Reports | August 02, 2012 20:11

Wang Hao beats Giri in last round Biel, finishes clear first

Wang Hao

Wang Hao became the sole winner of the 2012 Biel Chess Festival's Grandmaster group. The Chinese grandmaster, who will turn 23 in two days, defeated Anish Giri in the last round to finish on 19 points. Carlsen, who had to settle for a draw against Etienne Bacrot, finished on 18 points. Hikaru Nakamura finished shared third with Giri (both 16 points) thanks to a last-round win against Victor Bologan.

Wang Hao's 19 out of a possible 30 points is enough for clear first in Biel | Photos 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.

He kept on trying for a long time in a slightly better ending, but eventually Magnus Carlsen couldn't break Etienne Bacrot's defence. After 62 moves Carlsen stopped his attempts to win yet another tournament in his career, a tournament he really likes to play. Carlsen feels at home in Biel so much, that he decided to enter at the last minute, thereby replacing Cuban grandmaster Leinier Dominguez, who agreed to participate next year. But strong play by a highly talented grandmaster from China, as well as the football score, resulted in a second place for the world's number one.

For Wang Hao, a student at Beijing University who claims to spend only 3-4 hours a week on chess, winning in Biel was his career's best performance. Like Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand, he "skipped" the IM title and became a GM immediately in 2005, at the age of 16. Thus far, his biggest achievements were winning the Bosna 2010 tournament in Sarajevo and the Chinese Championship in the same year. On the day that a table tennis player with the same name won the silver medal in London, Wang Hao-the-chess-player won gold in Biel.

It must be noted that Wang Hao also finished first "because" of the football score. A classical final standings table, with half a point for a draw and one point for a win, would have had Carlsen as clear first, with 7/10, half a point more than the Chinese. In other words, this year Wang Hao's +3 was worth more than Carlsen's (undefeated) +4. But that's probably exactly what the organizers had in mind: they wanted to stimulate the fighters and the risk takers, and so they won't be disappointed with a winner who drew only one game, won six and lost three!

The winner of the tournament was also the first to finish in the last round. Anish Giri got a bit confused about his preparation, missed an important tactic at an early stage and was already lost at move 25.

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Hikaru Nakamura finished his tournament with a decent score. The American defeated Victor Bologan, who sticked to his Benko/Volga Gambit. Nakamura didn't think he played a great game, and started the post-mortem press conference saying

[Until 34...Nb8] I was just marginally better throughout the game.

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Nakamura looked back at his tournament as follows:

It seems like the games I played well I managed to lose and the games where I played OK I found a way to win. It's weird, because the two best games I played were against Wang Hao and I managed to lose both.

Carsen-Bacrot was the last tournament game to finish. The Norwegian summarized it as follows:

I thought I had a good position, then in the middlegame I was definitely worse. Then, before the time control it turned around and I had a better endgame, but I'm not sure if it was possible to win it. 

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 0-1 Nakamura
Giri 0-1 Wang Hao   Giri ½-½ Carlsen
Bacrot ½-½ Carlsen   Bologan 1-0 Wang Hao
Round 5 27.07.12 14:00 CET   Round 10 02.08.12 14:00 CET
Nakamura 1-0 Bacrot   Nakamura 1-0 Bologan
Carlsen ½-½ Giri   Wang Hao 1-0 Giri
Wang Hao 1-0 Bologan   Carlsen ½-½ Bacrot

Biel 2012 | Final standings

# Name Fed Rtg + = - Pts
1 Wang Hao CHN 2739 6 1 3 19
2 Carlsen,M NOR 2837 4 6 0 18
3-4 Giri,A NED 2696 4 4 2 16
3-4 Nakamura,H USA 2778 4 4 2 16
5 Bacrot,E FRA 2713 1 4 5 7
6 Bologan,V MDA 2732 1 1 6 4
7 Morozevich,A RUS 2770 0 0 2 0

Biel 2012 | Final 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.


Anonymous's picture

I mean since when YU decide of the scoring system ? The players knew the rules, wang played a. Kamikaze chess and got first place. His strategy paid off. Congrats

Jambow's picture

You guys can call it like you wan't the same rules were in effect for all, Wang created chances for his opponents to go astray they did he took advantage and is the sole winner period, or perhaps we should have a scoring system based on height or score it alphabetically then maybe we have four winners? Wang is the winner sorry deal with it and give him his due.

