19. 01. 2018
05 : 20
26 May 2017

Grandmaster Rafael Vaganian to participate in the 50th Anniversary edition of the Biel Chess Festival

The 50th Anniversary edition of the Biel Chess Festival, the second oldest chess event in Europe, starts with the ACCENTUS Rapid Tournament. Armenian famous grandmaster Rafael Vaganian will  take part in the main events of the festival: closed grandmaster tournament and ACCENTUS Rapid tournament.

 Former world champion Anatoly Karpov (RUS) is among the prestigious guests. In the ten-participant Grandmaster Tournament, experience faces youth. In addition to the top-ranked Pentala Harikrishna (IND) and 2016 women world champion Hou Yifan (CHN), the new Swiss Grandmaster Noël Studer is taking part. This year’s 50th edition will feature ten different tournaments during twelve days. Over 600 participants from all over the world are expected.

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). 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.


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)


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