Reports | July 22, 2012 14:10

Biel Chess Festival takes off with exhibition blitz tournament

Biel Chess Festival

Today the Biel Chess Festival starts with an exhibition blitz tournament, to celebrate the 45 years of the festival. It's a knockout with Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamaura, Alexander Morozevich, Wang Hao, Etienne Bacrot, Pentala Harikrishna, Yannick Pelletier and Alexandra Kosteniuk. The blitz started at 14:00 CET and you can follow it live here.

Here's a press release we received on July 6th about the chess festival in Biel:

Magnus Carlsen comes back to Biel

To celebrate its 45th anniversary, the Festival is pleased to announce that World Number 1 Magnus Carlsen, who has already won twice in Biel (2007 and 2011), will come back for the 2012 edition. The Norwegian will replace Leinier Dominguez Perez to take part on Sunday, July 22 in the 45th anniversary blitz tournament and from Monday, July 23, in the Grandmaster Tournament, which will be a category XXI  tournament (2756 Elo average) for the first time in its history.

This will be the strongest invitational tournament ever played in Biel and in Switzerland. With Magnus Carlsen (No. 1), Hikaru Nakamura (No. 7) and Alexander Morozevich (No. 9), three members of the Top-10 and four from the Top-15 will be competing, with Wang Hao’s (No. 15) first participation. Etienne Bacrot and Anish Giri will complete the line-up.

Name Fed Year Ranking Rating
Magnus Carlsen NOR 1990, 21 yo FIDE 1 2837
Hikaru Nakamura USA 1987, 25 yo FIDE 7 2778
Alexander Morozevich RUS 1977, 35 yo FIDE 9 2770
Wang Hao CHN 1989, 23 yo FIDE 15 2739
Etienne Bacrot FRA 1983, 29 yo FIDE 31 2713
Anish Giri NED 1994, 18 yo FIDE 49 2696

In an earlier announcement Leinier Dominguez was on the list and Magnus Carlsen was not, but later Carlsen replaced the Cuban grandmaster. Last year the Norwegian won the tournament with a round to spare.

The opening ceremony of the tournament was on Saturday, with a game between the players and Hans Altherr (President of the council of states) & Erich Fehr (Mayor of Biel) on a big chess set. | Photo Biel Chess Festival

The players of the main event: Alexander Morozevich, Hikaru Nakamura, Magnus Carlsen, Etienne Bacrot and Wang Hao. Anish Giri finished (and won) the Dutch Championship on Saturday and travels to Switzerland on Sunday. | Photo Biel Chess Festival

The Biel Chess Festival includes many side events, including a strong open with different sections, a rapid tournament, a blitz tournament, a youth tournament, a Chess960 tournament and more. You can find the official website here.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

Chess.com

Comments

Thomas's picture

I still wonder how exactly Dominguez was replaced by Carlsen. The press release doesn't exactly suggest that Dominguez wanted to drop out for whatever reason and the organizers found an excellent replacement - more as if Carlsen wanted to be in, hence Dominguez is out.

Various websites had reported this news without further details or wondering about what's going on. So far I assumed that Chessvibes delayed the news because they wanted to contact the organizers and/or Dominguez. After I wrote a more critical report on a German blog ( http://schach-welt.de/BLOG/Blog/BbbD-Bielsagtbye-byeDominguez ) Stefan Löffler commented, I slightly paraphrase: "It's true that Carlsen was looking for a tournament after the cancellation of Bazna, and his management spoke with the Biel organizers. They compensated Dominguez with an invitation for Biel 2013."

While Dominguez was the quasi-local player - he is currently living mostly in Geneva where his girl-friend works as a physicist (also mentioned by Löffler) - it isn't quite comparable to a local amateur making room for a GM in a blitz event. At least potentially, it's worse than Kamsky losing a spot in the Grand Prix (which he hadn't exactly earned in the first place) and comparable to Atalik being banned from playing events in Greece. Before anyone calls me a Carlsen hater (some certainly will), I would say the same if Dominguez had been replaced by Anand, Aronian or Kramnik - though I wonder if their managers would have (successfully) contacted organizers of an event with a finalized field. Unlikely that Kramnik would even consider playing Biel right after Dortmund - even if Georg Meier apparently does as he is 10th seed in the Biel Open.

