Reports | July 29, 2011 2:25

Carlsen wins Biel with round to spare

Carlsen wins Biel with round to spareWith one round to go Magnus Carlsen on Thursday already secured victory at the Accentus GM tournament in Biel. The Norwegian drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and saw his closest rival Alexander Morozevich losing to Fabiano Caruana. The game between Alexei Shirov and Yannick Pelletier was drawn.

General info

The 44th Biel Chess Festival takes place July 16-29 in Biel, Switzerland. The 'Grandmaster Tournament' is a six-player, double round robin with Caruana, Pelletier, Shirov, Carlsen, Morozevich and Vachier-Lagrave.The rate of play is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 61. The 'football' scoring system is in effect: three points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. Besides, no draw offers are permitted before move 30. More info here.

Round 9

It's not really his tournament, but in the penultimate round Fabiano Caruana suddenly played an important role. With the black pieces he inflicted the first loss upon runner-up Alexander Morozevich, so that for tournament leader Magnus Carlsen a draw with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was enough to secure first place.

Although he likes to play the topical Grünfeld as well, on Thursday Caruana went for the Anti-Moscow Gambit, which he played more often a few years ago. The young Italian faced a "logical novelty' by Morozevich on move thirteen, which in fact he had already analyses about two years ago. Still, the ending should have been better for White. However, Morozevich was not having his day and played indecisively, and then just blundered.

Biel, 2011

30. Rc2?
White was already having problems but this allows a nice combination.
30... Ne1+ 31. Rc1 Nxg2+ 32. Kxe4 Re7+ 33. Kf3

33... Nxh4+!
That's the problem.
34. Bxh4 Rf5+ 35. Kg2 Rxe2
and Black won.


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave did stick to his Grünfeld and Magnus Carlsen went for the fianchetto variation. After a small inaccuracy by the Frenchman, the tournament leader got a small advantage, but there wasn't any clear way to break through on either side of the board. The final position is more or less balanced and normally Carlsen might have played on, but since half a point was enough, he accepted his opponent's draw offer.


In the game between Alexei Shirov and Yannick Pelletier, for the fifth time the Rubinstein French appeared on the board in Biel. It didn't really matter that the Swiss GM drew twice and lost twice with it before, since his position had been rather solid in those games as well. And this time Shirov couldn't find a good way to get an advantage, and felt that he was even slightly worse in the final position.


Games round 9

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Biel 2011 | Schedule & results
Round 1 18.07.11 14:00 CET Round 6 25.07.11 14:00 CET
Caruana ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Caruana
Pelletier 0-1 Carlsen Carlsen 1-0 Pelletier
Shirov ½-½ Morozevich Morozevich ½-½ Shirov
Round 2 19.07.11 14:00 CET Round 7 26.07.11 14:00 CET
Vachier-Lagrave 0-1 Morozevich Morozevich 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 1-0 Shirov Shirov 0-1 Carlsen
Caruana ½-½ Pelletier Pelletier 0-1 Caruana
Round 3 20.07.11 14:00 CET Round 8 27.07.11 14:00 CET
Pelletier ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Pelletier
Shirov 1-0 Caruana Caruana 0-1 Shirov
Morozevich ½-½ Carlsen Carlsen ½-½ Morozevich
Round 4 22.07.11 14:00 CET Round 9 28.07.11 14:00 CET
Shirov ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave Carlsen ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Morozevich ½-½ Pelletier Morozevich 0-1 Caruana
Carlsen 1-0 Caruana Shirov ½-½ Pelletier
Round 5 23.07.11 14:00 CET Round 10 29.07.11 11:00 CET
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Carlsen Vachier-Lagrave - Shirov
Caruana 0-1 Morozevich Pelletier - Morozevich
Pelletier ½-½ Shirov Caruana - Carlsen

Biel 2011 | Round 9 Standings (Classical)

Biel 2011 | Round 9 Standings (Football)

# Name Elo Points
1. Magnus Carlsen NOR 2821 18
2. Alexander Morozevich RUS 2694 14
3-4. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2722 11
3-4. Alexei Shirov ESP 2714 11
5. Fabiano Caruana ITA 2711 9
6. Yannick Pelletier SUI 2590 5

Photos © Biel Chess Festival


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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.


