Biel Chess 2022 announced

Biel Chess Festival 2022 is going to take place 10-24 of July offering a staggering of thirteen chess tournaments.

Last year, the final list of participants for our main event (GMT) could be announced only 48 hours before the official opening of the Festival. This year, it is four months in advance that we can present our elite line-up! The organizers are playing the renewal card after two years where everyone has been strongly impacted by the health crisis. In the hope of a definitive end to the crisis, they are offering chess fans a range of no less than fifteen different tournaments this summer! Also noteworthy is the introduction of an attractive prize money for amateurs who participate in the classical Open (ATO or MTO) and in minimum in two of the daily tournaments (960, QRT, QBT). Online registration will open at the same time as the Sun passes the vernal point, on March 21.

The winner of last year’s edition Gata Kamsky will once again play in Biel Chess

Grand Master Tournament (GMT)

This year, it will once again be played in the sporting form of a triathlon, with the ACCENTUS 960 tournament as a curtain raiser, which will also be used as tiebreaker between players tied on points at the end of the 28 matches that the eight champions will have to play in just one and a half weeks. Below is a list of the eight participants, ordered according to the FIDE standard ranking of March 1, 2022:

  • Andrey Esipenko (20 years old; Elo: 2723): The U20 number 2 signed his contract already at the end of December last year. He should therefore be the big favorite of the GMT 2022, provided the Swiss authorities do not ban him from coming to Switzerland. According to the measures taken by FIDE after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, the young Cossack will play under the flag of the World Chess Federation. He is one of the signatories who sent an urgent appeal to the Russian President on March 03: “We reject military practices on the territory of Ukraine and call for an early ceasefire and a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomatic negotiations. It pains us immensely to see the catastrophe that is befalling our peoples these days…”.
  • Quang Liem Le (31; Elo: 2709): The Blitz World champion 2013 is – for the time being – no longer listed in the FIDE Elo ranking, as he has not played any official games in classical chess since March 2020. It was planned that he would come to Biel during the 53rd Festival. But it’s only after two years of Covid pandemic that the man living in the USA can finally make his first appearance at the Congress Center of the watchmaking city!
  • Salem Saleh (29; Elo: 2690): The Arab number 1 is a regular in the Masters Tournament (MTO), which he won last year! Salem, who was stuck at the airport when he boarded his flight to the 2020 GMT, will be eager to take advantage of this new opportunity to showcase his enormous talent in the prestigious closed tournament.
  • Gata Kamsky (48; Elo: 2658): Biel has always been a good place for Kamsky, who this year wants to defend the title he brilliantly won last year in the main event. Let’s remember that Kamsky was already on the podium in Biel almost 30 years ago! In 1993, he finished second in the Interzonal, before qualifying for the final of the 1996 world championship, where he faced Anatoly Karpov for the world crown.
  • Vincent Keymer (17; Elo: 2655): The German prodigy, the current U18 number 1, will be competing for the third time in a row, this time with the aim of standing on the winners’ podium for the first time! Participating in the two Grand Prix tournaments in Berlin at the beginning of the year has undoubtedly given him not only the guaranty of belonging to the world’s best, but also the confidence and maturity needed to pull the chestnuts out of the fire at the Triathlon 2022!
  • Nodirbek Abdusattorov (17; Elo: 2651): The friendly Uzbek will make his comeback in Biel, having already participated in the first edition of the Triathlon at the age of 14 (!). In the meantime, the current U18 n°3 has been crowned world champion in rapid at the end of December 2021! With this skill, it could well be that the mix of speeds proposed by the GMT can play in his favor!
  • Arkadij Naiditsch (36; Elo: 2648): The old hand born in Riga, who replaced Salem Saleh at the last minute at the GMT 2020, returns to Biel to challenge the young generation who might think, a little too r apidly, they know more that the ancients born in the last century. As Gata Kamsky demonstrated last year, in the Triathlon the veterans among the athletes can play to their strengths. Moreover, the one who lives today in Thessaloniki will be able, unlike in 2020, to prepare himself in the best conditions.
  • Dommaraju Gukesh (16; Elo 2614): The U16 number 1 was recommended to us by none other than Vishy Anand, who is convinced that his protégé is already ripe to challenge the established hierarchies! Note that former World Champion Anand will be on site from July 12-15 to support his young compatriot, who could well reshuffle the cards during the entire triathlon, as he will certainly not settle for a place of honor.