Chess Fan's picture

Thomas, you are talking about Magnus.
Are you really surprised that the organizers replaced Dominguez by Magnus, all your nice logic in your lengthy exposition not withstanding? Magnus is the most, hot selling commodity in chess today, with probably the exception of the prestige of a player with the title of the "World Champion" brings to a tournament.

Thomas's picture

It's not about being surprised - why should I be surprised if many journalists aren't (which, however, surprises me even more than what the Biel organizers did)? It's about logic which you seem to recognize - and which needs more words than writing "Carlsen is hot". It burns down to two questions:

Are comparatively rare invitations for second-tier players nowadays conditional (at least in Biel), void if a stronger and/or more popular player becomes available? Should the Carlsen management (ab)use Carlsen's status in such a way?

It's also about how the whole deal is sold as if it's perfectly normal to dump Dominguez for Carlsen (to me it isn't), not mentioning whether Dominguez was simply un-invited or if he 'voluntarily' followed a suggestion by the organizers to surrender his spot. The latter is slightly better, but to me it's still rude to even ask such a question, and could Dominguez really say "no, I insist on my player's contract"?

BTW Carlsen could have played in Amsterdam without pushing another player aside. But maybe he doesn't like adjournments, which make it more difficult to win equal endgames against an opponent who's getting tired ... .

Anonymous's picture

Thomas, valid and good points. Don't mind the haters, who can't think of anything useful to say and thus focus on your person instead (thereby breaching terms and conditions of chessvibes ) .

redivivo's picture

"maybe he doesn't like adjournments, which make it more difficult to win equal endgames against an opponent who's getting tired ... "

You don't like Carlsen much, do you?

Fireblade's picture

I guess Carlsen will play a tournament for which he was not invited (even at the expense of others) if he is available, but will duck a World Championship match even when available and having qualfied for....

MW's picture

"...it's worse than Kamsky losing a spot in the Grand Prix (which he hadn't exactly earned in the first place) and comparable to Atalik being banned from playing events in Greece. Before anyone calls me a Carlsen hater (some certainly will)..."

The weight of your previous posts would tend to show you as, at a minimum, someone who isn't exactly a Carlsen fan. Now there is nothing wrong with not being some player's fan, but to say that Dominguez getting bumped in favor of Carlsen is comparable to the Atalik incident shows a lack of objectivity. It may not have been nice to bump Dominguez, but that is worlds away from the authoritarian move of Atalik's banning.

rogge's picture

Thomas has been in a bad mood since Caruana defeated Kramnik. Dortmund was tailor-made for Kramnik (lots of rabbits), but he failed big time. Give him a few days.

redivivo's picture

Yeah, he'll be happy again the next time Kramnik wins a tournament, not enough 2600s in this one :-)

Anonymous's picture

Keep it cool, no need to make it personal again. It's a sign of weakness and Thomas was already asking about this way before Kramnik lost against Caruana.

Anonymous's picture

It's not comparable but certainly quite despicable.
And frankly it's a good reason to dislike Carlsen.
It would be even more unfair of the organizers abusing their power like that.
But we still don't know if it is true!

The chess journalists should try to get some info on this for sure. I think that even rogge would agree to that, despite his campaign of personal attacks against Thomas. At least Thomas brings up an important question. Dominguez salary depends on it.

MW's picture

I guess I'll reserve judgment until we know the facts from a reliable source. If Carlsen (e.g.) called the organizers and said "I want to play. Who can we bump?", then that certainly would be distasteful. But lets see if that really turns out to be the case.

redivivo's picture

Just look at all the posts here from a couple of weeks ago about how disgracefully Carlsen behaved by playing the World Blitz Championship. He "once again exposed to the world what a person he is" etc by not boycotting. Last year's World Blitz had been cancelled, and because of this Carlsen shouldn't have accepted to participate this year, since another federation arranged it this year without inheriting last year's qualifiers. NB that it was only Carlsen that behaved disgracefully by participating, none of the other players :-) And of course it would be the same thing this time if Anand participated instead of Carlsen. No one would even discuss why Anand was invited, or make the Atalik comparisons, or come with the same old same old about what a bad person Carlsen is etc.