S3's picture

The percentage of hard fought decisive games at Dortmund is not lower, and there are are no football score systems or Sofia rules there.

Macauley's picture

In fact there ARE Sofia rules in place in Dortmund.

Meppie's picture

And also playing chess now and then!

PircAlert's picture

Since when organizers started playing in elite tournaments? No prize for your guess!

Here is your favorite player promotion suggestion for organizers.

Organize a 4 round robin tournament with elite players. Keep the scoring as 10 for win, 1 for draw, 0 for loss. Shall we call it Fantasy Cricket Scoring?? Now put your favorite 2700 player in that league. Buy one player so that he loses to your favorite pick. With 40 points, your favorite is more or less guaranteed to win the tournament, and if he is fortunate to get some other wins, he will even win with some rounds to spare!! ;)

Anyways, congratulations to my favorite Carlsen! And advance congratulations to Kramnik!

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks, corrected. Doing too many things at the same time here...

Meppie's picture

Thanks for the report!

“In the game between Alexei Shirov and Yannick Pelletier, for the third time the Rubinstein French appeared on the board in Biel. It didn’t really matter that the Swiss GM lost twice with it before, since his position had been rather solid in those games as well. And this time Shirov couldn’t find a good way to get an advantage, and felt that he was even slightly better in the final position.”

The Rubinstein appeared for the fifth time on the board. And beside two losses, Pelletier also achieved two draws with it.
I suppose Shirov felt he was a slightly worse, not better.

stevefraser's picture

Unless the game is decisive, both players must complete sixty moves. The player who on the move brings about a third repetition of the position loses. GOOD BYE GM draws based on both players fear of losing.

Zeblabob's picture

I start thinking about MC-MVL world championship semi-final. Since the other semi-final (i.e. Anand-Gelfand) is going fine.

blueofnoon's picture

Well, Morozevich, of course, is a genius, but unlike players such as Kramnik, Leko, Radjabov etc, he did not have a lot of opportunities to play in top tournaments as a teenager.

What made Moro today is his risky but uncompromising style, will to win regardless of tournament situation.

Of course, nobody likes losing, but I believe he will bounce back from this bitter experience. Go Moro!!

Septimus's picture

Was Shirov's game a dead draw? He has a pawn majority on the queenside.

Calvin Amari's picture

Even under traditional scoring, I don't think many would consider Magnus being a full point up in the last round and only needing a draw against Caruana to be a nail-biting finish. (From a rating perspective, Caruana may particularly welcome a draw offer from Carlsen.) Given the high percentage of hard fought and decisive games, I'm sure the organizers will not be eager to change the rules next time.

blueofnoon's picture

It seems Kramnik has benefitted a lot from Sofia rules. Maybe he can consider hiring Danaliov as his next manager :)

bhabatosh's picture

sad to see Moro lost .... :-(

S3's picture


Celso's picture

Don´t provoke the seniors! They could have a major heart attack!

The Golden Knight's picture

Magnus wins ANOTHER tournament, this time before the last round! The Boy is amazing!

Juan's picture

Is interesting that Magnus Carlsen was defending an inferior position in the ending against Vachier Lagrave again, despite being white.

realitycheck's picture

Well, its over now thanks to the football score card. Had they used the classical score card round ten still would've been something to look forward to.

Chilsz's picture

Inferior? When was he in big trouble?

Juan's picture

He went directly for a draw on 44.Qc1, because of black advanced c pawn, how ever as Calvin Amari points, it probably was influenced by Moro-Caruana game.

Calvin Amari's picture

Looked pretty close to dead even but not uncomplicated to me. Indeed, I wonder whether, if the result were otherwise in the Moro-Caruana game, Margnus would have pressed for some time in his characteristic manner. As it turned out, however, we have another characteristic circumstance: a cakewalk for Magnus at the finish.

Juan's picture

Good point about Moro-Caruana result.

After 44...Nb4 I thought black was winning. never realized that 46.d5! was in Magnus plans.

LMedemblik's picture

Its clear to me...Morozovich didn't study the works of Smyslov.... :-)

columbo's picture

Congratulations Magnus !

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