A real chess festival: the 91st French Championship in Agen

by Pascal Simon
8/27/2016 – Some countries wonder how to make their national championships attractive. Maybe they should emulate the French chessplayers who crown their national champions in a real chess festival. This year it took place in the town of Agen and attracted a huge number of players who competed in various tournaments. In the strongest group, the National, the new French Champions were established. Matthieu Cornette and Sophie Milliet won the titles.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Cliquez ici pour la version francaise

French Championship

The highlight of the chess year in France are the championships, a big event that attracts hundreds of players of all levels. It is rare that a federation manages to attract such a large variety of players for a various tournaments that take place parallel to the round-robins in which the strongest male and female players from France play for the title of National Champion.

No less than 889 players came to the city of Agen to take part in the 91st French Championships. What follows is a brief overview of the tournaments and activities of this chess festival.

National

The best French players establish the national champion in a round-robin tournament. Due to the absence of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (who played in the Sinquefield Cup) and Etienne Bacrot (who prepared the national team of Azerbaidjan for the Olympiad) suddenly a lot of players had more or less realistic hopes to become French Champion 2016. Obvious favorites were the six players who started with an Elo-rating of more than 2600 but they all failed to find their stride. In the end it was Matthieu Cornette who won the Championship with 6.0/9. But the biggest surprise of the tournament was perhaps the third place of Jean-Francois Jolly, who started with an Elo of 2361 as the lowest rated player in the field. In 2015 Jolly came second in the Accession Tournament and qualified for this year's National, in which he till the very end had chances to win the title.

To play in the National one has to finish among the first six of the National in the year before or finish first or second in the Accession Tournament of the year before or do have an Elo-average (in at least three rated tournaments) that is better than the Elo-average of other players who are not yet qualified.

Yannick Gozzoli (2nd), Matthieu Cornette (1st), Jean-Francois Jolly (3rd)

 

  Name Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts SB
1 g Matthieu CORNETTE 2581   ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 6 24¼
2 g Yannick GOZZOLI 2573 ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 23¾
3 m Jean-Francois JOLLY 2361 1 ½   0 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 23¼
4 g Laurent FRESSINET 2677 ½ ½ 1   ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 5 22¾
5 g Romain EDOUARD 2647 0 ½ 1 ½   ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 20¼
6 g Christian BAUER 2620 0 ½ 0 ½ ½   0 1 1 1 17½
7 g Tigran GHARAMIAN 2637 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 1   ½ ½ ½ 4 17¾
8 g Sebastien MAZE 2627 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½   ½ 1 4 16¾
9 g Adrien DEMUTH 2545 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½   ½ 15
10 g Sebastien FELLER 2602 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½   11¼

National (Women)

The result of the French Women's Championship was no surpirise as two of the highest rated players made it to the podium. Sophie Milliet (four times French champion) and Almira Skripchenko (six times French Champion) were joined by Natacha Benmesbah. They all finished with 6.5/9. After an intense blitz-playoff (3min+2s) Sophie Milliet won ahead of Almira Skripchenko and Natacha Benmesbah.

Natasha Benmesbah (2nd), Sophie Milliet (1st), Almira Skripchenko (3rd)

 

 

  Name Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts SB
1 m Sophie MILLIET 2354   1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 27½
2 mf Natacha BENMESBAH 2244 0   1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 0 27¼
3 m Almira SKRIPCHENKO 2452 ½ 0   ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 24¼
4 m Silvia COLLAS 2296 ½ ½ ½   ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 22½
5 gf Nino MAISURADZE 2297 ½ 0 0 ½   ½ 1 0 1 1 16
6 mf Andreea BOLLENGIER 2233 0 0 0 ½ ½   1 1 ½ ½ 4 14¼
7 gf Anda SAFRANSKA 2226 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0   1 ½ 1 12¾
8 mf Andreea-Cristiana NAVROTESCU 2297 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 0   1 1 12¼
9 ff Cyrielle MONPEURT 2136 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0   1
10 ff Julie FISCHER 2071 ½ 1 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0   2 11¾

Accession

The players who finish first and second in the Accession tournament (open for players with an Elo of at least 2200 or for players who win their league) qualify for the National. After nine rounds GM Jean-Luc Chabanon, 8.0/9, and Maxime Lagarde, 7.0/9 were the first two who qualified for the National 2017. GM Jean-Marc Degraeve took third place and narrowly missed the qualification.

