''…..why on earth I was included in there….''
Anish on Biel Tournament 2012
Luckily enough, my convincing (6 out of 7) Dutch championship victory served a purpose of a wing-giver for me, something that certainly was an important element for my success in Biel, where I had to compete with the world's very top.
From the very start I was put under pressure with 2 black games against Morozevich and Nakamura (following my black against Smeets in Dutch championship, making it 3 blacks in a row). Yet, I came out perfectly out of that, scoring 1.5/2, with some adventures here and there, the most exciting and surprising being the following one:
Morozevich - Giri (click arrows to follow the game)
It was time to get the white pieces. Playing Etienne I was shocked to find out his recent, sudden and very unexpected passion for KID. I couldn't believe my eyes, but just in case, I prepared a small trick in a long forced line that Etienne encountered a couple of months before, in his game with our Dutch guru Loek van Wely in the French league. The small trick brought large dividends and after that beautiful game, I took an unexpected role of the leader already after 3 rounds.
Intending to develop my success in solid fashion against Wang Hao turned out to be a mistake, as after entering the critical line of Saemisch I suddenly started to doubt and mistrust my preparation and memory. Having some vague recollections that the setup with g3 should be solid, I surprisingly found myself lost pretty much in a couple of more moves. The game was very painful and unpleasant, the way it went, but in such tournament one can't afford to focus too much on the disappointments and fortunately I came back with a perfect mood to give Carlsen hard times with black.
One would expect a rest-day, but no, the tournament had a strange format, in sense that the rest-day divided the tournament into 6 games and 4. That was done to coincide with the open tournament that had 11 games.
Playing the substitute Bologan (after 2 rounds Morozevich dropped out due to health problems and was fortunately very smoothly replaced by Bologan), I couldn't have hoped for a better position out of the opening. My Nd2 may seem modest, but I was quite proud of my setup with Nd2 and Nc2.
Rest-day it was and it was definitely needed. A warm evening in a restaurant on a hill with a view on the beautiful lake of Biel, made it pass by quickly and before I knew it, I had to face Hikaru with white.
When my next opponent, Etienne Bacrot played 1.e4 (a move he hardly plays these days), I frowned with a feeling of delight, yet I pretty soon regretted my opening choice. Being in an aggressive mood I decided to have fun in Najdorf, but found myself wondering what to do in an unfamiliar position. My bxa3?? could be considered a fruit of misunderstanding and disgust, yet I was rewarded (though not clear for what exactly) with a blunder by my opponent. I finished the game in a computer style, leaving my opponent no time to breath, but it could have been way more difficult had he not been in a harsh time trouble.
Being in a fight for the first place (especially with a 3-1-0 scoring system), I was ready to face Carlsen with White. The tricky Norwegian found yet another lazy way to get out of theory and we ended up on an unknown territory pretty quickly. My Ne5 was a little premature and my advantage (if any) evaporated pretty quickly. The tactics with Nf5! were fun, but just led to a draw.
My lucky (and by the way very friendly) Chinese nemesis Wang Hao managed to even win the tournament, thanks to his aggressive chess combined with the football scoring system achieving perhaps the biggest success in his career.
As for myself, after forgetting the last game, I was glad to find valuable 19 Elo points in my Elo-account, and after a good dinner I left Biel with a feeling of satisfaction and a will to come back there the next time.