Anonymous's picture

You are framing and making things up. I looked back and Thomas never said such things about the World blitz and Carlsen. I've always liked this site but you are starting to poison the atmosphere with this obsession.

redivivo's picture

I certainly never claimed that Thomas wrote something like that, so I think it is you who are making things up.

Thomas's picture

So your point is that I shouldn't make critical comments about Carlsen because others who might hate him go over the top? I don't hate him, I just do not quite share the hype around him and do also respect other players such as Dominguez.

And rogge's point - which you support - was that I shouldn't comment on Carlsen because Kramnik lost one game in a different event. A matter of taste if not winning Dortmund and losing two (2) rating points is a big failure, in any case it's rather unrelated to Biel.

redivivo's picture

No, just that every time Carlsen plays one can count on that there will be many very negative posts here from the same posters regardless if they are "Anonymous" or not, not only like yours about Carlsen winning equal endgames because the opponents get tired, that Carlsen is hyped, etc.

I certainly don't think that you shouldn't comment on Carlsen because Kramnik lost a game, and haven't said so either. And I certainly don't think Kramnik's Dortmund was a big failure, the people saying that he played World Champion chess here were exaggerating a bit though, just like those calling Carlsen's second places in the blitz and rapid championships humbling results when he after all performed well over 2800 in them.

Anonymous's picture

Maybe you should try to make a post on the subject at hand for once. Do you have an opinion about Dominguez being replaced or are you just complaining about the internet?

redivivo's picture

So who decides what is the subject at hand? Anonymous declared that what happened is both quite despicable and a good reason to dislike Carlsen, and stated in the same post that we don't know what happened. I have no idea what happened either, but it's not unusual that players withdraw and it rarely creates much discussion (unless Carlsen is involved). I can recall Morozevich withdrawing from Wijk, Amber, Biel and some other tournaments. Now Dominguez withdrew and no one knows why, except that whatever happened is despicable and a good reason to dislike Carlsen.

Anonymous's picture

It's pretty clear that Thomas isn't the subject at hand. Nor is Dortmund. Just try will you.

redivivo's picture

Ah, now I get it, answering your posts is never the subject at hand.

Thomas's picture

It gets a bit repetitive: If Dominguez withdrew and was (then) replaced by Carlsen, there's no problem. I still wouldn't consider it entirely good news: there might be sad reasons (illness, unpleasant personal affairs) for Dominguez' withdrawal, and I think we see enough of Carlsen but not quite enough of Dominguez and comparable players (e.g. Tomashevsky, Jobava, Jakovenko).

But it at least looks as if Carlsen was in or knocking at the door before Dominguez was out - Dominguez was either simply kicked out or strongly encouraged to withdraw (he didn't contact the organizers, the organizers contacted him). Others would need to shed light on this, either the organizers themselves or journalists - as I wrote at the very beginning, I was wondering if Peter Doggers tried to get the story behind the press release.

On Dortmund (rather off-topic) only that much: How do you even know that I'm unhappy with Kramnik's loss against Caruana? I never said so (well I did in one private email). But losing with black against Caruana is nothing to be terribly ashamed of - it could have easily happened to Carlsen in Wijk aan Zee this year ... . In any case (again I am repetitive) Dortmund has nothing to do with Biel, and I would write the same if Kramnik had repeated his Dortmund result from last year.

Thomas's picture

As you replied "Yeah" to rogge's post, I assumed that you fully agree with him ... . While it's a bit funny or strange that most people who share my view prefer to remain "Anonymous" (BTW Dominguez couldn't if he isn't happy with the turn of events), it doesn't really matter - I also don't know who redivivo, rogge and others are in real life, and it's irrelevant. Once again, I am not responsible for what others - Carlsen fans and Carlsen "haters" write!

As to Carlsen winning equal endgames: Physical and mental fitness after many hours of play is a quality, and one which - together with consistency - distinguishes him from his peers. From my patzer point of view, I wouldn't say he has superior chess understanding, but that's just an opinion.

Why do you think he declined the Amsterdam invitation? Given reason was that it's too soon after Astana, but Karjakin and Ivanchuk successfully played two events right after each other (at least the second one for Chucky). Carlsen could have told the Biel organizers "no need to make special efforts (bump another player) for me, I will play the other event!".

