The 2013 edition of the Biel International Tournament began today. The main grandmaster section shows a highly interesting lineup. The organizers decided to gather a group of ambitious and strong players that are highly motivated to get first place in an event of this caliber. Very few times we see round-robin tournaments with these characteristics.
The first round did not disappoint the chess fans. Despite the fact that the players signed three draws, the games were very entertaining. As expected, the competitors chose creative opening lines looking for the slightest chance to create unbalanced positions.
Current European Champion Alexander Moiseenko is a long-standing figure in the chess scene, and got a well-deserved invitation to this year’s event. The Ukrainian faced today one of the most interesting newcomers to the elite, the young Chinese star Ding Liren.
The Ukrainian played white and went for a strange line against the King’s Indian Defense put up by his opponent. Ding tried to take advantage of white’s speculative play by choosing the most active continuations. Moiseenko demonstrated that he was very well prepared and kept the balance throughout the game. The score-sheets were signed on move 41.
Ian Nepomniachtchi had the white pieces against first seed Etienne Bacrot. These two players have proved that they can battle against the elite without any problems, but at the same time, they do not show the required level of stability to rise to the very top and stay there. Their playing strength is not in doubt, anyway.
The French grandmaster went for a rather passive line with black, looking for equality from the get go and expecting his young opponent to overestimate his position and go astray. Nepomniachtchi, true to his style, played actively. The game became quite sharp with chances missed by both sides according to the computer. In the final position, Bacrot is a pawn up in a queen’s endgame, but it is clear that white will be able to defend the draw without much trouble.
The shortest game of the day was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Richard Rapport. These two young stars will probably fight over the board a lot of times in the future. The French is slightly more experienced in this sort of events, but we cannot underestimate the Hungarian, who won the Sigeman Tournament this year.
Both GMs went for the initiative from the opening phase. Rapport declined a pawn sacrifice offered by his opponent and tried to avoid the very main lines of theory. On move 16, the Hungarian saw a chance to force a draw and got an important half point with black to begin the tournament.
23.07.2013 14:00: Round 2
Etienne Bacrot – Ding Liren
Richard Rapport – Alexander Moiseenko
Ian Nepomniachtchi – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave