Bauer and Skripchenko are French Champions

by Albert Silver
8/21/2015 – It was an intense fight to the end, and neither the men’s nor women’s championships were decided before the very end. IM Almira Skripchenko made it a sixth title though was challenged hard by her rival Nino Maisuradze who came second. Christian Bauer defeated Tigran Gharamian in a thrilling tiebreak for his second title after a first 19 years ago!

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GM Adrien Demuth (left) was the man to beat in the Accession Open, a toournament that
qualifies a player into the finals the next year. He won with 9.0/11 a full point ahead of the field.

Not often does a podium illustrate quite so truly the state of an event. In first in the Veterans
event, IM Nicolas Giffard crushed the field with 10.5/11 with 1.5 points ahead of second place
finisher Henk Brongers, who scored 9.0/11, and third place Jean-Paul Ricter with 8.0/11

It was a fun and exciting event for all those who came to play in the various opens

Credit must be given to the organizers and arbiters who ensured a smooth competition

WGM Nino Maisuradze tried her utmost to make it three in a row after winning the title in 2013
and 2014. Unfortunately for her fans, she had to contend with five-time champion...

... Almira Skripchenko, the top seed, and who won their individual encounter.

Skripchenko - Maisuradze

In this position, White found a superb shot but failed to find the continuation.
Can you do better? White to play and win, but be warned: you will need to find
not one, not two, but three good shots in a row to claim you solved it.


[Event "ch-FRA w 2015"] [Site "Saint-Quentin FRA"] [Date "2015.08.17"] [Round "8"] [White "Skripchenko, A."] [Black "Maisuradze, N."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2435"] [BlackElo "2292"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1rb1r1k1/ppq2pbp/1nn3p1/2p1p1N1/P1N5/1QPP2P1/1P3PBP/R1B1R1K1 w - - 0 15"] [PlyCount "9"] [EventDate "2015.08.09"] 15. Nd6 Rf8 16. Ndxf7 $1 ({Unfortunately White missed this chance to win a miniature, but for the sake of her sanity did eventually come through after 51 moves.} 16. Nb5 Qd8 17. a5 Na8 18. Qd5 h6 19. Qxd8 Rxd8 20. Ne4 a6 21. Nbd6 f5 22. Nxc8 fxe4 23. Nb6 exd3 24. Nc4 b5 25. axb6 Nxb6 26. Nxb6 Rxb6 27. Be3 Nb8 28. b4 Bf8 29. bxc5 Rf6 30. Red1 Rf7 31. Be4 Rc7 32. Ra5 Kg7 33. Rxd3 Rxd3 34. Bxd3 Nd7 35. Rxa6 g5 36. c6 Nc5 37. Bxc5 Bxc5 38. Kg2 Kf6 39. Be4 Ke6 40. Ra8 Rf7 41. Re8+ Kd6 42. f3 g4 43. fxg4 Rf2+ 44. Kh3 Bb6 45. Rb8 Ba5 46. Rb5 Ra2 47. Rd5+ Ke6 48. c4 Bb6 49. Bf5+ Kf6 50. c5 Bc7 51. Rd6+ {(1-0)}) 16... Rxf7 17. a5 $1 {and suddenly the knight has nowhere to go.} Na8 (17... Nd7 18. Qxf7+ ) 18. Nxf7 {and the knight cannot be captured since} Qxf7 {loses the queen to} 19. Bd5 $1 {This is why 17.a5 was so deadly. It removed the knight from protecting the d5 square.} 1-0


IM Sophie Milliet, who came in clear third, comments her win in round eight. In French.

The men's competition started with a GM Jean-Marc Degraeve on fire, but he was unable to sustain the flame

In the end, it was a hard fight for first between GM Christian Bauer, who had previously won the French Championship in 1996, 19 years ago, and Armenian-born Tigran Gharamian, seeking his first title. After eleven rounds the two stood at 7.5/11, a half point ahead of top-seed Etienne Bacrot, and their fates were to be decided by a rapid tiebreak. After a draw in game one, the second game packed all the tension and drama of the previous eleven rounds:

