Reports | July 27, 2012 0:08

Wang Hao beats Giri, leads in Biel after round 4

Wang Hao beats Giri, leads in Biel after round 4

Wang Hao is the new leader at the GM tournament of the Biel Chess Festival. On Thursday the Chinese grandmaster defeated Dutchman Anish Giri to reach 9 points out of 4 games. Hikaru Nakamura won his first game, against Victor Bologan, while Etienne Bacrot and Magnus Carlsen drew their game.

Wang Hao, the leader after round 4 | Photo © Biel Chess Festival

Event Biel Chess Festival | PGN
Dates July 23-August 2, 2012
Location Biel, Switzerland
System 6-player round robin
Players Carlsen, Nakamura, Morozevich, Wang Hao, Bacrot, Giri
Rate of play 40 moves in 100 minutes, then 20 moves in 50 minutes followed by 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds increment per move
Extra Three points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. No draw offers before move 30.

It's not easy to "jump" into a tournament at the last minute while it's already well under way, but Victor (or Viorel) Bologan decided to do so anyway. A brave decision! To start with a loss against Hikaru Nakamura, and especially the way it went, must have been so disappointing!

The Moldovan grandmaster played creatively, kept his opponent busy with an exchange sacrifice, defended a slightly worse ending for many moves and even got the upper hand (after some inaccuracies by his opponent), only to find his king caught in a mating net...

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A long and tough struggle between Bologan and Nakamura | Photo © Biel Chess Festival

Nakamura is not happy with his play. After his loss against Wang Hao, he tweeted just one word,


and then, after his fortunate win against Bologan:

There are almost no words to describe how badly I played today...

Adding more drama to this 4th round, Wang Hao took over the lead from Anish Giri by beating his rival with Black. The Dutch Champion was looking at a bad position already after the unsuccessful novelty 15.g3. The Chinese showed great technique from that point.

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Etienne Bacrot and Magnus Carlsen played an interesting draw. Out of the opening the position was about equal, but then the Frenchman started to "drift" a little, according to Carlsen. The Norwegian got some advantage thanks to a passed a-pawn, but it was never clearly winning.

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Biel 2012 | Schedule & results

Round 1 23.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 6 28.07.12 14:00 CET
Carlsen ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura - Carlsen
Wang Hao 1-0 Bacrot   Bacrot - Wang Hao
Morozevich 0-1 Giri   Giri - Bologan
Round 2 24.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 7 30.07.12 14:00 CET
Nakamura ½-½ Giri   Giri - Nakamura
Bacrot 1-0 Morozevich   Bologan - Bacrot
Carlsen 1-0 Wang Hao   Wang Hao - Carlsen
Round 3 25.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 8 31.07.12 14:00 CET
Wang Hao 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura - Wang Hao
Bologan 29.07 Carlsen   Carlsen - Bologan
Giri 1-0 Bacrot   Bacrot - Giri
Round 4 26.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 9 01.08.12 14:00 CET
Bologan 0-1 Nakamura   Bacrot - Nakamura
Giri 0-1 Wang Hao   Giri - Carlsen
Bacrot ½-½ Carlsen   Bologan - Wang Hao
Round 5 27.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 10 01.08.12 11:00 CET
Nakamura - Bacrot   Nakamura - Bologan
Carlsen - Giri   Wang Hao - Giri
Wang Hao - Bologan   Carlsen - Bacrot

Biel 2012 | Round 4 standings

# Name Rtg + = - Pts Perf
1 Wang Hao 2739 3 0 1 9 (4) 2947
2 Giri,A 2696 2 1 1 7 (4) 2839
3 Carlsen,M 2837 1 2 0 5 (3) 2864
5 Nakamura,H 2778 1 2 1 5 (3) 2742
4 Bacrot,E 2713 1 1 2 4 (3) 2672
6 Bologan,V 2732 0 0 1 0 (1) 2447
7 Morozevich,A 2770 0 0 2 0 (2) 2546

Biel 2012 | Round 4 standings (classical)


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.


B L's picture

Looked like Hikaru was struggling to hold on. Bad luck to Victor would of been a great upset.

noyb's picture

But it wasn't...

Ed Dean's picture

was an exciting game throughout. too bad either one lost really.

Gens una sumus's picture

"There are almost no words to describe how badly I played today..." Hikaru Nakamura on Twitter.
Speaks well. I got impression that white is somehow winning and suddenly it got mated.

bronkenstein's picture

As usual, Naka is not even mentioning his opponent, his brilliant exchange sac aside. (BTW Bologan is not ´it´).

Casaubon's picture

Humble as ever I see.

chessman's picture

Seems like there is an error in the schedule (results)
Giri - Wang Hao

Peter Doggers's picture

Thx, corrected.

valg321's picture

you'll never hear Nakamura say "my opponent played better than me" or at least "my opponent played well". Never. Not ever.

