Reports | July 30, 2012 19:52

After two wins Carlsen shares first with Wang Hao in Biel

Two wins in a row make a difference for Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen collected six points in just two days, and is now in shared first place in Biel together with Wang Hao. On Sunday Carlsen beat Victor Bologan with Black in their postponed game, and in Monday's 7th round the Norwegian also won against the tournament leader from China. The other two games, Giri-Nakamura and Bologan-Bacrot, ended in draws.

Two wins in a row make a difference for Magnus Carlsen | 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.


We know the story: in the third round in Biel the game Morozevich-Carlsen was first postponed and then cancelled as the Russian had to withdraw from the tournament due to illness. Victor Bologan substituted for Morozevich, and he and Carlsen agreed to play their mutual game on Sunday.

The game was a long and tough fight, and it seemed that a buried bishop on g3 was hurting White more and more. (It reminded us a bit of the recent game Carlsen-Grischuk, Tal Memorial 2012 when the Norwegian was playing a sharp middlegame with a similar bishop.) It was a logical decision to sacrifice this bishop at some point, but the moment Bologan did it, there was a tactical flaw.

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Round 7

On Monday Victor Bologan and Etienne Bacrot were paired against each other, and the Frenchman played another King's Indian. From a positional point of view Black seemed to be doing fine, with a nice fianchetto bishop and a strong knight on e5, but according to Bologan these "static" advantages shouldn't be overestimated. 

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Anish Giri got some advantage out of the opening against Hikaru Nakamura; the Dutchman's knowledge of the Anti-Meran was slightly more up to date. When Giri missed a chance for an advantage at move 23, the game quickly petered out to a draw.

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

This meant that Wang Hao could maintain his sole lead for another round if he wouldn't lose against Carlsen. For most of the game there was nothing to worry about, on the contrary. The Chinese played a good game, including a nice, positional pawn sacrifice that led to some kind of bind with his knights. Carlsen had to be careful, and was playing for a draw, which he more or less secured when the queens got traded. But then there was also one little trick, and Wang Hao fell for it. Suddenly the Chinese was on the defensive side, and he didn't manage to hold the knight ending to a draw.

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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 ½-½ Carlsen
Wang Hao 1-0 Bacrot   Bacrot ½-½ Wang Hao
Morozevich 0-1 Giri   Giri 1-0 Bologan
Round 2 24.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 7 30.07.12 14:00 CET
Nakamura ½-½ Giri   Giri ½-½ Nakamura
Bacrot 1-0 Morozevich   Bologan ½-½ Bacrot
Carlsen 1-0 Wang Hao   Wang Hao 0-1 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 0-1 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 1-0 Bacrot   Nakamura - Bologan
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Wang Hao - Giri
Wang Hao 1-0 Bologan   Carlsen - Bacrot

Biel 2012 | Round 7 standings

# Name Fed Rtg + = - Pts
1-2 Wang Hao CHN 2739 4 1 2 13
1-2 Carlsen,M NOR 2837 3 4 0 13
3 Giri,A NED 2696 3 3 1 12
4 Nakamura,H USA 2778 2 4 1 10
5 Bacrot,E FRA 2713 1 3 3 6
6 Bologan,V MDA 2732 0 1 4 1
7 Morozevich,A RUS 2770 0 0 2 0

Biel 2012 | Round 7 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.


Bigglesworth's picture

Actually, Carlsen is now tied for first. Your score table is wrong - Hao has two losses and a draw, not two draws and a loss. Carlsen has beaten him twice now.

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks, corrected!

Schrödinger's Cat's picture

Chessbase says that Carlsen is "ahead on tiebreak" noting a tiebreak score of 46.0 for Carlsen and 32.0 for Wang Hao.

S4's picture

Well, looks like Carlsen again begins to shine in the second half of the tournament. During the game it looked like he was worse at certain times, although I imagine Wang Hao wasn't as confident as some computer evaluations might have justified. It's quite a stressful and scary operation to play complicated endgames against Carlsen.
Bologan actually managed to draw today, which was a welcome change.
Furthermore I begin to wonder if Nakamura's Tata Steel win was a lucky break, or if he can aspire to higher goals. He hasn't been in very good form since that tournament, and ends up in the middle of the pack very often.

RG's picture

He also defeated former FIDE champ Ponomariov in a classical match. And he defeated Carlsen in a blitz match. He recently won the U.S. Championship which included former World contender Gata Kamsky. So he's a top ten player for sure.

S4's picture

I don't agree. First of all, Blitz matches mean nothing. Second, Ponomariov and Kamsky are not exactly top-10 players themselves. Kamsky has never reached a rating above 2756, whereas Ponomariov hasn't been able to break a 2765 rating. These players have had their fair share of successes but you have to acknowledge that nowadays, they're hardly opponents to be scared of. If Nakamura wishes to be a contender for the World Championship title, or be a regular heavyweight in Super-GM tournaments, he needs to step it up.

noyb's picture

Too argue that Nakamura is not a top ten player is ludicrous and moot. He IS a top ten player, check the list (FIDE's,, whatever). As to whether he can be anything more, only time will tell.

S3's picture

S4 is a troll don't give him the attention. Of course Naka is top 10

S4's picture

I can assure you I am not trolling- Nakamura may be top10 at best but I wonder whether he can progress enough to be a contender for the WCh and be a stable top5 player. I have my doubts.

Tarjei's picture

And how many years ago did this blitz match take place?

Morley's picture

I think it was 2009, a month or two before Carlsen even broke 2800. Of course, he has improved a bit since then :-)

9th Champ's picture

"And he defeated Carlsen in a blitz match."

