Sunday, 1 August 2010

Biel 43rd International Chess Festival

I thought I would blog about the Biel 43rd International Chess Festival where for this year, the organisers decided to have a young GM-guns OK-corral style shootout. They have the following young GMs: Anish Giri, David Howell, Fabiano Caruana, Maxim Rodshtein, Parimarjan Negi, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son. As I previously blogged, I was hoping for a true slugfest with wild attacking, exciting games. But it has turned out to be a bit of a fizzer! (see here and here and here.)
Round 6, on Saturday, was another lame round. Even though all the players are quite young, they're going it round after round like they have no energy. Four of the five games were drawn, and in 20, 20, 24 and 31 moves. Geez. Only Howell - Vachier-Lagrave went the distance, and was won by Black. On Sunday they had an official day off (how could the spectators tell?), and hopefully on Monday they'll offer the fans something a bit more interesting. (Dennis Monokroussos)
Up to and including Rd 7, there were 26 draws and only 9 wins!

What's happening? They are young, aren't they? Is this premature ageing? Or is this early career burn-out? Or have they "bought" into the old men's stories of playing safe and don't take risks?

In any event, Round 8 was a surprise. Firstly there was a match-up between the tournament two dark-horses, Wesley So and Anish Giri. Well, Anish won!

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[Annotations by Chessvibes].
Giri - So was decided in a queen ending. So's clever 19...Bxh3!? led to that ending, where White was slightly better but a draw looked the likeliest result. The game was decided when So chose 34...f4?! 35.Qh4 Qxh4?, voluntarily transposing into a lost king and pawn ending. No doubt So missed White's triangulation maneuver on moves 42 and 43, but it was a bad risk to enter the pawn ending in the first place. Live and learn. (Dennis Monokroussos)
Also, David Howell finally won against the tournament out of form junior, Parimarjan Negi (But according to Dennis Monokroussos:"Howell - Negi saw the "Botvinnik System" of the 2.c3 Sicilian. Black was doing fine, but his plan of doubling rooks on the d-file followed by 26...Rd3 ingeniously forced White to beat him. White had no choice but to sac the exchange, and the result was a position where Black had no meaningful active possibilities whatsoever while White could try this and that. Soon White's position was not only easier to play but simply winning, and Black forced him into it!" See if you agree.).

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[Annotations by Chessvibes]
So did my favourite, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, who defeated Evgeny Tomashevsky.

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Tomashevsky - Nguyen was bad for White almost from start to finish. The ending - from move 35 on, say - was quite interesting, in that White desperately wanted to eliminate Black's d4-pawn while Nguyen kept finding ways to keep the pawn alive and meaningful. Black succeeded, and in the end White's preoccupation with the pawn left him unable to cope with threats to his king. (Dennis Monokroussos)

[......]Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son now did manage win, against Tomashevsky. And with creative play, we may add. Thanks to a strong pawn phalanx the exchange sac 27…Rxb6! was the obvious way to continue, and soon White had to give back the material, but more power moves (especially 36…d5!) decided the game. (Chessvibes)
But the co-leaders were the French junior and current World Junior Champion, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Italian(USA) Fabiano Caruana, both of whom also happen to be the first and second seeds.

The final pairings for the last round (Rd 9):
Maxim Rodshtein - Evgeny Tomashevsky
Parimarjan Negi - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Fabiano Caruana - David Howell
Wesley So - Dmitry Andreikin
Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son - Anish Giri

For the two co-leaders, they were expecting wins as they play the bottom two on current standings. If so, there will be a play-off "Thursday morning, from 11 am. Modus: two rapid games (10 minutes, with 10’’/move). If the result is 1-1, then two blitz will be organised." My tip for the Match of the day for Rd 9: Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son vs Anish Giri. Also, Wesley So vs Dmitry Andreikin will be interesting as Dmitry has to win to have any chance of tying for first. It is the same for Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (I am really having trouble knowing what to call him as I am very unfamiliar with Vietnamese names). Am I right? Stick around for the next blog!

You can play the games here or here (if you install Microsoft Silverlight). For commentary on Rd 6 and Wesley So's loss to Fabiano Caruana and Anish Giri's loss to Maxim Rodshtein, head here. There is also David Howell's loss to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

On a side note, Australian player from South Australia, Andrew Saint, has been blazing through the field in the third Main tournament at Biel (after the Young GMs and the Master tournaments). He was now sitting on 6/6 for a player ranked 51st with Elo of 1841 (which someone on ChessChat has suggested is a bit underrated). How did he finished up?

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