B L's picture

You're right. Hikaru is one of the most pessimistic players. He needs to show respect to his opponents and humility in his wins. He will live to regret these types of comments (which are far too common)

Chess Fan's picture

Maybe it is this Fischer like attitude (I am not calling it arrogance, not yet) that makes him so confident and aggressive over the board? Just wondering. After all, he has beaten Anand, Aronian, and Magnus in one format or the other and is considered closest American to Fischer ever (what a compliment!) in his style and approach.

Schrödinger's Cat's picture

Fischer was a very objective player. I don't think Nakamura will ever get the top ranking because he lacks that objectivity.

Niima's picture

Fischer was not born objective. He honed and perfected his approach to the game as the years went by. Nakamura can do the same.

Schrödinger's Cat's picture

You make a good point ... he 'can' do the same but we never know when a top ten player will make it to number one or even break into the top three.

valg321's picture

his chess ability is the excuse for being a prick?

Lee's picture

Fairly blunt assessment, but I can't really disagree with it.

At the very least, he seems like a man that doesn't enjoy what he does for a living.

Thomas's picture

For a moment I thought you both were talking about Morozevich - it depends on the exact definition of "prick", but "doesn't enjoy what he does for a living" may well be the case.

But you meant Nakamura, here I disagree a bit: Nakamura clearly enjoys winning, even if he doesn't enjoy losing or drawing.

His latest tweets are "pretty interesting":
- "Back on track at long last": maybe he missed that Bacrot had some typical KID counterplay around move 29/30 (discarded as insufficient in Chessvibes' round 5 report, but engines disagree). Nakamura had such KID turnarounds with the black pieces, and then all was fine and the game had the logical result according to Nakamura.
- "Apparently this is also the chess tournament where I play openings like the old Soviet legends ala Petrosian, Polugaevsky, etc.": Is this an attempt to please Soviet chess fans? On a Russian chess forum some had criticized or questioned his Tal Memorial invitation (mishanp had posted the link, Google translation did the rest for me).

redivivo's picture

"Is this an attempt to please Soviet chess fans? On a Russian chess forum some had criticized or questioned his Tal Memorial invitation"

I don't think Nakamura is the least interested in pleasing Soviet chess fans, or that he takes anyone questioning his being invited seriously. He was after all ranked in the top half of the Tal Memorial

Thomas's picture

And now about Nakamura's other tweet: It may well be that Nakamura enjoys his (numerous and/or "active") fans and doesn't care about those who like him less, let alone those who consider and call him a "prick". Note that I never did, and never will use such language about Nakamura or anyone else - even if I to some extent understand the underlying reasons. Of course that tweet could also be just a compliment to himself ... .

It isn't just about whether Nakamura should or shouldn't have played Tal Memorial, but also about his general reputation in "Soviet" chess circles (which I frankly don't know). As to his invitation: organizers emphasized Elo - where I would put him in the second group with Caruana, Radjabov, Morozevich and Grischuk, it doesn't mean too much that he happened to be second in that group and fifth overall, just a few points give and take. BTW they didn't use (only) Elo to select the Russian players, else Karjakin would have participated.
People commenting emphasized his bad result at Tal Memorial 2011. At least the Dortmund organizers take previous results in their event into account, and had announced that the two bottom finishers won't be re-invited straight away. They made an exception for Georg Meier due to a fully legitimate deal with the German federation. Next year it will be easier for them: Gustafsson will probably only be re-invited if they repeat the same format (which, as far as I know, hasn't yet been decided). And Bartel will only be re-invited if he wins Aeroflot again, or maybe if he (even less likely?) gains 50-100 Elo points in the near future.

Peter Doggers's picture

but engines disagree

Curious which 'engines' you use and what 'counterplay' they suggest?

Thomas's picture

A short and simple question which still gets a longer answer :) . First, engines (plural) was wrong: I referred to the live transmissions at Chessbomb and Whychess, and both use the same version of Houdini (2.0c x64) - at limited search depth, but it might still see as much as or more than any GM at the board. I did not refer to own engine usage.
My point wasn't to question your game coverage - in that respect sorry for using the wrong words. But the line 29.-hxg2 30.Kxg2 Nh3!? 31.Bxg3 looks at least a bit scary for white. In some cases, black would sacrifice a knight to reach such a position (which he did in the game by burying his Nb8). So the real question is whether Nakamura would have kept things under control. The video doesn't answer this question as he merely says "29.Qd2 now it's completely winning" - which could mean two things: he did see the above-mentioned idea, was ready to face it and optimistic about his chances ... or he didn't see the entire idea. And apparently the interviewer Klaus Bischoff didn't use an engine?

And it was all in the context of some earlier games by Nakamura where he grabbed tactical chances in worse, dubious or objectively lost positions. Though "turnaround" is also too strong in the given case. Bacrot might have kept some practical chances, whereas in the game his position was completely lost (=resignable) in just a few more moves.

Peter Doggers's picture

Right, that line looks indeed more dangerous than I thought. However, ever there Houdini overestimates Black's chances I think; the knight on b8 is really horrible. As soons as the threats are gone, Black is lost.

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