Reports | July 25, 2012 19:12

Biel R3: Giri & Wang Hao win, Morozevich withdraws due to illness

Helped by excellent preparation, Anish Giri grabbed the lead with a win against Etienne Bacrot on Wednesday. Hikarua Nakamura buit up an advantage in a Polugaevsky Najdorf against Wang Hao but then missed a tactic and even lost. The biggest news from Biel today, however, was the withdrawal of Alexander Morozevich. See the official statement by the organizers below.

Anish Giri leads in Biel after three rounds | All 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.

The third round in Biel had an unusual start. When the chess fans tuned in at the live page of the tournament website no moves were made in Morozevich-Carlsen, and in fact the other two games didn't immediately start at 14:00 either. Then, a note above the live game viewer appeared, saying that "due to health reasons" the game Morozevich-Carlsen was postponed. Further information would follow and a few hours later this statement appeared on the tournament site's homepage: 

Morozevich withdraws

Due to health issues, Alexander Morozevich retired from the Biel Grandmaster Tournament after Round 2. He has been this Wednesday with the organisers of the Festival to a hospital, where a doctor confirmed, with a medical certificate, his unability to go on to play the competition. Alexander Morozevich will travel back to Moscow as soon as possible to recover. The length of his healing process is unknown.

After the approval of the players, the organisers could secure a substitute. GM Victor Bologan (Moldova, World No 20, 2732 Elo) takes the place of Alexander Morozevich. He arrived already in Biel. He starts the tournament from Round 3. His game against Magnus Carlsen, scheduled for Wednesday July 25th, will be held on Sunday 29th. Victor Bologan will play his first game on Thursday July 26th against Hikaru Nakamura.

The 3 points of the victories of Anish Giri and Etienne Bacrot, achieved against Alexander Morozevich, are kept. Victor Bologan acccepted to play with two games less.

Biel International Chess Festival
Organisation Committee

Alexander Morozevich Viktor Bologan

Morozevich's condition wasn't specified, but we were told that he might be missing the Olympiad as well. Therefore we can only hope that he'll recover soon, and wish him all the best.

It must be noted that it's not the first time that something like this happens to the Russian grandmaster. Shortly before the start of the 2004 Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee, he had to withdraw as he caught a severe form of the flue. Veselin Topalov replaced him. Morozevich also withdrew from the 2010 Amber tournament in Nice, for private reasons, and was replaced by Alexander Grischuk.

Update: Morozevich also withdrew from the 1999 Dos Hermanas tournament due to illness and was replaced by Boris Gelfand, as was mentioned here.

Victor Bologan was asked to replace Morozevich, and accepted. He told us that he was in his summer house in Sevastopol,

so I had to "jump" from Crimea to Biel.

We may assume he started preparing right away, with his laptop in the airplane!

In the comments section people wonder why Leinier Dominguez, who would play originally instead of Magnus Carlsen, didn't substitute for Morozevich. We couldn't reach the organizers but it's safe to assume that he wasn't available. Besides, in an earlier note the organizers told us that 

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.

Well, it's about time to look at the games of the third round that were actually played, because both of them were really interesting, also from a theoretical point of view.

Hikaru Nakamura, to start with, chose the legendary Polugaevsky variation of the Sicilian Najdorf in his game against Wang Hao. The theoretical status of the "Polu" hasn't been that great in recent years (some people believe that there's more than one refutation) so to play it at this level is another example of Nakamura's courage and fighting spirit.

It was funny to hear Wang Hao say that he had forgotten about "his preparation", while he played the most critical moves anyway! Nakamura's 15...Qc7!? (instead of the often played 15...Qxb2) was in fact Polugaevsky's own choice back in 1960 and now, more than half a century later, it will surely be looked at again...

PGN string

Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

In the game between Anish Giri and Etienne Bacrot the players followed theory even longer – for 25 moves! Giri repeated the moves of his compatriot Loek van Wely, who played the same one month ago against... the same opponent.

Somehow Bacrot's preparation wasn't working, because already two moves after they had left that previous game the Frenchman made a mistake.

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Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Games round 3

PGN file

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 - Nakamura   Bacrot - Nakamura
Giri - Wang Hao   Giri - Carlsen
Bacrot - 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 3 standings

# Name Rtg + = - Pts Perf
2 Giri,A 2696 2 1 0 7 (3) 3033
3 Wang Hao 2739 2 0 1 6 (3) 2896
1 Carlsen,M 2837 1 1 0 4 (2) 2949
4 Bacrot,E 2713 1 0 2 3 (3) 2615
5 Nakamura,H 2778 0 2 1 2 (3) 2637
6 Morozevich,A 2770 0 0 2 0 (2) 2447
7 Bologan,V 2732 0 0 0 0 (0) -

Biel 2012 | Round 3 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.


steven's picture

It is clear to me that Moro suffers from bipolar disorder.
It may be very well so that his mental state (depression) leads to collapsing / losing many games and not the other way around !
Depressions can come very quick and there's not much you can do against it, so stop comparing it with fever,... for god's sake.

tobacco's picture

There is in fact some rumor saying "bipolar disorder", but not confirmed though

R.Mutt's picture

The fact that the organizers asked for a certificate by a doctor does not necessarily mean they didn't trust Morozevich. Perhaps they have an insurance against this type of thing, for which they need some kind of medical evidence.

MJul's picture

IMO the certificate was to avoid the theories wich appeared.

"I went for swimming, but I often fell ill and had to miss lessons. I realised the same fate would await me in any kind of sport: my peers would keep progressing while I’d fall behind. And I thought: is there a sport in which, even getting ill, I could make progress? "

valg321's picture

fwiw, my uneducated guess would be that he suffers from a chronic medical ailment that comes & goes in an unpredictable fashion. A purely physical ailment which of course can bring him down psycologicaly as it would anyone else.
I dont buy into that bipolar disorder crap thats floating around


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