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ ½ 3.5/7
5 Eljanov,Pavel 2723 2673 0 1 ½½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 3.0/7
6 Rapport,Richard 2671 2573 ½0 ½0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/7


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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