Maxime Lagarde (2nd), Jean-Luc Chabanon (1st), Jean-Marc Degraeve (3rd)

 

 

Pl   Name Elo Pts Tr. Perf
1 g CHABANON Jean-Luc 2458 8 41½ 2747
2 g LAGARDE Maxime 2572 7 43 2625
3 g DEGRAEVE Jean-Marc 2586 43 2564
4 f DUBOUE Peio 2397 40 2534
5 m LOISEAU Quentin 2434 6 39 2478
6 m COLLAS Didier 2388 6 37½ 2442
7 f ROULER Charly 2333 6 37 2480
8 m HOUSIEAUX David 2431 6 34½ 2405
9 f PHILIPPE Guillaume 2335 39 2379
10 g LE ROUX Jean-Pierre 2564 38½ 2417
11 f FAVAREL Antoine 2376 38½ 2400
12 f VEYS Vincent 2352 38 2404
13 m VELTEN Paul 2485 37½ 2404
14 m COTONNEC Melkior 2295 35½ 2404
15   MULLER Anthony 2241 35½ 2357
16 f VALUET Bertrand 2274 35 2376
17 f DESLANDES Pascal 2302 34 2402
18   SAMOUN Florent 2242 31 2361

... 63 players. For complete standings click here

Véterans

The veteran tournament attracted 84 players who are 60 or older. Amateurs and strong players like Nicolas Giffard fought for the crown. In the end Jean-Pierre Boudre won (8.0/9), Nicolas Giffard finished on 2nd place (7.0/9) and Roland Weill finished 3rd (7.0/9). The crucial moment came in round five when Boudre won against Giffard. This game won the brilliancy prize of the round. 

Nicolas Giffard (2nd), Jean-Pierre Boudre (1st), Roland Weill (3rd)

 

 

Pl   Nom Elo Pts Tr. Perf
1 m BOUDRE Jean-Pierre 2276 8 42½ 2414
2 m GIFFARD Nicolas 2310 7 45 2275
3 f WEILL Roland 2139 7 45 2209
4   RICTER Jean-Paul 2092 7 40 2149
5 f GOLDENBERG Richard 2228 44 2168
6   PASCOT Jean 1822 39½ 2096
7   DARRIGUES Alain 1838 35½ 1962
8 f LETZELTER Jean-Claude 2098 6 46 2145
9   FABER Michel 2077 6 44 2027
10   ANDRIEU Philippe 1848 6 41 2015
11   BRONGERS Henk 2059 6 39½ 2035
12   DECROIX Paloan 1983 6 39½ 2005
13   BIAUX Alain 1921 6 38½ 1925
14   FERRIGNO Jean-Pierre 1960 6 36 1827
15   PEYRIN Jean 1786 6 35½ 1966

... 84 players. For the complete standings click here

Open A-D

There were four other tournaments, divided by rating.

OPEN A : For players with an Elo-rating between 1950 and 2200

The winner was Arnaud HELSTROFFER (Elo 2064) who scored 7.5/9

Pl   Name Elo Pts Tr. Perf
1   HELSTROFFER Arnaud 2064 43½ 2368
2   BLUM Nicolas 2184 43½ 2349
3   VIEL Simon 1992 7 44 2325
4   BANDET Raphael 2152 7 43 2308
5   DE LUSSAC Rainier 2099 45½ 2276
6   MALASSAGNE Raphael 2129 45 2240
7   FERYN Benjamin 2091 40½ 2236
8   ROSELLE Tristan 2096 39½ 2238
9   VEDOVOTTO Nicolas 2091 38 2247

... 121 players: For the complete standings click here

 