As to Carlsen being hyped, Chess Fan's response to my first comment is a good example: Carlsen is "hot", hence "cold" players have to step aside for him!? I disagree ... .

redivivo's picture

Well I do agree with rogge that you're unhappy about Kramnik's loss, but the smiley meant that it wasn't particularly seriously meant. No one has to like Carlsen, even if I do think you state that he is hyped a few times before and during most of the tournaments he play, regardless how well he plays. I couldn't imagine writing even once that Kramnik or Anand or anyone else is hyped, they are just great chess players, like Carlsen. In Carlsen's case I rather think he is underestimated. 11 tournament wins in his last 16, ten 2815+ performances in a row, #1 for quite a long time already at 21 etc.

Zeblakob's picture

lol @ "... you're unhappy about Kramnik's loss"

Zeblakob's picture

lol @ "... you're unhappy about Kramnik's loss"

rogge's picture

That's a lie, I never wrote that. However, I wrote you've been in a bad mood, and by the looks of it you still are :)

Regarding your speculations, well I'd like to see some facts. Nothing so far.

Anonymous's picture

There is strong circumstancial evidence and the commentary of chess reporter and NIC writer Stefan Loffler. And Thomas is very open about that. So there is a task for other chess reporters to investigate the matter. Of course Dominguez wouldn't complain by himself if he is dependend on an invitation for Biel 2013, but one could ask him or the organisation for a clarification. If true, it would obviously be quite bad. Rogge doesn't like this news so he just tries to shoot the messenger.
It seems ethics and journalism don't matter for him, very sad.

rogge's picture

No news, just speculations :) Why are you hiding behind the Anonymous-handle? :)

You're pretty upset both of you, aren't you? Get a statement from Dominguez, provide some facts. Meanwhile, chess fans around the World are happy to see Carlsen play in Biel :)

Anonymous's picture

It would be a bloody shame if professional players would really be treated like that and it will hurt chess in the long run. Based on your agressive response to other people I rather think that you are upset.

rogge's picture

I don't care what Anonymous thinks. Be a man, show your handle :)

Anyways, enough of this. Boring people :)

Anonymous's picture

You do care. That's why you keep replying. Sad.

Thomas's picture

One thing I criticize or am puzzled about is that the organizers (the most reliable source) don't give details, and several chess sites (Chessbase, Whychess, Chessdom, TWIC, now also Chessvibes) don't seem to care or actually call it good news for chess fans. If Stefan Löffler - IM and chess journalist writing for German mainstream media - is a reliable source, Carlsen DID call the organizers saying "I want to play" and must have known that this is only possible if one of the confirmed participants is bumped.

One reason I brought up Kamsky and Atalik: people are quick to criticize strange things happening which involve FIDE or national (Turkish and Greek) federations - fair enough but they seem to be far less critical towards private organizers. IMO Atalik's case is similar though obviously not identical. Note that I don't refer to the broader picture - the Turkish federation tries to deprive him of ALL sources of income - but to the specific case of one Greek event. Presumably Dominguez and Atalik both had player's contracts or at least agreements with organizers that suddenly became void. In Atalik's case, because he violated Turkish federation rules (debatable if this should prevent him from playing events abroad, Greek organizers think so). In Dominguez' case, basically because he wasn't first or even sixth choice by the organizers - which was known to the organizers when they invited him. I would say the only legitimate reason to bump players is if they commit "international offenses" such as cheating, attempting to beat up an opponent with fists rather than chess pieces, maybe also something like racist public statements.

And I mentioned Amsterdam because, if Carlsen merely was looking for a tournament after Bazna was cancelled (officially postponed) he could have played there and my eyebrows wouldn't have been raised. To me, "he doesn't like adjournments" is the most plausible reason why he preferred Biel over Amsterdam.

noyb's picture

Nice job by Nakamura, winning the Blitz exhibition in Biel!

