Monday, 2 August 2010

Biel 43rd International Chess Festival_Final

To round up the exciting finish to the 43rd Biel Chess Festival and the premier event, the Young GMs tournament. As I predicted for Rd 9 (last round), Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son vs Anmisg Giri would turn out to be pivotal. Both the leaders, Fabiano Caruana and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, took easy draws to set up a playoff. But that allowed Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son to catch them by defeating Anish Giri. And that he did.
From a quiet King’s Indian Attack, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son slowly outplayed Anish Giri, who might regret his 17th move (e.g. 17…Rfe8 looks close to equal). After a forced sequence of moves an ending was reached where White had more than enough compensation for the pawn. (Chessvibes)
Position reached after 28 Rxb7. Can you as White win this? (Replay the game below to find out how.)



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This means and by virtue of a better Sonneborn-Berger points on tiebreak, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son went straight into the final playoff whilst Fabiano Caruana and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had to face each other first in semi-finals play-off. Both won their rapid games with the white pieces setting up an Armageddon-type final where White (Maxime) has to win and Black (Fabiano) only has to draw to proceed to the final play-off. The Goddess smiled her favours on Fabiano as Maxime blundered away a promising position.

So it was a Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son vs Fabiano Caruana in the final playoff and again, the Goddess smiled a second time. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son with the Black pieces gave away a possibly winning endgame two pawns up. Black just played 60...b4-b3. Can you win this as Black?



Now replay the game and spot where Black gave away the win.

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Fabiano did not make any mistake in his game with the Black pieces and managed to convert a Knight endgame with an extra pawn into a win. In the following position, what would you play? What was White's mistake? Can you see how Black might be able to win a pawn? As Black, can you convert the winning Knight endgame with the extra pawn? (Replay the game below to find out how.)



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So we have it, the 43rd Biel International Chess Festival Young GM Tournament Champion is GM Fabiano Caruana.

Dare I predict that this group of young GMs will continue their rivalry for many years to come? However, note that a number of other very promising young GMs are missing from the tournament, mainly from Russia and the Ukraine.

On a down note, the high number of draws have drawn very adverse comments from chess players/fans worldwide. I think that was a disappointment. My explanation is chess burnout. These young GMs are just playing way too much chess, they have not accumulated enough experience to play diverse openings and middlegames thereby allowing their opponents to "prepare" for them. Remembering Botvinnik's comments in his book, he strongly suggest taking rest time of up to 3 months or more (?) in between tournaments.

You can replay games and read the report by Chessvibes here; report by Chessbase here and here.

BTW, in the Main Tournament, South Australian Andrew Saint came equal second with 7/9, see here.

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