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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Shines in Biel

42nd Biel International Chess Festival, 18-31st July

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Photo by Frederic Sellier

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The 42nd Biel International Chess Festival took place on 18-31st July in Biel, Switzerland. The Festival consisted of numerous attractive events – Grandmaster Tournament, Hanowa Generations Tournament, Master Tournament, Main Tournament, Rapid Tournament, Blitz Tournament, Chess960 Tournament, Vinetum Youth Tournament, Simultaneous Tournament, Chess-Tennis Tournament and Chess-Poker Tournament.

The main happening was six-player double round robin Grandmaster Tournament with average elo of 2716, which made it to be a 19th category competition. 18-years old French star Maxime Vachier-Lagrave eventually clinched a clear first place with six points from ten rounds, having scored two victories and eight draws.

Vachier-Lagrave won a nice game with white against Fabiano Caruana’s Berlin Wall in round 7 and then engaged himself in a real thriller with black against three-times Biel winner Alexander Morozevich in round 8. It is easy now to fire up chess engines and find better continuations for Moro, but nevertheless we have to appreciate the aesthetic pleasure produced by both players. We can barely imagine what they survived during the game, and Maxime only briefly commented that the experience was “quite frightening”. Vachier-Lagrave won that game and in the next round Morozevich even did him a favour by beating the then equal-first Vassily Ivanchuk.

The last round produced three draws, leaving Morozevich and Ivanchuk on shared second place. Last-year winner Evgeny Alekseev finished with 50% score, while Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand shared the last place with 4.0 points each. Replay the games bellow.

Final standings:

1. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2703 FRA) – 6.0

2-3. Alexander Morozevich (2751 RUS) and Vassily Ivanchuk (2703 UKR) – 5.5

4. Evgeny Alekseev (2714 RUS) – 5.0

5-6. Fabiano Caruana (2670 ITA) and Boris Gelfand (2755 ISR) – 4.0

Russian Grandmaster Boris Grachev (2669) won the 11-round Master Tournament with 8.5 points. More information on the official website.


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