Carlsen has often been accused of being lucky when his opponents go astray I credit him with tenacity even when Hoa pretty much gifted him a game. Nakamura got a gift but he was long over due imho he certainly had more go the otherway.

Alfonso sorry in the contest in which you expressed your opinion it sounds like your taking away from Hoa's victory. Again Magnus did play safer chess, its his precision, lack of errors and subtle understanding of chess that makes him he best player in the game today. However Hoa imho played most effectively under the agreed too rules and that strategy was effective. I try to ignore what players are involved and stick to the objective facts and my opinion would be the same no matter who finished in what position.

Chess Fan's picture

OK, I was wrong. I will stand up to say this.
Barcot held his own against mighty Magnus (not surprising considering Barcot's potential), Giri lost to a great player, product of the mighty Chinese Chess machine, and we have an unexpected winner, though he lots to the favorite 2/2 times.
Congrats to all the players for their top level play.
I like to be wrong this way as a Chess Fan.
PS: Giri is a GREAT player - you would not hear anything except good things about him from me - that he richly deserves.

anna's picture

I'm happy that Nakamura score well his last 2 games and do a pleasant rating performance.
I hope for him a good chess life!

redivivo's picture

It was a strange tournament, only Carlsen's games looked as they often do. He was undefeated once again and pressed for wins in most of the games he didn't win, ended up with +4 in 10 rounds, and gained 5.8 points. He performed Elo 2878 with a bit to spare for times when everything is going his way. Both his games against Bacrot looked winnable as did the first against Nakamura, but he missed the most promising lines and instead won with black against Wang Hao when the latter blundered, so it wasn't some kind of minimal payout either.

Nakamura had promising positions in both his games against Wang Hao and would normally not lose both and maybe even score a plus in them, but this just wasn't his tournament. If Wang Hao had blundered against Naka the way he did a couple of times against Bologan and Carlsen (in much better positions) it could have been a +6 tournament for Naka, but then he would have used up all his luck for years to come.

Giri played excellently in all his games except those against Wang Hao, who just outplayed him totally in both games. Wang was of course a very deserving winner and I would never imagine that he could win 6 games of 10 in these surroundings.

Ruben's picture

Strange debate, Congrads to Wang Hao! The deserved winner with the most pionts and played great chess!

Ruben's picture

And about Giri he played also very well as lowest rated player and ended on a great 3 place. He could have even won the tournement if he did won from Wang in the last round! So you can say he was still fighting for the nr1 position untill the last round! Over ten rounds with so many strong players. Great Giri !

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen beat Hao twice.

Tournament winner doesn't necessarily mean the best player.

RealityCheck's picture

So what! Wang takes home the 1st place Trophy.

The higher rated player doesn't necessarily mean the best player either.

slonik's picture

This was a funny case in a way, Carlsen performed 2878 and Wang 2858, so if they repeat this over and over again Carlsen will always be the higher rated player while Wang will continue to be the better player for being the winner every time.

RG's picture

I think you mean that a higher rating doesn't necessarily guarantee success in any particular event. That is true. However Magnus Carlsen IS the strongest player now according to Vladimir Kramnik (who has no reason not to be objective).

Anonymous's picture

@RG, yet still Kramnik dares to play in the candidates tournament..Perhaps he is not too convinced of that strength after all?

redivivo's picture

"yet still Kramnik dares to play in the candidates tournament..Perhaps he is not too convinced of that strength after all?"

Being the best player doesn't guarantee that someone wins every tournament. Some consider Anand to be the best player and yet he hasn't won a tournament for four and a half years, and people dare to play in spite of his participating. Most people see Carlsen as the better player than Wang Hao, and still Wang Hao won Biel, so it would be strange if Kramnik didn't dare to participate in the Candidates just because Carlsen is playing.

KingTal's picture

Carlsen beat Hao twice, but Hao beat Nakamura and Giri twice, where Carlsen couldn´t even win a single game, so what... the discussion can go on forever and is not a reason for badmouthing Haos achievement.

Michael Lubin's picture

Maybe Hao was lucky, or maybe he was just good at putting tactical pressure on his opponents. Persistently getting gifted by blunders isn't usually an accident, and it's hard for even GM analysts to understand the extent to which another player makes his own luck.

Kronsteen's picture

Exactly. There's a reason GMs don't make the same kinds of blunders against lower-rated players - they're not under the same pressure, move after move after move.

Septimus's picture

What's this bulls*** about Hao having it easy? He won the tournament because he is good. End of story. Congrats to Hao!