You have got your facts mixed. Carlsen and Nakamura played a 40-game blitz match few years ago and Carlsen won it clearly(24,5-15,5) as was reported.

valg321's picture

it always amazes me how so many people regard blitz games as indicators of chess strength with the same gravity as classical games. Kosteniuk beat Carlsen in a blitz, some two years and 9 months f.. what? And it's not like Nakamura had any real competition in the last US championship now, did he?

tobacco's picture

Nakamura seemed to have a small boost with Kasparov, but more back to his level now.

Rodzjer's picture

What's with the Naka bashing? You may or may not like him as a person (we all pretend we know and understand this guy), but his play is uncompromising.
If he does not participate in a tournament, it's the same commenters that start moaning about the uneventful draws.

Anonymous's picture

I don't see any bashing. It's reality. Nakamura just doesn't have what it takes to be a contender. Even Kasparov said that he's washed out.

"Hikaru is insecure it seems. Too much time he defended losing analyses, and blocking enlightened approaches, as if I was personally attacking him. Soon, just discussing some opening novelties. Let him enjoy his coffeehouse escapades and internet blitz tirades. What do I care?"

MW's picture

Wow! Where is Kasparov quoted as saying that?

redivivo's picture

He just made it up.

Kronsteen's picture

Nakamura is live-rated sixth in the world, above the current world champion (among others).

Kasparov is apparently scared to play. And you? What is your rating, that you can judge whether a 2780 player "has what it takes"?

anna's picture

Morozevich seconding nakamura would be great!

nathan's picture

This seems similar to Biel few years ago, when Moro would have won had he not lost both games to the winner Carlsen.
Repeating itself with Hao as the actor this time.

Schrödinger's Cat's picture

Well if someone wants first place they should avoid tournaments with Carlsen in them. ; )

Mike Magnan's picture

It's amazing watchng this kid when he goes to work. wow.'s picture

Tournaments not over.

S4's picture

Tournament certainly isn't over, although Carlsen tomorrow has white against Bologan, then black vs Giri and white vs Bacrot. I see him winning at least one of those games, probably two, which guarantees him first place.

dave's picture

Please stop following games with your engines on! It just says 0.something, and then Magnus wins!

Jambo's picture

Hoa snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!
Carlsen still deserves credit for taking advantage of it as he is always inclined to do.
Hoa failed to get an advantage from a passer far from Magnus's king with 43.Qxa5 instead forces the trade of queens before snatching blacks a pawn that decided the game in the end. I haven't checked this with an engine but the error looks obvious enough to me not expecting that at the 2700 level.

Anonymous's picture

43.Qxa5 and then what ??? not sure it's a good plan unless i miss something ??? could you explain ?

Tarjei's picture

After Qxa5 Qb3 wins

Frits Fritschy's picture

You mean 43 Qxa5 Qb3 44 Ndb2 Ne5, probably? Should have been in the comments, then. Without an engine or chess set then 45 Qxc5 Qxf3+ 46 Kg1 doesn't look very clear to me.

Septimus's picture

Wow, Carlsen is on a roll! Say what you may, I don't think anybody stands a chance against him when he is in this kind of form. The guy has passion, tenacity and an ability to grind you to dust in any position. Simply fantastic!

You also have to applaud Giri, who is having a superb tournament.

S4's picture

Perhaps this is the moment Giri cements himself in the higher regions of the chess ratings- he's gained a whopping 30 points and may just be ready to climb the ladder even further.

S3's picture

Wang had a good chance against Carlsen today, I don't know why you think otherwise but the game is clear enough. Somehow the Chinese player made an obvious blunder when he had plenty of time.
As for Giri..he played on equal terms with the top before so his performance is not really surprising. If I am not mistaken he has been higher rated before as well. But there are bound to be some setbacks as Giri is one of those (few) prodigies who also go to a normal school.

noyb's picture

Why is chessvibes potraying the crosstable in such a ridiculous way (showing seven players)? Just combine the results and indicate Morozevich/Bologan in the crosstable. Everybody knows what happened. This is VERY confusing.

Pablo's picture

Do you think it's really confusing? It's crystal clear for me. BTW, it's the only way to put the REAL performance of both players in this tournament. I mean: confusign for who? If you don't know nothing about the tournament and check the list, maybe it is. But puting "Morozevich/Bologan" as a single player, is not much clear, also.

I prefer to watch the real performance of the players, and not mix them as if there were just one. Nonsense.

That's my opinion. Anyway, your comment was a little agressive for chessvibes editor's, I think. My answer is not relaxed either, I know. Good luck! Be my friend! Let's play soccer.

Thomas's picture

"Magnus Carlsen collected six points in just two days"
Something very special that only Carlsen can do? Not quite, with football scoring "all it takes" are two consecutive wins - Wang Hao and Nakamura have done it before in the same tournament.

columbo's picture

He is not the only one but it's something you notice, no ?

Chess Fan's picture

Did I not say that I expect Magnus to destroy his opposition in the last few games, AS USUAL.
Credit should be given to Magnus - he is consistent in destroying super-GMs at will if they are not Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Grischuk, and few people like that.

Thomas's picture

It was rather Wang Hao self-destructing (and maybe also Bologan). In any case, Carlsen himself ("I was incredibly lucky") was far more modest about the game against Wang Hao than some people here in the comments - and I don't think his management teaches him false modesty, so it should be genuine.
Of course chess is also about taking chances which arise. Wang Hao played for a win (a bit too long, and then he went wrong), Carlsen took the win that was suddenly available.

Anonymous's picture

At the end Magnus calculates one ply deeper than the others...

valg321's picture

although i favor Carlsen, i'm very impressed with Wang Hao and i wouldn't mind at all if he managed to win Biel. He's also unlucky as in the match between them the draw slipped from his hands but Carlsen's tenacity is already legendary. As for Giri, we all know he's better than his current official rating.

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