Reports | July 31, 2012 18:57

Carlsen, Giri and Wang Hao win in 8th round Biel

The playing hall in Biel

Magnus Carlsen and Wang Hao are still tied for first place in Biel as both won their games in round 8. The Norwegian defeated Victor Bologan with White, while the Chinese won with Black against Hikaru Nakamura. With two rounds to go, Anish Giri is still one point behind the leaders as he won against Etienne Bacrot. Carlsen's live rating is now 2846.4 – he needs to win his last two games in Biel as well to break Garry Kasparov's all-time record of 2851.

The playing hall in Biel | 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.

One remarkable thing of the 8th round in Biel was that the results were exactly mirrored from the same pairings in round 3, which meant that Wang Hao, Carlsen and Giri defeated their opponents Nakamura, Bologan and Bacrot 2-0. After this hattrick of wins the standings actually didn't change that much. Nobody moved to a different place; only the difference between the top three players and the rest was increased with three points.

Nakamura-Wang Hao was a fascinating fight. The Chinese decided to just copy Veselin Topalov's moves of Wijk aan Zee 2012, where the Bulgarian had reached an excellent position against Nakamura's English Opening. Naturally the American deviated at an early stage, and got some advantage. However, with 28...Nc7! Wang Hao was hanging on, and then Nakamura suddenly missed a tactic that threatened to trap his queen. Afterwards he would tweet:

Very disappointing day. Hao defended quite well and like too many times all too recently, I completely lost my head and my nerves.

PGN string

Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

For the second time in this tournament Victor Bologan played the Benkö/Volga Gambit, and Magnus Carlsen went for the main line. Well, until move 11 because then the Nowegian played 12.Qe2 where 12.Re1 and 12.h3 have always been the main options. The pawn sac 15...h6 is critical for the theory in this line, but Bologan retreated his queen quickly (which was new). With some nice prophylactic moves Carlsen kept an advantage and after reacting well to Bologan's double-edged plan with his f-pawn, the Norwegian never let go.

PGN string

Anish Giri admitted that he had been lucky to win his game against Etienne Bacrot. Starting his analysis with commentator GM Klaus Bischoff he said

I'll never play Sicilian again, ever, in my life. I played terribly.

and afterwards the Dutchman tweeted:

My najdorf play (mainly 19...bxa3??) was asking for trouble, but luckily Bacrot got confused :) So far so lucky, tomorrow Carlsen :P

PGN string

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 0-1 Wang Hao
Bologan 0-1 Carlsen   Carlsen 1-0 Bologan
Giri 1-0 Bacrot   Bacrot 0-1 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 02.08.12 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 8 standings

# Name Fed Rtg + = - Pts
1-2 Wang Hao CHN 2739 5 1 2 16
1-2 Carlsen,M NOR 2837 4 4 0 16
3 Giri,A NED 2696 4 3 1 15
4 Nakamura,H USA 2778 2 4 2 10
5 Bacrot,E FRA 2713 1 3 4 6
6 Bologan,V MDA 2732 0 1 5 1
7 Morozevich,A RUS 2770 0 0 2 0

Biel 2012 | Round 8 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.


rogge's picture

Prepare the luck and rating inflation speeches :)

columbo's picture

be prepared to Naka's tweet too :)

Thomas's picture

As to luck, it suffices to quote Carlsen (about his game against Wang Hao yesterday): "I was incredibly lucky."
Is Carlsen a Carlsen hater? Nakamura can be a Nakamura hater when he is in a bad mood ...

columbo's picture

Naka will be in a BAD MOOD tonight, that's for certain. He just lost his nerves and got crashed by a TANK today

Anonymous's picture

Yes, the American's nerves have been shattered by the strength of the field. He cannot sustain this top level of chess for much longer.

His timid play while holding the advantage, echoes both the previous loss to Wang Hao - and his loss to Aronian last month, Tal Memorial (A29) with 18...Bg8?, when it appears that 19...f4?? is "over-compensating" for his cowardly choice.

Morley's picture

Well, he wasn't lucky today! He simply outplayed Bologan from the beginning.

S3's picture

Prepare for Norwegian humor. Insert random smileys after silly remarks.

Zeblakob's picture

Give back Destrudo his cubics ... R-:)

columbo's picture

prepare for S3 radicalism

gelagela's picture

What Carlsen is doing now, I remember Vishy used to do in his hey days

Anonymous's picture

Just 2 more wins for Magnus in Biel, and he will be the highest rated player ever - in the official FIDE September list. If he can really accomplish that, it will have happened at his incredibly young age of twenty-one, 14 years younger than Kasparov was when he achieved his all time high.