Carlsen and Giri have also had a solid tournament. Congrats to them as well.

RG's picture

There is no doubt that Wang deserved the win. Everyone knew that they were playing under the football scoring system and we can argue that Wang tailored his play to take advantage of that. However what the football scoring system strives to achieve can be done just as well (but closer to classical results) with the slight tweak of 2 1/2 points for a win instead of 3. If the same chess were played under that system then Carlsen and Wang would have shared 1st place money with Carlsen being declared the winner on tiebreak. A +4 undefeated performance should be preferred over a +3 performance with three losses.

Anonymous's picture

2.5 just complicates things without resolving the issue.

valg321's picture

congrats to Wang Hao, a well deserved victory, and congrats to Magnus too for his precision play. Although a Carlsen fan, i'm happy with the results and hope to see more of Wang Hao.

adam's picture

congrats to wang hao and all other participants--a truly awesome and memorable tournament! drawing rate < 40 %, don't remember the last time i saw such a feast

valg321's picture

most probably because of the football scoring system which i think is a very good thing for chess. Of course some professional draw masters (Kramnik, Leko) will probably have a different opinion on the matter.

Jambow's picture

(context) not (consent?) and (you"re) not (your) ;o]

Mark De Smedt's picture

Congratulations to Wang Hao, who has done great and correctly won the tournament. Now, totally regardless of who scored +3 and who scored +4, I have the right to consider the football scoring system a disgrace for chess, for the simple reason that it rewards playing objectively inferior moves in quite a number of positions. As a chess fan I don't see how I could possibly accept such a system (it may be more difficult to reject for professionals who depend on tournament invitations, of course).

strana's picture

Wang Hao is not even the best chinese player!! Ding Liren, who is 3 times chinese champion at only 20, is the best. He would be 2850 if he was playing in west. You must accept the fact that China will dominate chess very soon.... . So sad for all Carlsen Fan Boys !!

Anonymous's picture

Yeah you're right, now you can go back to sleep

MJul's picture

Wang Hao had health issues, so he didn't play for some time.

Anonymous's picture

Ding Liren? Same guy that is sharing 10th place at the U-20 World Championships in Athens? If that is so, maybe we will have to wait a little longer to see that Chinese domination you talk about.

Excalibur's picture

Wow Wang Hao went from untitled player to Grandmaster in 2005 alone! Incredible.

Ophelia Crack's picture

This scoring system is fine. Life is not fair, but so what. deal with it, cry babies.

Or don't.

Either accept change and adapt or be hurt by it.

Septimus's picture

I like this scoring system as it gives an incentive to go for a win.

Chessguy's picture

I think the most amazing game of the tournament was Bacrot-Morozevich. One should not forget that all the participants can play great chess.

Anonymous's picture

Not sure if it was because of the time control or because of the inclusion of off form players but in general the quality of the games was quite dissapointing this tourney.

The biggest upside was that all players, with different styles, were spoiling for a fight, Carlsen and Giri being the most conservative and Wang and Bologan going all out regulary.

But with Moro's illness, the weird scoring system and the organisers mistreatment of Dominguez I still see it as a dissapointing tournament.

MJul's picture

Which "organisers mistreatment of Dominguez"?

Thomas's picture

You probably know what is meant, even if you don't consider it a mistreatment.

This Chessvibes article describes it as follows: "Carlsen feels at home in Biel so much, that he decided to enter at the last minute, thereby replacing Cuban grandmaster Leinier Dominguez, who agreed to participate next year."
Which other player could 'decide to enter at the last minute'? And it seems that Carlsen doesn't feel that deeply at home in Biel but would have preferred Bazna. Biel was second choice, Amsterdam might have been third choice if the Biel organizers couldn't get rid of Dominguez or another invited and confirmed player.

MJul's picture

But we don't know why Dominguez didn't play. Maybe he doesn't want make the reason known.

So, it's possible that after Dominguez withdraw, and knowing that Bazna was postponed/cancelled Biel organisers decided try invite Carlsen, and he accepted.

Basically we don't know nothing about that.

And, before a thaoric reference to Moro, they could explain all the situation just to avoid all theories wich later appeared and as a public statement for other tournament organisers.

Anonymous's picture

Yes we do.

One chess journalist has clearly said that Dominguez was convinced to leave after the organizers decided they rather had Carlsen. In return for his withdrawal he got an invite for next years edition.

What does that mean? Well; Dominguez is dependend on such invites so clearly he didn't have a lot of choice.

