Reports | June 15, 2013 11:20

Biel participants announced

Biel participants announced

The organizers of the Biel Chess Festival have announced the list of participants of their main event. This year the six players are Etienne Bacrot, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Moiseenko, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ding Liren, and Richard Rapport. The festival takes place 20 July - 2 August in Biel, Switzerland.

Biel is one of those tournaments with an amazing history. This year it's already the 46th edition, and it will be one with mixed feelings. The tournament will surely be a great event again, but at the same time everyone will be missing Olivier Breisacher, the tournament director for many years, who tragically died last summer during a holiday in Mallorca. Breisacher was a highly experienced professional, who knew how to treat chess like a "real" sport. It is well justified that the main event has been renamed "Grandmaster Tournament in memoriam Olivier Breisacher". 

The new tournament director, GM Yannick Pelletier, has formed the following, interesting group of participants (text taken from the tournament website):


Born: 22.01.1983 in Lille
Elo: 2725
World Ranking: 24
National Ranking: 1
Biel/Bienne GMT: 2nd in 2003, 4th in 2008, 5th in 2004, 2012

The multiple champion of France is a regular guest in the city of Biel. He came first in 1995, and has often attended the flagship tournament of the Festival since then. Player of a universal and conventional style, he has won manifold large tournaments, including the Aeroflot Open in Moscow (2009) and Poikovsky (2011) among the most recent ones.


Born: 14.07.1990 in Brjansk
Elo: 2717
World Ranking: 25
National Ranking: 7
Biel/Bienne GMT: first-time participation in 2013

Often compared to Alexander Morozevich for the originality of his style, he is one of the great talents of the younger generation of Russia. After participating in the Open of Biel in 2007, he will try his luck for the first time in the Grandmaster tournament. Winner of the Aeroflot Open in 2008, he obtained his finest titles in 2010, winning the European Championship in Rijeka and the Russian Championship.


Born: 17.05.1980 in Seweromorsk
Elo: 2711
World Ranking: 31
National Ranking: 4
Biel/Bienne GMT: first-time participation in 2013

The trained lawyer was the sole winner of the World Open in Philadelphia in 2008 and the Aeroflot Open in Moscow in 2009. However, he celebrated his greatest success this year in Legnica (Poland), when he became European Champion based on the best tie-break. He has played for the Ukrainian team at several occasions and has contributed to the win of two Olympiads in 2004 and 2010.


Born: 21.10.1990 in Nogent-sur-Marne
Elo: 2706
World Ranking: 41
National Ranking: 2
Biel/Bienne GMT: Winner in 2009, Co-winner in 2010 (3d according to the tie-break), 3d in 2011

Grandmaster since the age of 14, he became World Junior Champion in 2009. After his astonishing win of the Festival that same year (in front of Morozevich and Ivanchuk), he completed his winner's list with three Champion titles in France (2007, 2011, and 2012 tied with Etienne Bacrot and two other players). At ease in the calculation of variations, he excels in blitz (games with a speedy time control) and won the European Championship in this same discipline in 2010 and 2012.


Born: 24.10.1992 in Wenzhou (Province of Zhejiang)
Elo: 2702
World Ranking: 46
National Ranking: 3
Biel/Bienne GMT: first-time participation in 2013

Introduced to chess at the early age of 4, he became  Vice- World Champion in the U-10 and U-12 categories. In 2009, the 16-year-old, back then untitled, surprisingly won the Chinese Championship, finishing in front of Wang Hao, the winner of the last-year Grandmaster Tournament in Biel. Grandmaster shortly after, the young and rising Chinese repeated that same success over the past two years. China's number 2, he was also a member of the Olympic team of China in 2012.


Born: 25.03.1996 in Szombathely
Elo: 2674
World Ranking: 69
Juniors U-18: 1
National Ranking: 5
Biel/Bienne GMT: first-time participation in 2013

At only 14 he became the youngest Hungarian grandmaster in history. The extraordinarily talented young man is steadily increasing his Elo rating and is already world's No. 1 in the U-18 category. In 2012, he became Vice Junior World Champion, separated only by the second tie-break from the Champion Alexander Ipatov. This spring, he won the Neckar Open in front of Etienne Bacrot, as well as the strong tournament Sigeman & Co in Malmo. Thanks to invitations to such strong grandmaster tournaments like Biel, he hopes to make further progress.


The Biel Chess Festival always has many side events as well, including a strong open tournament. The dates are 20 July - 2 August, 2013. More information can be found at the tournament website.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Anonymous's picture

great to see Rapport playing in Biel ! 2700 very soon.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Rapport's participation is good news, and in general it will be an interesting tournament even though (or maybe because?) it lacks top10 superstars. Apparently they suffer from budget cuts and cannot quite compete with Dortmund this year.

Some questions remain: Whose invitation is conditional if Carlsen invites himself again? And, according to Stefan Löffler, part of the deal with Dominguez last year was an invitation for the 2013 event - yet, for some reason, he is not among the participants.

Anonymous's picture

Every tournament is honored to have Magnus Carlsen as a participant ! Even if for some extremely strange reason it let a bad taste in your mouth

Thomas Oliver's picture

The "extremely strange reason" was that they had to get rid of another confirmed participant (not revealing how this was achieved while selling it as "great news for the chess world"). And now - unless Dominguez himself declined the re-invitation - it appears that they don't keep their word to him for a second time.

Anonymous's picture

before making comments that look like vulgar gossips, you should take care of your own business

Anonymous's picture

being envious and jealous never leads to good thinking !

Morley's picture

To quote Thomas Oliver: "I am going to wait for a more qualified opinion."

Thomas Oliver's picture

"Qualified opinion" = opinion of Carlsen fans who try to dominate this forum?? I disagree ...

Hagen's picture

That's a cowards choice. You know official info won't come out. Carlsen and Biel organisers screwed Domi big time. There is no need to forget or hide.

MJul's picture

Mark Crowther commented here before April 28th. that it wasn't like that. He spoke to the organizer and there was other reason (wich he didn't say).

Fishy's picture

No really superstrongs in here. I mean 2800

Ludo Tolhuizen's picture

So what?

Anonymous's picture

Very interesting field of young, strong and promising players who all deserve the invitation with three more experienced grandmasters. This should make up for a great tournament. No idea why Dominguez isn't there, but that might be due to several reasons. Who knows, maybe he was invited and declined? Nonetheless, despite lacking absolute top names, this should be very interesting to follow!

S3's picture

Looks interesting. Let's hope that they won't throw out participants at the last minute again.

me's picture

Ofcourse not, there is no resistance, no challenge here.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

a lot of good tournaments in a row.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, we are quite spoiled these days. Better enjoy it while it lasts.

Anonymous's picture

I'm sorry Dominguez is not playing. If Carlsen shows up again they should let one player do the commenting each round instead of rejecting a confirmed participant.

Some good chess to be expected anyway ith this line-up.

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