Excalibur's picture

Which "heydeys"? You mean when Kasparov was completely dominant or 2006-2008? :)

n1uknow's picture

I don't think he is going to beat Giri, maybe a draw at most.

columbo's picture

" A draw at MOST " ??? ... I'm pretty certain Magnus prepared something special for this match ... and Anish must feel it ! Anyway, can't wait to see what's gonna happen between those two ... tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow ...

Morley's picture

Great game by Carlsen today. He played very accurately, and was in control from a very early stage. Bologan never equalized and was lost well before time control. It would be very impressive if Carlsen were able to win four in a row, to say nothing of five in a row, the tournament, and the highest rating in chess history.

The other two games were pretty crazy, with all four players willing to take big risks and try new ideas in the hunt for those 3-point victories. I am kind of surprised at Nakamura, though. Given his convincing victory in the Biel blitz I would expect him to be in shape enough to do better in these time scrambles. Oh well.

Both Wang Hao and Giri continue to impress; they are very fighting players, and have demonstrated that they can lash out when given the chance to score against anyone. There is no telling which of the three leaders is going to win the tournament ... looking forward to an exciting finish!

columbo's picture

If Giri manages to win both games, You can expect a nervous breakdown in Magnus camp ! But i don't think it's gonna happen ... Magnus is on his way to break through Kasparov's 2851 Elos ... He now needs to become World Champion before Anish gets angry :)

RG's picture

Of course there is the possibility that Carlsen takes unnecessary risks trying to break Kasparov's rating record and loses a game. He should just relax and do whatever he's been doing.

S3's picture

Yes. If he loses it will be because of that and that alone.

Anonymous's picture

The Yank Nakamura can always fall back on Poker!

Morley's picture

Keep in mind that Carlsen has also played 6 days straight, and by the end of the tournament will have played 8 days straight.

S4's picture

players like carlsen usually hate free days because it interrupts their 'flow', and is disruptive to their mindset.

Morley's picture

True. I guess he is still young and has great energy as well. I just wonder if it will catch up to him, especially since Giri is just as young and "on a roll". I would be too exhausted to move, personally :-D

S4's picture

We have seen in todays game that Giri made a couple of potentially costly mistakes. These small errors will be punished by players like Carlsen. Giri will have to play very solid to even try to think of a win. I expect Carlsen to draw, but this depends on Giri's form. Carlsen might just as easily win.

S3's picture

I don't know about those mistakes but with white Carlsen was pretty harmless against Giri. Chances are that we will have new leaders after tomorrow.

Thomas's picture

Carlsen is making progress, though: So far he had white in all three classical games against Giri. He lost the first one (Wijk aan Zee 2011) in 22 moves, was worse but held a draw in the second one (Wijk aan Zee 2012) and equalized in their first game in Biel 2012. And for what it's worth, he won a rapid game with black (Amber 2011).
BTW I wonder who is already more tired, Carlsen or Giri. Giri arrived straight from the Dutch championship and has played THE marathon game of the ongoing event (92 moves against Bologan).

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen is indeed making progress - nicely illustrated by the fact that nowhere in the world's top 100 rated players list a gap even nearly as huge as between the two top rated players can be observed. 30 ELO ahead of the second rated player, Carlsen must be clearly considered a class of his own. Don't get distracted by him trying to be nice in conceding "luck" after his win over Wang Hao. This kind of success in provoking opponents' errors is the rule in his games, not the exception.

Thomas's picture

You conveniently pick one live rating list - as far as official FIDE lists are concerned, the gap with #2 Aronian was also 30 points in January 2012 but smaller (10-20 points) in other lists.

Anyway, if the strongest player in your club or region is 30 points ahead of #2 (and maybe you are #2), would you say he is "clearly ... a class of his own"? It's harder to obtain and maintain an edge at the top of the global list (for one thing, every draw mains losing some rating points) but in terms of difference in playing strength and expected results against each other it means about the same at all levels. If we directly compare Carlsen and Aronian: Carlsen finished ahead of him in Tal Memorial 2012 and London 2011, behind Aronian in Wijk aan Zee 2012 and they were tied in Tal Memorial 2011. Things look brighter for Carlsen if we also include Bilbao 2011, but overall I would say "slight edge" but not "class of his own".

"success in provoking opponents' errors" - generally it's true that Carlsen makes less mistakes than his peers; this and (obviously related) consistency characterizes his play and 'produces' his rating edge. But in their second game in Biel, Wang Hao made (in tennis language) an unforced error, hence I think Carlsen made a factual statement rather than just trying to be nice.

adam's picture

Thomas, just an observation: no matter how many tournaments Carlsen wins, how consistent he performs or how beautiful a given game he pulls, you assemble lengthy explanations why he is not clearly the best, why his true strength is overrated, how he would be beaten by this or that player--in particular, Kramnik ;)--and so on (meanwhile, of course, loudly stressing your objectivity and indifference :)). On the one hand, I absolutely agree that he does not dominate the field (fortunately, otherwise he'd probably leave just as Morphy did); however, imho, you'd do a favor to yourself if you'd just re-evaluate your negative feelings toward him and accept that he _will_ be around to count with for the next one or two decades...

columbo's picture

+ 1

Thomas's picture

-1 to adam who doesn't get my point at all: I have no negative feelings for Carlsen (besides the story with Dominguez, however it exactly went), only for some of his fanboys. Just one point: he isn't overrated, but some people overrate his rating. Let me ask again: if a club has several players rated 2150-2200, and one has Elo 2230, would that one be "a class of his own"?

