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Carlsen Wins Biel 07

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Before we go beyond the headline we have to include a subheadline: "Ties for first with Alexander Onischuk and wins the tiebreak in blitz armageddon game." They both finished with 5.5/9, +2 scores valued at around 2760 performance. In the playoff they drew two rapid and two blitz games and finally Carlsen got black in the armageddon game and won. It's a bit silly to have such things after a round-robin that isn't producing a qualifier or anything else necessitating a sole victor. But it's a little extra fun for the fans as long as Onischuk's name isn't forgotten. Biel often gets relegated to second tier behind Linares, Corus and Dortmund, but despite having just two top-ten players this was a powerful event. It was a category 18, a 2678 average. I don't think an American has tied for first in such a strong closed since Kamsky 1.0 over ten years ago. (Kamsky's performance rating at the 2006 Mtel was over 2800 though.) Onischuk has been on a brutal regimen of powerful European tournaments and it's clearly paying off. It's becoming the year of the Chuckies!

Carlsen deserves maximum kudos, however, both for beating his co-winner in their regular game -- Onischuk's only loss -- and for fighting back after two late losses knocked him out of the lead. Carlsen played a very creative attacking game to snatch the lead away from Radjabov in the final round. The white rooks dominated the center and split the board in two with Black's king on one side and most of his pieces on the other. Playing these oddball Pirc and Pirc-ish 1.e4 d6 defenses at this level is something Radjabov and his countryman Mamedyarov get away with on a regular basis, but they also have more than a few shattering losses like this one. In this game, which was really more of a Philidor as pointed out below, it's hard to understand why Black would want to activate the Ra1 by capturing on a3 instead of just playing ..d5 immediately. After that Black can take on a3 when White has to recapture with the pawn.

Grischuk nabbed his second win in the final round. He came close to a few others and had a decent event despite some notable glitches. In round 9 he beat Avrukh with Black in the Ragozin we've seen from his fellow Russian Jakovenko lately. The Israeli helped out, missing a good saving try at the bitter endgame with 52.Nxa2 with drawing chances in R + N vs R after 52..Nxa2 53.Ra7+ Kg6 54.Kc5 and the e-pawn falls. van Wely finished with a flourish, winning his second in a row to come blinking out of the cellar into the daylight after a rough event. His win with Black over Bu Xiangzhi created a curious crosstable. Two winners with +2, four +1 scores (Pelletier, Polgar, Grischuk, Radjabov) and four players at -2 (Bu, van Wely, Motylev, Avrukh). Every player had a win and a loss, which usually signifies fighting chess like we saw in Biel.

Mainz begins on August 13. The UK Championship is underway.


"It was a strange time for Radja to drop his usual King's Indian, which had been serving him well."

It seems that Carlsen played 1.e4 instead his usual 1.d4 to avoid the KID not the other way around. The KID again served Radjabov well (2/3).

I agree with Guido, Carlsen played 1.e4. Radja never droped the KID.

5.5/9 is a +2 score, I believe.

Oops, I had my database open and was looking at another game with that position after move 4 and it started 1.d4.

I blame it on the heat.


Radjabov's defense against Carlsen is actually Philidorish and not Pircish. That's alright, TWIC didn't get it right either.

Yah, you're right. I'm aware of the difference, and considered pointing it out. I made sure not to call it a Pirc since it's certainly not one with the bishop on e7. But I was mostly trying to lump it in with the other 1.e4 d6 stuff he and Mamedyarov play, which usually goes with the bishop on g7. All the stuff with the knight on e2 instead of f3 gets dumped into B07, I think. These things always make sense to me at the time and only later I realize nobody else was in my head to follow my tortured logic path!

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 3, 2007 11:34 AM.

    Feel the Biel 07 was the previous entry in this blog.

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