The Biel Chess Festival took place for the first time In July 1968. The organizers staged the «International Open of the Chess Club Biel» and 34 participants from 9 nations responded to the invitation. In the following five decades, the festival attracted many chess stars, and Biel was even entrusted to organize the Interzonal Tournament at three occasions (1976, 1985 and 1993).
The first highlight of the 50th anniversary edition can be enjoyed on the second day of the festival. The ACCENTUS Rapid Tournament will gather, besides some players of the Grandmaster Tournament, former world champion Anatoly Karpov (RUS) and Vlastimil Hort (DEU). The latter won the Grandmaster Tournament twice in the eighties and has been a long-time member of the Biel chess club, while Karpov won the tournament three times (1990, 1992 and 1996). The field also includes native Biel Grandmaster Yannick Pelletier. With eleven participations in the Grandmaster Tournament, Pelletier is an important part of the recent festival history. Since 2013, he has been working as Director of the closed tournament himself.
In the Grandmaster Tournament (July 24 to August 2), experience is opposed to youth. The Russian Alexander Morozevich returns to Biel many years after his third victory. However, he is not the only tough opponent for top seed Pentala Harikrishna from India. World’s best female player Hou Yifan (CHN) as well as FIDE World Champion from 2002 Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR) will also fight for the top places. Back to Biel is also David Navara (CZE). He stunned the chess world in 2015 when he won one of the most spectacular games of the festival’s history with a sensational king March in his opponent’s camp.
Besides familiar faces, there are also newcomers in the grand master Tournament. 20-year-old Noël Studer from Bern has just been awarded the Grandmaster title, while Nico Georgiadis (21, SUI) is also on his way there. With their strong play over the last few years, they have earned their right to participate in the prestigious Grandmaster Tournament. It also underlines the philosophy of the Biel Chess Festival, which is to promote young talents by giving them the chance to meet the elite. With this spectacular field, exciting and competitive games are guaranteed.
GRANDMASTER TOURNAMENT IN BIEL 2017
Pentala Harikrishna (IND, born in 1986), World No. 16 (2750 Elo-Points)
David Navara (CZE, 1985), No. 21 (2739)
Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR, 1983), No. 37 (2712)
Peter Leko (HUN, 1979), No. 41 (2703)
Etienne Bacrot (FRA, 1983), No. 48 (2696)
Alexander Morozevich (RUS, 1977), No. 74 (2675)
Yifan Hou (CHN, 1994), Women’s World No. 1 (2652)
Rafael Vaganian (ARM, 1951), No. 396 (2560)
Noël Studer (SUI, 1996), Swiss-Champion 2016 (2498)
Nico Georgiadis (SUI, 1996), National No. 7 (2472)
ACCENTUS RAPID TOURNAMENT 2017
David Navara (CZE, born in 1985, 2716 Rapid-Elo-Points)
Pentala Harikrishna (IND, 1986, 2706)
Alexander Morozevich (RUS, 1977, 2662)
Yannick Pelletier (SUI, 1976, 2644)
Anatoly Karpov (RUS, 1951, 2611)
Yifan Hou (CHN, 1994, 2611)
Rafael Vaganian (ARM, 1951, *2560)
Vlastimil Hort (DEU, 1944, 2455)
* classic FIDE-Rating, no Rapid-Rating