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Kamsky wins Biel GMT Rapid 2021, Nihal finishes second

by Shahid Ahmed - 26/07/2021

Gata Kamsky scored 11.0/14 to win the 54th Biel International Chess Festival GMT Rapid. He finished a full point ahead of Nihal Sarin 10.0/14, who prevented him from doing a double hat-trick. Maxime Lagarde scored 9.0/14 to secure third place. Had the frenchman won his last round game against Nihal, he would have tied the score with Kamsky. Gelfand had a difficult day as he scored only 4.0/14. Today is a rest day for the GMT participants. Classical event Round 1 starts tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. IST. Master Tournament (MTO) starts today at the same time. It will feature many top players of India. Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Nihal halts the Kamsky juggernaut

Gata Kamsky had huge momentum in the Rapid as he scored five consecutive victories including three with the black pieces against the following players - Studer, Lagarde, Alekseenko, Gelfand and Pichot. Just when Kamsky seemed unstoppable, Nihal held him to a draw in the sixth round. The American lost the final round but it did not affect his chances to top the standings as Nihal managed to beat Lagarde which allowed Nihal to finish second and the Lagarde was placed third.

Nihal scored 10.0/14 | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Round 1: Nihal - Alekseenko: 1-0

Nihal defeated Kirill Alekseenko in consecutive days, this time in a rapid game.

Position after 16..Qd7

It all started falling apart for Black after 16...Qd7. Find out why it is a mistake and what Black should have played instead.

Nihal won against Alekseenko in both Chess960 and Rapid games in consecutive days | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Round 2: Gelfand - Nihal: 0-1

Scoring a victory against the legend, Boris Gelfand will always be sweet. The FIDE World Cup 2009 winner sacrificed his bishop at a position when it was not required.

Position after 17.Bxg7

17.Bxc7 Nd4 18.Qd3 Nxe2+ 19.Kg2 and White is doing just fine. Perhaps he did not want to allow his opponent have attacking chances, thus the sacrifice. Nihal got a decisive advantage and went on to win the game. However, in the endgame, there was a moment for Gelfand to make a come back.

Position after 36...Kf8

36...Kf8 was repeated twice. Luckily for Nihal, his opponent missed on both occasion. 37.Qxf6 Qd1+ 38.Kg2 Qxg4 39.Qd8+ Kg7 40. Qxa5 and now White can go for a draw. These days happen in rapid, especially in time scramble.

Round 4: Nihal - Studer: 1-0

Nihal was completely winning against Swiss GM Noel Studer.

Position after 36...a3

37.Re1 Ra4 38.Ra1 is one of the ways to win here for White. 37.Nb3 allowed Black to get back in the game, 37...Ra4. Then 38.c5 Rxb4 completely turned things in Black's favor. Noel won his sole game in the rapid against Nihal.

Studer did not have a great day | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Round 5: Keymer - Nihal: 0-1

Nihal beat Keymer for the second consecutive day in another exciting game.

Position after 22.Rb1

In a volatile position, Keymer went wrong, 22.Rb1 which allowed his opponent to strike immediately, 22...Bxg4 and shift things in his favor. Instead 23.Rc1 Rxb2 24.Rc2 would have held things together.

Round 6: Nihal - Kamsky: 0.5-0.5

Nihal had a very solid draw with the eventual champion and FIDE World Cup 2007 winner Gata Kamsky.

Kamsky had a phenomenal day | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Round 7: Lagarde - Nihal: 0-1

Maxime Lagarde went wrong early in the opening, which resulted in his bad pawn structure.

Position after 8.f4

8.f4 gets White a triple-pawn on c-file 8...Nxc3 9.bxc3 Bc5+ 10.Kh1 Bxc4. Nihal converted his advantage in the endgame.

Lagarde scored 9.0/14 to secure third place | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Scoring for Rapid

Win - 2 points, Draw - 1 point and Loss - 0

Replay all games

Photo Gallery

Gelfand wondering what is it... | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

...Oh that hurts | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Kamsky scored five consecutive victories, including three with the black pieces | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

All eight players of the GMT in action | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Countdown clock for the next round | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Final Standings in Rapid

Rk.SNoNameFEDRtgPts. TB1 
11GMKamsky GataUSA27015,50
26GMNihal SarinIND24185,00
32GMLagarde MaximeFRA26844,50
43GMAlekseenko KirillRUS26614,00
57GMKeymer VincentGER25433,00
65GMPichot AlanARG25332,50
74GMGelfand BorisISR27022,00
88GMStuder NoelSUI24311,50


Overall standings

Kamsky has taken the lead but Nihal is in the chase | Photo: Biel Chess Festival

Replay the livestream

Nihal Sarin plays at the Biel Chess Festival GMT Rapid | Video: ChessBase India


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