Reports | July 27, 2012 19:02

Wang Hao increases lead in Biel

Wang Hao, 4 points ahead of Giri & Nakamura

Wang Hao increased his lead to 4 points at the Biel Chess Festival on Friday. The Chinese grandmaster defeated Victor Bologan to score 3 more points, while runner-up Anish Giri only collected 1 point after drawing with Magnus Carlsen. Hikaru Nakamura beat Etienne Bacrot and is now in shared second place with the Dutch GM.

Wang Hao, 4 points ahead of Giri & Nakamura | 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.

The tournament in Biel has already reached its half way point. Well, except for one game, Bologan-Carlsen, which will be played on the first and only rest day, next Sunday. First the 6th round is scheduled for Saturday, with Nakamura-Carlsen, Bacrot-Wang Hao and Giri-Bologan. At the moment Wang Hao has a 4-point lead over Giri & Nakamura, but with 3 points for a win anything can happen!

On Friday the Chinese GM played another excellent game with the white pieces against Victor Bologan, who tried the Benkö/Volga Gambit. Despite its long history, the opening itself is quite rare at this level and Bologan's strange-looking bishop manoeuvre (c8-a6-c8-f5-c8-a6) even more! Perhaps it's possible in combination with the more natural 14...Nbd7, because after 14...Nfd7?! the players agreed that Black was taking too many risks. (Although he lost, Bologan also joined the post-game commentary. He jokingly said that this was partly because the commentary room has better air-conditioning!)

PGN string

Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Against Anish Giri, Magnus Carlsen followed his well known strategy of avoiding heavy theory but "getting a position" instead. Not really testing the Dutchman's Petrov Defence, Carlsen played the quiet 5.d3 and, in fact, unsuccessfully. After the opening it was Black who was better, but Giri then erred and got into a slightly worse ending which was not too difficult to hold.

PGN string

Video produced by Pascal Simon (Chessbase)

Hikaru Nakamura won again, but this didn't make him too happy, at least not yet.

I'm more relieved that I played a good game today, this is more important.

After following Lev Polugaevsky's recipe earlier in the tournament, Nakamura played another former Soviet legend's pet line against Etienne Bacrot's King's Indian: the Petrosian variation. Interestingly, he decided to do so behind the board – afterwards he said he had prepared something else. Bacrot never really got into the game as he chose the wrong plan on the kingside.

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 - 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 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 01.08.12 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 5 standings

# Name Fed Rtg + = - Pts
1 Wang Hao CHN 2739 4 0 1 12 (5)
2 Giri,A NED 2696 2 2 1 8 (5)
5 Nakamura,H USA 2778 2 2 1 8 (5)
3 Carlsen,M NOR 2837 1 3 0 6 (4)
4 Bacrot,E FRA 2713 1 1 3 4 (5)
6 Bologan,V MDA 2732 0 0 2 0 (2)
7 Morozevich,A RUS 2770 0 0 2 0 (2)

Biel 2012 | Round 5 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.


redivivo's picture

Moro Bolo no-go

choufleur's picture

Bacrot and Bologan self destructed in a very naive way. Not the best round.

Al F's picture

The football table is missing one win for Wang Hao, who is on +4 =0 -1

BTW I appreciate that you're also giving the "real" chess table. I still think +3 should always beat +2 in chess tournaments (just compare +3 =7 -0 to +4 =4 -2, both giving 16 football points - or even worse, +5 =2 -3 giving 17 football points). I hope this "unvention" will disappear fast...

Ruben's picture

I can t really understand the Ba6-c8-f5-c8-a6 maneuvre from Bolo. Is this how you play a Wolga gambit? Is the pawn to e4 worth so much tempi?

Adam's picture

Yes it is. The square d3 is crucial for black's counterplay in the Benko. One of the main points of white's line with g3, is to keep that square covered with the e-pawn for as long as possible. If white manages to develop his position completely without weakening that square, black has no compensation for his pawn. Therefore black must force white to move the e-pawn, thereby weakening d3. For black to pay 2, 3, or even 4 tempi for it, is quite normal.

Adam's picture

Another common idea for black is to go Nb8-d7-b6, Ba6-b7, Ra8-a7, and Qd8-a8. All these moves, 5 in total, have the same point: forcing white to play e2-e4. Once e4 has been played, black starts homing in on the weak d3-square.

Zeblakob's picture

Bolozovisch ....

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen's play is a bit dodgy - eh, wot?

Thomas's picture

Imagine if the Biel organizers hadn't found a "compromise" or "deal" with Dominguez - then Wang Hao might have been bumped to make room for Carlsen (Biel usually has a French player, and the spots of Morozevich, Nakamura and Giri also should have been safe). We would have missed something - of course we don't know how Dominguez would have performed.

