The best-casted Grand Master Triathlon

With the Triathlon of the Grand Masters, new ground was broken in 2019 in order to continue inviting world-class players to Biel/Bienne at a time when the financial demands of the top 15 in the world rankings presented an insurmountable hurdle in the absence of a major private sponsor. In the current year 2023, despite the uncertainty about the financial participation of the city of Biel, the organizers have managed to secure not only the Festival with its many different tournaments, but also a Grand Master Tournament that will be the strongest since the inception of the Triathlon, with a player average of over 2700 Elo points. The protagonists are briefly presented here below. The other tournaments of the Festival (July 15-30, 2023) will be presented in a later press release when the online registration opens.

At the beginning of his 26th year as president of the organizing committee, Peter Bohnenblust explains how the Festival is once again fighting to defy all odds: "Also thanks to last year's petition - (note: media release of 14.10.2022 ) - a contribution for the 2023 Festival has again been included in the budget of the city of Biel/Bienne. However, the definitive confirmation by the parliament and the people is currently still pending. Therefore, clarifications and inquiries are still ongoing in order to ensure the Festival in the usual scope".  

Paul Kohler, initiator of the Chess Triathlon and director of the Festival for six years, emphasizes the role of his predecessors: "Without the selflessness of Peter Bohnenblust and the late Peter Burri and Olivier Breisacher and of course the Festival founder Hans Suri, it would not have been possible to realize such a well-endowed Grand Master Tournament with so little financial means. The tradition that these prominent people have built was, a strong argument to convince the eight competitors, who are around 2700 Elo points, to show their skills this year in the Triathlon." 

Brief introduction of the participants in the Grand Masters Tournament 2023:  

Yangyi Yu (age 28; 2729 Elo): The 2013 World U20 Champion and China's No. 2 has never broken the glass ceiling that would take him all the way to the top, but he's never been far from it (2765 Elo in 2018). Currently, he is ranked 22nd in the world. With his accumulated experience, he will be a tough nut to crack, especially for the young, hungry and lurking wolves.    

Liem Quang Le (31 years; 2728 Elo): At last year's Triathlon, the 2013 Blitz World Champion made a triumphant comeback after being abstinent for more than two years due to the global health situation. Indeed, the Vietnamese won the competition, prevailing especially in the classic and rapid sections. Although he now devotes himself to chess coaching rather than competition, you can be sure that he will once again teach his opponents some masterclasses in ingenuity and game control!   

Erigaisi Arjun (19 years; 2701 Elo): After Nihal Sarin (2021) and Gukesh (2022), it is now the reigning Indian champion who will highlight the phenomenal pool of prodigies from the Eastern cradle of civilization in Biel. From February to October 2022, he rose from 2633 Elo points to 2728 in only a few months. He suffered a slight decline this winter but is expected to be on the rise again by July, and the Watch City could be a milestone on that path.   

Bogdan-Daniel Deac (21 years; 2700 Elo): Although the No. 1 spot in Romania was taken away from him by Richard Rapport's change of federation, the unassuming young man could use the opportunity to make a name for himself! After his development was slowed down by the restrictions related to the Covid affair, we hope he can give it new impetus this summer in Biel!   

Vincent Keymer (18 years; 2690 Elo): The tournament's relentless youngest, yet the No. 1 player in Germany, Keymer is returning to try to place himself in a top position that better reflects his immense talent after unsuccessful attempts over the past three years (2020: 4th; 2021: 6th; 2022: 8th). With a good performance, he could permanently establish himself among the players with an Elo rating above 2700.   

Bassem Amin (34 years old; 2688 Elo): Every year we are happy to host a tournament that not only pits different generations against each other, but also brings together players from all continents. This year, we're filling a gap by finally inviting a pro from Africa in the personable Egyptian, whose years of experience at this level will put the other players to the test. 

David Navara (37 years; 2685 Elo): The Czech gentleman is the newly crowned reigning European Blitz Champion and will be the veteran of the tournament. Still, he, who peaked at 2751 Elo in 2016, will pose a great challenge to the others. As an uncompromising player, he will not only make life difficult for the participants, but his presence will also guarantee that we will see exciting games that will be different from the usual paths. 

Jules Moussard (age 28; 2684 Elo): The current No. 3 from France seems to have used the forced break of the last two years to prepare himself to finally unleash the great talent that the experts have always said he has, but which has yet to really emerge. Since April 2022, he has accumulated 54 Elo points. We wish him to keep up this momentum and cause a surprise in July!  

As an appetizer to the Festival, the traditional simultaneous tournament will already take place on Friday evening, July 14. It will be held, how could it be otherwise, on the national holiday of the tricolor, by the Frenchman Jules Moussard. However, the official start of the Festival will take place the next day at 12 p.m. with the opening ceremony at the Congress House Biel. From 2 p.m. onwards, the Chess960 will begin, the final ranking of which will be used to determine the winner should two players be tied after the triathlon. The Swiss Championships in this version of chess, developed by the legendary Bobby Fischer, will be held at the same time. The classic tournaments will start on Monday (17 July 2023). There will be four open tournaments this year instead of two. We'll go into detail towards the end of the month when online registration opens.

In the meantime, here's an overview of the program:  

For more information:   

Tatjana Kraska Horvath, Secretary,, 032 589 68 68   

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