Chess Fan's picture

I expect Magnus to easily win this tournament. There is no challenge to his chess ability in this tournament, relatively speaking - no Kramnik, Aronian, or Anand.
Hope I am wrong and this tournament is more interesting.

redivivo's picture

The field looks very interesting. Morozevich tends to play on a higher level than usual in Biel, Nakamura is exciting and Giri entertaining. There are no participants of the Dortmund level, that were lost around move 20 in many of their games.

Going by the rating list Giri is the "weakie" but he is probably quite underrated going in as 2696, having gained lots of points since then after crushing all opposition in the Dutch Championship. He has already won a very strong tournament in January in Reggio Emilia, ahead of Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Nakamura and Caruana.

Carlsen has won many stronger tournaments than this, but little separate the top players and my guess is that it's Nakamura's time to win and finally also beat Carlsen in a game. Maybe it's time for Carlsen long sequence of 2815+ performances to be broken, it has to end some time and there are no easy games in this field. So my guess is: 1.Naka 2.Carlsen 3.Giri 4.Moro 5.Bacrot 6.Wang Hao

anna's picture

my guess is :
1Carlsen; Nakamura
3 Bacrot
4 Wang; morozevich
6giri

Zeblakob's picture

My guess is that your guess is wrong :)

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for sharing that. Really interesting to know what you think is going to be the final standing.

Anonymous's picture

Very informed piece and thought out logic as well. Thanks again man, I can't wait to see others do the same!

Jambo's picture

Well Thomas your points are correct and well taken, just because someone is the top dog in chess doesn't mean the have a right to axe Dominguez anymore than a celebrity can just bump someone off a flight. BTW I'm a Carlsen fan but like you I simply like fair play.

I'm also a Nakamura fan and hope he can get the Carlsen monkey off his back and finally win one against Magnus in standard time control but have muted expectations. Morozevich is playing well and his style of going for broke appeals to me. Then Giri who went into free fall looks to have orientated himself. Barcot and Hoa fill seats but who knows now that I have said it for the record.

Jambo's picture

Well Thomas your points are correct and well taken, just because someone is the top dog in chess doesn't mean the have a right to axe Dominguez anymore than a celebrity can just bump someone off a flight. BTW I'm a Carlsen fan but like you I simply like fair play.

I'm also a Nakamura fan and hope he can get the Carlsen monkey off his back and finally win one against Magnus in standard time control but have muted expectations. Morozevich is playing well and his style of going for broke appeals to me. Then Giri who went into free fall looks to have orientated himself. Barcot and Hoa fill seats but who knows now that I have said it for the record.

Bartleby's picture

@Thomas: I don't get it. Do you have evidence or are you just let loose association wander wherever they may go? Has Dominguez complained? I don't know any details but from the circumstances I would assume that they talked with Dominguez, explained they had a chance to get Carlsen, and found a solution agreeable to all parties. Why do you assume unfair play?

However, it is very different from a federation banning him to play in any tournament anywhere. I don't think the Cuban federation banned Dominguez from playing in any tournament in the next year. Nor do I think Swiss organizers would comply with such a ban. The Atalik case is very different.

Anonymous's picture

The Atalik case is very different indeed and I think there is only circumstancial evidence.
But the Biel organisation might well have abused it's power to talk Dominguez out of it and that is obviously newsworthy in itself.
.

kentohtan's picture

nakamura will be back to his original position as # 2 in uscf before the end of the year.he is quite lucky from his previous tourneys,but his luck will end with biel.

Excalibur's picture

Its because of daft comments like this that me and many others dislike Carlsen fans. At least have some modicum of respect for the other players involved in the tournament. But maybe i'm asking for too much.

kentohtan's picture

bravo naka,you win the exhibition blitz!what a huge, huge accomplishment!!

bru's picture

Wow, you have just discussed 'irony' in school?

redivivo's picture

The difference in strength between Biel and Dortmund has never been this big before, Biel has an average rating of 2756 while Dortmund was 2711.

Thomas's picture

I didn't check, but the difference probably has been bigger before - in the other direction, Dortmund being the stronger event.
This year, Dortmund had ten players - including four local players and a relatively weak Aeroflot qualifier (not the organizers' fault that "the wrong person" won Aeroflot). It might make more sense to compare the top 6 from Dortmund (Kramnik, Karjakin, Caruana, Ponomariov, Leko, Naiditsch) with the whole 6 from Biel.

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