All other chessjournalist remain silent on this matter, and no one has even tried to research it publicly. So it's rather more likely that Biel organisers don't want people to know the reasons of Dominguez withdrawal. If you keep in mind their extensive (and suggestive!) press release about Moro it's even more likely.

Very unethical behavior of Biel organisation and disappointing that Carlsen took advantage of their immoral behavior.

MJul's picture

Sorry, but it doesn't matter if it was one, or all chess journalist who said that: if Biel organisers or Dominguez don't say nothing, it's unclear information. So I don't take it.

On the other hand, I don't know any chess journalist, so I can't know if they didn't make a research about that.

I made clear my point about how could Domiguez and Moro's withdrawal have so differents press releases.

And, I'm going to be honest: I never trust in journalist. it doesn't matter which speciality they take, and how many said the same, or whatever: I don't trust them.

slonik's picture

Remember when Svidler scored great results last year but hadn't been invited to Tal Memorial while Wang Hao was invited? The organisers then dropped Wang and gave Svidler the spot, did it create any discussion? Nothing, zilch, nada, since Carlsen wasn't involved. Maybe it had to do with Wang's earlier health problems, but this was never discussed or confirmed.

Thomas's picture

There was a statement by the Biel organizers in the Chessvibes Round 3 report:
"We found a fair compromise with Leinier, who will be invited next year. The deal was solved in a nice way, even if it's not easy to do this."
Whatever the deal included (besides an invitation for 2013), at the very least it indicates that Dominguez didn't voluntarily withdraw without asking and getting something in return, and certainly didn't withdraw for different reasons unrelated to Carlsen's sudden availability. Even if you don't trust journalists in general, do you mean to imply that Peter Doggers misquoted the organizers, or invented such a statement?

MJul's picture

About Peter Doggers: No.

About the statment: let's see other options:

1-There was a surprise because Pelletier didn't play. Been Dominguez based in Switzerland he would be the unofficial swiss player.

2-Switzerland and their "organization culture".

There's nothing official.

Jimbo's picture

Wang Hao seems to be always wearing that checked shirt. Is he trying to counter Radjabov's stripes?

Anonymous2's picture

The football scoring system is a waste of space and time, but it isn't the fault of the players that it was used for the tournament. Obviously Wang should be congratulated for winning the tournament even with Carlsen performing better (as two wins, three losses and a draw isn't as good as six draws). Also don't forget to commend Bologan for participating in the tournament at his expense (to help the organisers) and also for being the only player to attend the post mortem after he lost a game. My full respect to this player who I'm certain will bounce back.

Anonymous's picture

"And don't forget to comment Bologan...for being the only player to attend the post mortem after he lost a game."

Don't make such idiotic statements!!

Anonymous's picture

"only player"


See the Hao-Giri post-mortem video in this very article.

st32's picture

This is exactly why the 3 point system doesnt work. Obviously Wang Hao played fantastic Chess, but Carlsen Scored more. If they really want to make it more fighting, how about they make the 3 point system as a tiebreak. I dont care how boring or interesting a player is, A person who scored 9 draws should not have the same score as someone with 3 wins and 6 losses. (I didnt read the previous posts, So if someone has already said the same thing, my apologies)

Anonymous's picture

The 2.5 for win works better as someone explained earlier.

Anonymous's picture

Don't follow such stupid arguments. In the books, in the ratings, Carlsen won. Hao just got more money. That's all.

Let the organizers decide who they will give their money to, in the manner they so choose. FIDE will always keep track of the standard scoring. That's what really counts.

Anonymous's picture

Be careful about your use of the term "stupid" because your post didn't say anything that wasn't already obvious. Of course the organizers will continue to "decide who they will give their money to". And of course people will continue to express their opinions about the scoring system used.

mIKE mAGNAN's picture

Great Tourney...lots of ups and downs. Congrats to Wang for his impressive fighting spirit. Also a big congrats to MC who just keeps getting better. Also a congrats to Mr Giri..who had a great tourney and Mr Nakamura who pulled his socks up and scored to make it a decent outing. Congrats to Mr Bologan who gamely stepped into the lions killed but still managed a swipe or two...and Congrats to mr Bacrot on surviving and keeping his heead high after two unusual blunders. This was a very fun tournament for the viewers. I congratulate the organizers for a very well run tourney. I also congratulate all the viewers for their feverish devotion to every move..(Like me). This was a great tourney with MANY winners.


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