I tend to disagree only about "beautiful games" which is a matter of taste. I guess Carlsen has many fans because he is successful and because he is from a western (or non-eastern) European country, even one which doesn't have too much of a chess tradition. But in terms of "content" of the games and in terms of personality, a couple of players have more to offer - I won't give names, but it certainly isn't just Kramnik.
Several players make Biel a memorable tournament, while Carlsen calmly collects his points. It already happened during Tal Memorial ... .

"accept that he [Carlsen] _will_ be around to count with for the next one or two decades"
When did I write that this isn't "acceptable"? It is pretty likely, though I wouldn't be all surprised if Carlsen quite within five years or so because he had enough of, and earned enough money from chess - particularly if someone else (Karjakin? Caruana? Giri?) is #1 by then which I think is 'possible'.

redivivo's picture

"Several players make Biel a memorable tournament, while Carlsen calmly collects his points"

Yeah, that type of description somehow sounds very familiar :-)

rogge's picture

Typical hateful comment from the numero uno Kramnik fanboy.

Ray's picture

(Thomas, devil's advocate is a tiring business, not really rewarding, and our dear Vlady needs no one-eyed fanboy, only good supporters, if possible as witty and self-deprecating as he himself can be. Cheers)

Johnnie's picture

Kramnik's all right, but some fanboys are really, really boring fanatics.

S3's picture

@ adam: Just an observation: you can't read and are making things up. Thomas is replying to other people-and correcting their mistakes.

adam's picture

@S3: "correcting their mistakes"--buddy, you literally made me laugh out loud :D

Tarjei's picture


All you need to do in order to find out who is in a class of its own, is to look at the results of the top players the last 3 years.

I am not sure how you define dominance, but Magnus winning 11 out of the last 16 tournaments in my view, certainly is.

If you look further down the top list starting from Kramnik on 3rd, the gap between the players are never more than 9 points, usually just a couple of points. A distance of 30 points down to Aronian from 1st to 2nd is surely significant.

And just for the record, since 2008, Magnus classical score is +4 -1 = 11 against Aronian.

S3's picture

Be that as it may, the "class of it's own" didn't manage to beat Giri who remains +1 in their individual encounters. Q is..will Wang take advantage of this and grab the lead?!

Aditya's picture

What rating does Carlsen reach with a draw tomorrow and a win against Bacrot? Is there a place to check these possibilities?.

Marcel's picture
n1uknow's picture

For a win he +3.4, a draw -1.6 and a loss -6.6.
If he wins both he will have a rating of 2952.9

Bigglesworth's picture

I believe he would finish at 2847.

Aditya's picture

Thanks guys! Yep, he would very close to 2848 with a draw and a win in either order (unless Bacrot beats Nakamura).

Aditya's picture

By the way, an excellent and exciting tournament so far (except the jinxed Moro/Bolo spot). Makes me want to wake up early and watch the games. This is what chess should be about, not Ali Nihat Yazici's antics.

jimknopf's picture

I don't understand some of the commenting antagonisms. It has been an extremely entertaining tournament so far, with risky plans and a lot of tension even in calm positinal games.

Why not enjoy the players for their good job instead of praising some at the cost of others?

Carlsen often doesn't get much from the opening, but shows adamirable constant strength and ressourcefulness.

Wang Hao plays a great tournament, just as Giri, and I'm always glad we have players like Nakamura with their own style of play. I don't care if it sometimes looks a bit like coffeehouse chess, if it is top ten coffeehouse chess. Bacrot shows a lot of courage in attacking, and even Bologan, who had no chance to prepare in any way, does not at all try to play for security first.

It's just a great tournament with all players deserving some respect.

adam's picture


valg321's picture

i have to agree, it's a surprisingly exciting tourny

kamalakanta's picture

Jim, I could not agree more. Fighting chess from everybody!

anna's picture

What a waste! About zeitnot from wang hao. I think Nakamura wants outplay him on his zeitnot. It isn't his(naka) first time.
Overvalued his strength may be or his thrill.
GO GO Nakamura you are good enough for win your last 2 games.

Septimus's picture

If Carlsen wins tomorrow, it is not going to be due to opening preparation.


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