MW's picture

Wang Hao has had a stellar tournament so far. It remains to be seen if he finishes as strongly as he started.

As for the scare quotes, we don't know yet what the circumstances of Dominguez leaving were. It's really just speculation the he was forced out against his will and further speculation that camp Carlsen contacted the organizers and pressured them to bump someone.

Thomas's picture

I don't want to start the whole discussion over again, but give my interpretation of the organizers' statement (the one thing which is new in the meantime): Dominguez didn't withdraw voluntarily, and certainly not for reasons unrelated to Carlsen becoming available. Instead it required a deal - details not being revealed may be part of the deal, hence "we don't know yet" might well be "we'll never know". The organizers also recognize or admit that the entire situation was, to put it mildly, unusual and quite possibly unprecedented. It probably took more than an invitation for next year: if you invite someone to your birthday dinner and then discover that you don't have enough food or seats in the restaurant because you rather want to have a VIP guest, is it enough to say "you are welcome next year"?

As to camp Carlsen contacting the organizers, that's still the most likely explanation (and that's what Stefan Löffler wrote). It could be a misunderstanding: Did Carlsen want to be added as seventh player to the field? Did he actually want to play the Swiss open, where it's easy to add players at the last minute? :) The alternative would be even "funnier": the organizers contacted Carlsen - "now that Bazna was cancelled, our earlier invitation (if there was one) is still valid even if it implies changes to the lineup."

As to Wang Hao, at the very least he already justified his invitation. Even if he collapses completely in the second half, he will be(come) "the new Morozevich". And with football scoring, he collected already as many points as someone with a final score of +1=9 (Carlsen is the only one who could still reach such a score, I agree that a better final result is rather likely)

MW's picture

You wrote that your source, Stefan Löffler, said "It's true that Carlsen was looking for a tournament after the cancellation of Bazna, and his management spoke with the Biel organizers. They compensated Dominguez with an invitation for Biel 2013." Even if we assume that as 100% factual, it only says what it says and anything else is being read into it: e.g. "his management spoke with the Biel organizers". Carlsen's management may just have expressed an interest in a spot should anyone choose to withdraw and the organizers may have taken it upon themselves to ask Dominguez if he wouldn't mind stepping aside. And, who knows, maybe Dominguez stepped aside graciously (we don't know also if he might have gotten other compensation such as keeping his appearance fee).

I feel like you want to direct things towards the most sinister interpretation that Dominguez was forced and Carlsen or his people had a direct hand in it.

Thomas's picture

Ah, so Carlsen may have been thinking about Morozevich singing "if he doesn't show up I will be his substitute" - referring to a song from long before he was born: . That's an option, albeit not the most obvious one, and in that case I would still criticize the organizers for what followed. Did Dominguez really have a choice? He may have thought that the organizers or camp Carlsen would otherwise state "Carlsen wanted to play but couldn't because Dominguez insisted on his contract" - in that case, I would have said "fair enough" but others might strongly disagree.

Two things are also strange to me: Some people argue that there are no neutral observers, because anyone asking critical questions is dubbed a Carlsen hater. And questions had to be asked before we got some sort of answer from the organizers, and even then it took a few days - Peter Doggers' choice to publish their statement only when Morozevich was replaced by Bologan (rather than Dominguez coming back), and there's still nothing at the tournament homepage.

Basically all has been said (I don't expect details on how Dominguez was compensated) - we still disagree on how to assess the entire story ... .

redivivo's picture

"Imagine if the Biel organizers hadn't found a "compromise" or "deal" with Dominguez - then Wang Hao might have been bumped to make room for Carlsen (Biel usually has a French player, and the spots of Morozevich, Nakamura and Giri also should have been safe). We would have missed something"

It's that Carlsen fellow again!

kamalakanta's picture

Interesting....Carlsen is the only undefeated player...the last tournament he played (which he won) started similarly, with others taking the early lead....

Aditya's picture

Yes, And Carlsen still has one game to go against Bologan. So potentially he can land on 9 being 3 points away from Hao. That's just one win away and it's not too far for a guy like Carlsen. Nevertheless, Wang Hao's play is really impressive, especially how he handled Giri.

Jambow's picture

Wang Hoa was really exceeded expectations so far, I agree though Carlsen is still the favorite in my book but Wang is no longer a long shot. Doesn't matter if Carlsen wins or not though if Dominguez got bumped in a less than scroupleless manner, deals a deal.

tobacco's picture

Rumors are that the Carlsen-camp contacted Biel to say he was "available" and that Biel agreed on a generous compensation with Dominguez (as well as an invitation for next year). ..."All parties were satisfied"...

MW's picture

Interesting. Can you source this at all?

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