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Thursday, 30 Jul 2020 17:36
Wojtaszek clinches Biel Grandmaster title

Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland) won the Grandmaster Tournament at the 53rd Biel International Chess Festival, the first major chess event in the world to be played with games over the board again since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. The Grandmaster Tournament was held in a new triathlon format with ten participants playing each other one game with classical time control (4 points for a win; 1½ point for a draw; 0 point for a loss), one rapid game with colors reversed (2 points for a win; 1 point for a draw; 0 point for a loss) and two blitz games (1 point for a win; ½ point for a draw; 0 point for a loss).

The last round of the Biel Grandmaster Triathlon promised excitement, as three players had a chance to win the title - without facing each other directly. However, the leader Radoslaw Wojtaszek did not let his position at the top be taken away from him and defeated Noël Studer, even though the Swiss did not make his task easy. The Pole turned in an impressive tournament in Biel losing just a single game against Pentala Harikrishna. In an interview after his tournament victory, the champion stressed once again how important it was for him to be able to play normally again. Wojtaszek rated his victory on a par with his titles in Dortmund and the Isle of Man.

Pentala Harikrishna (India) and Mickey Adams (England) also were victorious in the final round and finished second and third respectively. Harikrishna ended just a half-point behind Wojtaszek, a margin caused by his disappointing performance in blitz games.

Mickey Adams was satisfied with his third place, just 1½ points behind the winner. The British champion finished the event on a high note, defeating Arkadij Naiditsch.

Young Vincent Keymer (Germany) had a great start but lost steam closer to the end. Nevertheless, Keymer can look back at a strong tournament, which the 15-year-old finished in fourth place with an impressive margin over Arkadij Naiditsch. 



Final standings:

Rank

Name

Games

Classical

Rapid

Blitz

Total

1

Radoslaw Wojtaszek

27

10

12

11

33

2

Pentala Harikrishna

27

16.5

10

6

32.5

3

Michael Adams

27

12.5

8

11

31.5

4

Vincent Keymer

27

13.5

10

4.5

28

5

Arkadij Naiditsch

27

11

5

6.5

22.5

6

David Antón Guijarro

27

9.5

4

8.5

22

7

Noël Studer

27

7

3

5

15

8

Romain Édouard

27

6

4

3.5

13.5


The organizing committee was satisfied with the festival that also included Corona Amateur Tournament (won by Christian Bauer) and Swiss Youth Championship. From an organizational standpoint, the pandemic-related requirements led to various additional expenses, but as things stand today, it can be concluded that the measures taken have proved their worth and could serve as a model for other organizers around the world.

Thanks to the decision to hold the festival, "we were able to offer chess to the world, and it was noticed all over the world and associated with the name Biel/Bienne", as Peter Bohnenblust, president of the organizing committee summed up.

The triathlon format (classical + rapid + blitz) has proved its worth and found a positive response from the players. The fact that 4 points were awarded for a victory, with only 1½ in the case of a draw, has ensured exciting games. Only 10 of the 28 classic games ended in a draw, and in the last five rounds only five of them.  

Official website: http://www.bielchessfestival.ch/

Text and photo: the official website and Flickr