Open B : For players with an Elo-rating between 1750 and 2000

The winner was Simeon Pottier (Elo 1916) who scored 7.5/9

Pl   Name Elo Pts Tr. Perf
1   POTTIER Simeon 1916 43 2161
2   CHAPON Jean-Alexis 1940 41½ 2158
3   VIERS Matthieu 1915 37½ 2152
4   ABDELMOUMEN Oussama 1852 7 41 2116
5   AUBERT Laurane 1945 7 37½ 2102
6   BASSINI Emile 1841 7 36 2120
7   DEGRAEVE Remy 1858 45 2069
8   PARTINICO Jeremy 1945 40½ 2042
9   LERICHE Ines 1895 38½ 2027
10   JACQUOT Adrien 1929 37½ 2036
11   MAZAURIC Julien 1797 36½ 2058
12   ROLLOT Florence 1807 36 2068
13   GOULESQUE Camille 1889 36 2019
14   VERWEE Johann 1834 35½ 2052

... 141 players. For the complete standings click here

 

Open C : For players with an Elo-rating between 1500 and 1800

The winner was Kevin Lebon (Elo 1792) who scored 7.5/9

Pl   Nom Elo Pts Tr. Perf
1   LEBON Kevin 1792 46 1970
2   KANTZER Romain 1702 44 1935
3   GAUTIER Nathan 1725 41½ 1963
4   RANC Florian 1699 7 44 1865
5   DENIS Vincent 1634 7 43 1941
6   GUAZZELLI Jean-Baptiste 1730 7 42½ 1898
7   BOYER Mahel 1706 7 42 1848
8   BOULADE Olivier 1748 7 41 1887
9   LAMBERT Thierry 1735 7 40 1871
10   FRETEL Liza 1741 7 37½ 1854
11   GROSSMANN Brunelle 1749 7 36½ 1886

... 209 players. For the complete standings click here

 

Open D :For players with an Elo-rating below 1500 and for unrated players

The winner was Antonin Bobard (Elo 1415) who scored 8.5/9

Pl   Name Elo Pts Tr. Perf
1   BOBARD Antonin 1415 44½ 1833
2   NEZOSI Christophe 1405 8 41½ 1673
3   PENLOUP-LEBOULANGER Marvin 1399 44½ 1607
4   DEVAUX Juliette 1430 42 1659
5   MASALLES Coralie 1472 7 45½ 1600
6   BAHEU Manon 1314 7 44 1649
7   DUBOIS Axel 1323 7 43½ 1565
8   UDINO Aubin 1334 7 43 1611
9   SCHWINDLING Marie 1475 7 42½ 1586
10   LAPEYRE Maeva 1417 7 42 1562
11   AUROUX William 1441 7 41½ 1556
12   TOURNEUR Cloe 1490 7 41 1537
13   ALCINDOR Samuel 1245 7 39½ 1607
14   MERLET Francois 1491 7 39 1590
15   FORNES Marie 1437 7 37½ 1575

... 246 players. For the complete standings click here

 

Commentary

Every round was commentated live on Youtube by GM Manuel Apicella and Stéphane Laborde. Stéphane Laborde also invited the players after the game to record an analysis of their game. Here's the YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLblBYAG9k8WF-ME-R_l6P1O5d-W9ucQRz

Christian Bauer and Sebastien Mazé shared a game with analyses (in French):

Simultaneous exhibitions and the Night of Chess

The French Championships would not be complete with the Night of Chess, a regular feature of the Championships. This year four players gratefully accepted the invitation and each of them played 24 games in the afternoon. Sophie Milliet, Tigran Gharamian, Laurent Fressinet and Adrien Demuth made amateur dreams come true. The atmosphere was great, the players signed autographs and posed for selfies.

Sophie Milliet, French women's champion 2016, playing a simultan in the center of Agen

Blitz

Every evening the chess club of Agen organised a blitz tournament after the round that attracted a lot of players. Here are some impressions:

Thibault Fantinel (right), 2429 ELO, was one of the many strong players who played in the blitz tournament.

 

Seminars

In the mornings a variety of seminars were offered. One of them was the "!ChessBase seminar" which attracted over 50 people. Pascal Simon gave an insight into the world of ChessBase and explained how to use the program to prepare for an opponent and how to use the ChessBase tools to analyse your games.



Multimedia specialist: Videos, photos and social media coverage amongst others are the fields Pascal works for.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

obispooon obispooon 8/27/2016 10:38
It seems that Feller is unable to win a game without cheating.
flachspieler flachspieler 8/27/2016 08:58
The final table seems to indicate that Sebastien Feller did not use computer help this time. A good step forward, in my eyes!
1