Reports | July 31, 2009 5:38

Vachier-Lagrave wins Biel 2009

Biel 2009All last-round games ended in a draw and so Maxime Vachier-Lagrave became the surprising winner of the Biel Chess Festival today. The Frenchman stayed undefeated, finished on 6/10 and scored the biggest success of his career so far.

The Biel Chess Festival takes place July 18 to 31 in Biel, Switzerland. The Grandmaster Tournament is a six-player round-robin with Gelfand (2755), Morozevich (2751), Alekseev (2714), Vachier-Lagrave (2703), Ivanchuk (2703) and Caruana (2670).

Round 10

After some great rounds, the last day in Biel wasn't too exciting. Vachier-Lagrave, who was leading by half a point, took a quick draw against Alekseev after surprising the Russian with the tricky 7...Nc6 sideline in the 6.Bg5 Najdorf. Not long afterwards Morozevich and Caruana followed suit in a Slechter-Chebanenko-Queen's-Gambit-Exchange hybrid, and so only Ivanchuk had a chance to finish shared first with Vachier-Lagrave. However, if anyone was better in their ending it was Gelfand, but it wasn't much and so also in that game there was no winner.

Biel 2009 was a great tournament for 18-year-old Vachier-Lagrave, who played almost at 2800 level for ten games and clearly didn't suffer from the little time (one day!) between San Sebastián and this event. Favorites Morozevich and Ivanchuk scored close to their rating expectancy; the former by alternating some strong games with some weak moments. But with only three draws Morozevich was, as always, great to watch. Gelfand disappointed slightly - he drew with everybody and blundered twice against Morozevich. Last seed Caruana, won turned 17 today, finished last but the Italian might well surprise us, like Vachier-Lagrave did, in some tournament in the near future.

Games round 10

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Biel Chess Festival 2009 | GM Tournament | Final Standings
Biel 2009

Biel Chess Festival 2009 | Schedule & results
Schedule and results Biel 2009

Video impressons


Photos & video courtesy of the 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.


Robert's picture

Congratulations to the young lad Maxime Vachier-Lagrave !

Excellent performance for his age against such world class performers as Ivanchuk , Morozevich and Gelfand , Maxime played very well overall despite being ill before the tournament , i wish him the best for his career cause i like players that look for complications like him , it's also good to see Sicilian Najdorf players do well

Congratulations for Morozevich as well , he displayed a very healthy fighting spirit in all of his games .

Castro's picture

"finished on 6/9 " means "finished on 6/10" :-)

Castro's picture

Thanks for correcting ;-)

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