Record four-time winner of the GM Tournament at the International Biel / Bienne Chess Festival is Maxime Vachier-Lagrave who won in 2009, 2014 & 2015 outright
and 2013 after a four player play-off.
Thrice-winners at Biel are Alexander Morozevich who could win three times outright in 2003, 2004 & 2006, and Anatoly Karpov with two wins outright in 1990 & 1992 and one one win in 1996 on tie-break-rule over Vadim Milov.
Tony Miles (1977
& 1983), Viktor Korchnoi (1979 & 2001), and Magnus
Carlsen (2007 & 2011) won the GM invitation tournament twice.
Further winners at Biel Grandmaster Tournament are Viswanathan Anand, Wang Hao,
Fabiano Caruana, Jereon Piket, Mladen Palac, Ivan Sokolov, Evgeny Alekseev, Andrei Volokitin, Boris Gelfand, Peter
Svidler, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexej Shirov, Alexej Dreev, Ilya Smirin, Boris Gulko, Lev Polugaevsky, Vlastimil Hort, John
Nunn, Robert Hübner, Eric Lobron, as well as Yehuda Grünfeld, Florin Gheorghiu, Vadim Milov and USSR-Swiss-Lithuanian Viktor Gavrikov
(R.I.P.) who did win at Biel (in different years) both the open and the closed tournament as sole or at least shared first.
Spassky, Fischer, and Kasparov did never take part, with Spassky
and Kasparov being guest of honour in Biel.
Former undisputed World Chess Champions Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Kramnik, and Anand all took part in a Interzonal at Biel, the latter was also winner of
the Biel Chess Festival in 1997. FIDE World Champions Topalov and Khalifman played in an Interzonal, too, Ponomariov played in the GM tournament, Kasimdzhanov acted as a commentator at Biel.
won as clear first the famous Interzonal in 1976 with three ex world chess champions competing, Rafael Vaganian won outright the Interzonal in 1985. Apart from his victory in the GM tournament in 2005,
declared ex-aequo with Andrei Volokitin, Boris Gelfand claimed the Interzonal at Biel in 1993, now played in swiss system, as sole winner.
For the history
of the Interzonal tournaments in Biel, see section:
Interzonals - www.chessdiagonals.ch
For the Albo d' Oro, a complete list of the winners (GM Invitation and Masters Open), see section:
at Biel - www.chessdiagonals.ch
Since the year 2007, Biel follows in the elite event a strictly "One-winner-per-tournament-policy". If there are two ore more first equals, then a play-off in speed chess will
be played to decide the vanquisher.
That means, eg. Etienne Bacrot (in a four player play-off in 2013), Leinier Dominguez-Pérez 2008 (against Alekseev) or Alexander Onischuk 2007 (against Carlsen) - among others - missed the tournament
win after play-offs; and Vachier-Lagrave who secured one of his four wins at Biel after play-off, missed a further tournament win only after play-off (finally on third place in 2010). Losing a physical play-off, clearly means, that you have not won the
Even in the earlier years without a play-off, there was strictly speaking a tie-break rule used to decide who will be the formal winner of the invitation tournament - but in these cases when two players tied for first place
at Biel, both were regarded as shared winners by organizers and mass media. That's why some statistics may differ now, according a strict formal line, Florin Gheorghiu and Vadim Milov, missed
a win in the invitation tournament on tie-break rule; as well as Hort, Nunn, Lobron, Gulko, and Polugaevsky missed a second tournament win at Biel only because of lesser tie-break score.
However, in the tableau of "Past Winners" on the official tournament homepage, this differentiation is not made consequently (Hort, Nunn, Lobron, Gulko are listed in the corresponding year as co-winners of Biel, meanwhile Polugaevsky (sharing
first but seond on tie-break in 1989) and Milov (in 1996) seemed to be forgotten). Contrary, in the year-by-year booklets of "History" with full position table (pdf's on the same page in the rubric "Archives"), in these disputed cases, the winner
on tie-break rule is always listed as sole first (no first equal), with two explicit exceptions:
Twice in the history of Biel, there was a tie with even scores, and the organizers declared both players as equal winners: in 1984
Hort / Hübner and in 2005 Gelfand / Volokitin (alphabetically listed). As said, this no longer possible, because today there will be always a play-off with rapid and blitz games, and Armageddon is installed if still no decision.
Biel GM Invitation Tournament used from 2011 to 2013, the "Three-points-per-win-scoring-rule", as Bad Homburg already in 1998, Bilbao, London, Sofia and others did / do, but then returning to the classical point system in 2014 (win: 1, draw: 0.5, loss:
Since 1992, there are no adjourned games in the GM elite event. The Interzonal in 1993 still saw adjourned games, played always the same day in the late night.
Time control (2014) is 100'/40 moves + 50'/20 moves and 15' +
30'' increment from 1st move.
Draw offer are forbidden during the first 40th moves (in 2014). That's a good move :)
Great chess players also competing, but <not winning > at Biel GM Invitation Tournament:
Timman (winner of the Open in 1969 but only coming in 13th out of 14 in 1995), Portisch, Andersson, Panno, Torre, Adorjan, Kurajica, Wojtaszek, Navara, Ftacnik, Pachman, Unzicker, Christiansen, De Firmian, Tukmakov, Romanishin,
Beliavsky, Bareev, Ehlvest, Ponomariov, Radjabov, Grischuk, Lautier, Bacrot, Adams, Georgiev, Vallejo-Pons, Sasikiran, Ding Liren, Nakamura, So, or Giri. Note: Karjakin played
as youngster in the Open section.
Some heroes from Switzerland also played in the GM tournament: Partos (winner of the Open at Biel in 1978), Nemet (winner of the Open at Biel in 1982), W. Hug, Lombard,
Wirthensohn, Franzoni, Züger, Känel, Huss, Gobet, Forster, Brunner, Jenni, Ekström, Gallagher, or Pelletier (he was invited an overall record eleven time, never won, never runner-up).
of course the already mentioned Milov (won with Karpov in 1996 as well the Open twice), Gavrikov (won outright in 1994 ahaed of Vagnian as well the Open) and Korchnoi (clear first in 1979 and 2001).
Women participated regularly in the main elite Grandmaster Invitation Tournament at Biel as well, eg. Pia Cramling, Maia Chiburdanidze, Corina Peptan, Zsuzsa Polgar, Judit Polgar, or Hou Yifan in 2014, so
far no lady could win the elite event. Maybe this will change in near future..
Stop press: Hou
Yifan won the Grandmaster Tournament at Biel in 2017.