[Event "90th ch-FRA TB 2015"] [Site "Saint-Quentin FRA"] [Date "2015.08.20"] [Round "2"] [White "Gharamian, Tigran"] [Black "Bauer, Christian"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C10"] [WhiteElo "2644"] [BlackElo "2618"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2015.08.20"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nc6 {Bauer has long been one of the more original theoreticians of opening theory, and also champions 1...b6 like no one else.} 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nb4 6. O-O {Other more popular options are 6.Bg5 and 6.e5} ({ Here is a game he played a couple of months before in the French top league:} 6. e5 Nd7 7. Bg5 Be7 8. h4 h6 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. a3 Nxd3+ 11. Qxd3 Nb6 12. a4 Bd7 13. a5 Nc8 14. Rh3 a6 15. Rg3 Qf8 16. Nd2 Ne7 17. h5 Nf5 18. Rh3 c5 19. dxc5 Qxc5 20. Nb3 Qb4 21. Kf1 Rc8 22. Kg1 O-O 23. Rd1 Rc4 24. Rf3 Bc6 25. Rh3 Rc8 26. Rd2 Rg4 27. f3 Rh4 28. Rxh4 Qxh4 29. g4 d4 30. gxf5 dxc3 31. bxc3 Qg3+ 32. Rg2 Qe1+ 33. Qf1 Qxe5 34. fxe6 Qxe6 35. Qf2 Qf6 36. Nd4 Bd7 37. Qd2 Re8 38. Qf2 Re5 39. Qg3 Rxa5 40. Qb8+ Kh7 41. Qxb7 Qh4 42. Qe4+ Qxe4 43. fxe4 Rxh5 44. Kf2 Rh3 45. Rg3 Rxg3 46. Kxg3 a5 {0-1 (46) Edouard,R (2627)-Bauer,C (2624) Montpellier 2015}) 6... Be7 7. Re1 O-O 8. a3 $6 {This move just doesn't seem right. Not only does it waste a tempo to force Black to take the bishop, but that bishop is a valuable piece for White.} ({Why not} 8. Bf1 {instead? If Black does insist with a followup such as} b6 {with the idea of Ba6 Bxa6 Nxa6 and ...Qc8 ...c5, then White can throw in} 9. a3 {to spoil the party.}) 8... Nxd3 9. cxd3 b6 $1 {Black's light-squared bishop is clearly going to be more than a spectator now.} 10. e5 Nd7 11. Ne2 c5 $1 {Black's chances are already to be preferred here thanks to the clear plan of action on the queenside, plus the two bishops.} 12. Nf4 a5 13. Be3 Ba6 14. g3 Re8 {White has delcared his intentions clearly, and Black gets ready to make sure he has room on f8 for one of his minor pieces. The only problem, however samll, is that the rook isn't really adding anything to Black's position from e8.} ({Therefore it was probably better to instead play} 14... Qc7 {and then Rfc8.}) 15. h4 Rc8 16. Nh2 Nf8 17. Qg4 Ng6 18. Nxg6 hxg6 19. Rad1 c4 $6 {Black has been slowly outplayed by White, and this last move puts his entire position in jeopardy.} 20. h5 $1 { It is a razor's edge he walks after this shot.} gxh5 $2 {It is hard to believe this seemingly obvious move is a blunder, but it is.} ({The engine's completely incomprehensible line goes:} 20... c3 21. bxc3 Rxc3 22. hxg6 Rf8 23. gxf7+ Kxf7 {... but good luck trying to find that over the board.}) 21. Qxh5 { Black's woes are not hard to see. His pieces are unable to coordinate on the kingside, and White's threats on the g-pawn and h-file with Kg2 and Rh1 are on the horizon.} f5 22. Nf3 Rf8 23. Qg6 Qe8 {Black needs to challenge the queen immediately or go down in flames on the spot.} (23... Rc6 {for example, falls to} 24. Bh6 Rf7 25. Kg2 $1 {followed by Rh1.}) 24. Qxe6+ Qf7 {In a normal game Black might already have resigned here, but this is not a normal game. This is a rapid game, and on the line is the title for the French Championship. It will be fought to the last breath.} 25. Qxb6 Ra8 26. Bf4 Rfb8 27. Qxa5 Qe6 {By now, both players were down to less than five minutes on their clocks, with Gharamian working with less than three. As a result, imprecisions and errors begin to kreep in, and the game now heads to a dramatic finish.} 28. dxc4 Bxc4 29. Qd2 Rb3 30. Re3 Rab8 31. Rxb3 Rxb3 32. Ng5 Qb6 33. Qc2 Bxg5 34. Bxg5 Qg6 35. Qd2 $2 {The moment Bauer had been hoping for and playing for!} Rd3 $1 36. Qc1 Rxd1+ 37. Qxd1 Qxg5 {The game is not decided yet thanks to White's numerous extra pawns, but it is obvious that Black is the one in the driver's seat. His bishop and queen make White's defense a difficult one.} 38. b3 Ba6 39. Qc2 $2 Qg4 $1 {Securing entry for the bishop, now it gets ugly very fast.} 40. Qc6 Bd3 41. Qc8+ Kh7 42. Qc1 Be4 43. Kf1 Qf3 44. Ke1 Qxb3 45. Qg5 Qc3+ 46. Kf1 Qd3+ 47. Ke1 Bf3 0-1

The trophies for the winners of the seven main events

A deserved winner, Christian Bauer celebrates his second victory in 19 years.
In second, and certainly playing no worse, was Tigran Gharamian, and in third
was Etienne Bacrot.

The winners of the Open and Women's competitions

The authorities and winners

Open standings

Women's standings

Photos by FFE


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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Bertman Bertman 8/23/2015 07:00
@Oldy Sorry, not sure how that happened. It has been fixed.
Vieito Vieito 8/23/2015 02:23
Is the third victory of Christian Bauer. 1996, 2015 and 2012, when her son died before last round and all players decided not playing this round. Neither the tiebreaks, and four players were declared winners, Bacrot, Edouard, Vachier-Lagrave and Bauer.
Oldy Oldy 8/22/2015 11:08
You put the wrong game as the solution. Please change it with the intended game. By the way the solution move is 1.Nd6 fllowed by Qxf7. Dont know the third blow:)
Emil Cabagay Emil Cabagay 8/22/2015 10:47
Congratulations to Christian & Almira - current French Champions and so with the veterans & categories champions! A complete chess festival that organizers could be proud of.