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Biel: Nihal and Alekseenko the strongest in blitz

Kamsky still leading

After Saturday’s blitz games, there is high tension at the Grandmaster Triathlon in Biel, as current leader Gata Kamsky started the day badly and could only partially make up for it.

His pursuers benefited: the young Indian Nihal Sarin showed the best performance and collected 9½ points, just ahead of Alekseenko with 9 points.

At the top of the triathlon ranking, Kamsky, with a score of 25½, is now only 1½ points ahead of Alekseenko and Nihal. Frenchman Maxime Lagarde is also only one further point behind. Three classical games remain, where four points are to be gained per win.

The previously convincing Kamsky had a classic false start in the blitz session — he kicked off with six losses, only four draws and temporarily lost the overall lead. A highly annoying defeat against Noël Studer in Round 10 then served as a wake-up call: Kamsky subsequently won three games and drew in Round 14.

Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol.1 and 2

These DVDs are about Understanding Middlegame Strategies. In the first DVD dynamic decisions involving pawns are discussed. The second DVD deals with decision making process concerning practical play.

Gata Kamsky, Boris Gelfand

Indian rising star Nihal showed his class, obtaining 9½ out of the possible 14 points on Saturday. He already showed the second-best performance in the Rapid, so he obviously he likes to deal with time pressure. Thanks to his remarkable result, he moved up to second place in the overall ranking, which he now shares with Alekseenko from Russia, who has the same number of points. Alekseenko also played strongly and achieved the second-best score of the day with 9 points.

Kirill Alekseenko, Vincent Keymer

Boris Gelfand’s day resembled a summit climb. The Israeli showed a strong first half with five wins and a draw, and it seemed as if he was set to make considerable progress in the overall ranking. The second half, however, was a complete disappointment for him, with five losses in seven games, leaving him in second-last place in the overall standings.

Ana Srebrnič, the main arbiter of this year’s Biel Chess Festival, praised the players’ behaviour during the blitz tournament: the players had shown extreme fair play even in the greatest time pressure, and she stated to have never before arbitered such a decent tournament.

All games – Blitz Tournament


Overall standings

Rank Name Country Games Classic Rapid Blitz Total
1 GM Gata Kamsky USA 25 11 6 25½
3 GM Kirill Alekseenko RUS 25 7 8 9 24
4 GM Nihal Sarin IND 25 10 24
2 GM Maxime Lagarde FRA 25 7 9 7 23
5 GM Vincent Keymer GER 25 7 6 7 20
6 GM Alan Pichot ARG 25 7 5 18½
7 GM Boris Gelfand ISR 25 7 4 7 18
8 GM Noël Studer SUI 25 7 3 4 14

Youth tournaments

Practical Chess Strategy: The Bishop

When it comes to strategy, one of the key things that chess professionals understand much better than amateur players is the role of the bishop which is the key theme on this video course.

Biel also hosted three youth tournaments on Saturday. The events were open to all and, thanks to the support of VINETUM, did not charge a participation fee. Almost 70 interested students competed over seven rounds in the three categories: U16, U13 and U10.

Biel Chess Festival 2021

Podium U16: 1. Steve Papaux, 2. Raphael Erne, 3. Suvirr Malli (Chess-Results link)

Podium U13: 1. Timur Khadiev, 2. Anthony Haas, 3. Marlon Guyer (Chess-Results link)

Podium U10: 1. Shreyank Kumar, 2. Julian Sutter, 3. Iskander Bashirov (Chess-Results link)

Sunday’s activities

After the hustle and bustle of the blitz tournament, the participants in the Grandmaster Tournament will be able to enjoy their second day of rest before the last three rounds of classical chess will start on Monday.

On the other hand, the Master Tournament MTO and the Amateur Tournament ATO, which were paused on Saturday, will resume. Especially in the MTO, things are still very open: a total of 17 players are at most one point behind the current leader Karthikeyan Murali. Karthikeyan will have to defend his position in a duel against his compatriot Sethuraman S.P. .

Information on broadcasts

Due to the sanitary crisis, unfortunately, no spectators are allowed in the entire building this year. Instead, the organizers have expanded their online offer: the Grandmaster Triathlon is broadcasted online with live commentary. In addition, all games of the Master Tournament and also some of the games from the Amateur Tournament can be followed live.

Those interested can find more information at:


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