Detailed program

Sunday, 10 July 2022Opening CeremonySimul
Monday, 11 July 2022GMT: 960Arrival DQT960 
Tuesday, 12 July 2022GMT: RapidDQT: RapidOpen Rapid 
Wednesday, 13 July 2022Free DayDQT: 960Master 1Amateur 1 
Thursday, 14 July 2022GMT 1DQT 1Master 2Amateur 2 
Friday, 15 July 2022GMT 2DQT 2Master 3Amateur 3 
Saturday, 16 July 2022GMT 3DQT 3Master 4Amateur 4DTO
Sunday, 17 July 2022GMT: BlitzDQT: BlitzOpen BlitzJTO
Monday, 18 July 2022Free DayFree DayMaster 5Amateur 5SJM 1-2
Tuesday, 19 July 2022GMT 4DQT 4Master 6Amateur 6SJM 3-4
Wednesday, 20 July 2022GMT 5DQT 5Master 7Amateur 7SJM 5-6
Thursday, 21 July 2022GMT 6DQT 6Master 8Amateur 8SJM 7
Friday, 22 July 2022GMT 7DQT 7Master 9Amateur 9 
Saturday, 23 July 2022BTO CH Sat. evening:
Sunday, 24 July 2022RAP CH  

In addition to the GMT (July 12-22) and the ACC (July 11), this year’s Festival offers thirteen other chess tournaments, which are briefly described here:

  • An ACCENTUS Women’s Quadriathlon (DAQ, from July 12 to 22): modeled on the prestigious GMT, four of the best Swiss players will participate, as well as four young foreign players of the same playing level. This will be our contribution to the “Year of Woman in Chess”, which was proclaimed by the International Federation at the beginning of the year.  Further details will follow shortly.
  • Open Tournaments (July 13-22) with a classical time control and with the possibility of taking “byes”:
    • Master Tournament (MTO): for players with 2000 Elo and more.
    • Amateur Tournament (ATO): for players with less than 2051 Elo.

ATO and MTO participants who pay the full registration fee (therefore does not apply to juniors and title holders) are eligible in the Quadriathlon if they play in at least two of the following three one-day tournaments: 960, QRT and QBT. The ranking of this richly endowed competition (CHF 900, 640, 360) is the sum of the points scored in the Open plus the two best results in the three one-day tournaments.

  • 960 (July 11): The first one-day tournament of the festival, the Fischer Random, is for amateurs. Points earned will be considered in the Quadriathlon.
  • QRT (July 12): rapid tournament, counts toward the Quadriathlon.
  • QBT (July 17): Blitz tournament, last stage of the Quadriathlon.
  • Final tournaments of the Swiss Youth Individual Championship (SJM, July 18-21): The qualified finalists of the U16, U14, U12, U10 and U8 meet for the third time in a row in Biel and fight for the gold medal in their respective category.
  • Swiss Blitz Championship (BTO, July 23): 13 rounds with cadence 3’+2”.
  • Swiss Rapid Chess Championship (RAP, July 24): 9 rounds with cadence 15’+5”.
  • Intergenerational Tandem Tournament (GEN CH, July 23): Team tournament with two players, either from the same family (child + parent or grandparent) or with an age difference of at least 25 years between the two members of the team.
  • JTO (July 17): free tournament for school children, supported by the Vinetum Foundation, which offers not only the prizes but also lunch for all participants!
  • DTO (July 16): tournament reserved for physicians only.
  • If a poker tournament is planned at the end of the Festival (Saturday, July 23), the very first chess tournament that we propose is the traditional simul exhibition (SIM, Sunday, July 10, 4 p.m.), which will take place two hours before the official opening ceremony and will be given by Mishra Abhimanyu, the youngest current Grand Master of all time!

Further information:

Peter Bohnenblust, OC President: 076 405 80 87

Paul Kohler, Tournaments Director:

Past winners of Biel Chess

1977 Anthony Miles (ENG)
1979 Viktor Kortchnoi (SUI)
1980 Yehuda Grünfeld (ISR) 
1981 Eric Lobron (GER); Vlastimil Hort (TCH) 
1982 John Nunn (ENG); Florin Gheorghiu (ROM) 
1983 Anthony Miles (ENG); John Nunn (ENG) 
1984 Vlastimil Hort (TCH); Robert Hübner (GER)
1986 Lev Polugajevski (URS); Eric Lobron (GER)
1987 Boris Gulko (USA) 
1988 Ivan Sokolov (YUG); Boris Gulko (USA)
1989 Vassily Ivantschuk (URS)
1990 Anatoly Karpov (URS)
1991 Alexej Shirov (LAT)
1992 Anatoly Karpov (RUS)
1994 Viktor Gavrikov (SUI) 
1995 Alexej Dreev (RUS) 
1996 Anatoly Karpov (RUS) 
1997 Viswanathan Anand (IND)
1998 Mladen Palac (CRO)
1999 Jeroen Piket (NED)
2000 Peter Svidler (RUS)
2001 Viktor Kortchnoi (SUI)
2002 Ilya Smirin (ISR)
2003 Alexander Morozevich (RUS)
2004 Alexander Morozevich (RUS)
2005 Boris Gelfand (ISR); Andrei Volokitin (UKR)
2006 Alexander Morozevich (RUS)
2007 Magnus Carlsen (NOR)
2008 Evgeny Alekseev (RUS)
2009 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)
2010 Fabiano Caruana (ITA)
2011 Magnus Carlsen (NOR)
2012 Wang Hao (CHN)
2013 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)
2014 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)
2015 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)
2016 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)
2017 Hou Yifan (CHN)
2018 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE)
2019 Santosh Vidit (IND)

2020 Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL)

2021 Gata Kamsky (USA)

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