One round to go, Top-12 already clinched

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/9/2015 – It was a close call in round nine, but they left no doubts in round ten. Bischwiller continues with a perfect score and has secured first place in France's top-12. Clichy can catch them on points still, but the tiebreaks are insufficient and so it is all over. It also seems unlikely that Clichy does not get second, but Bois-Colombes is still knocking on their door.

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The Top-12, the nickname for the finals of the French Club Championship Finals, is one of the strongest league tournaments in the World. Only the German Bundesliga and the Russian Team Championship can boast of having a stronger league than France, and the tournament is reaching its climax.

The Top-12 is nicknamed such because it is the last portion of a large process. From October until April thousands of players compete in different leagues all over France, with teams varying in size and compositions. The winners of the different regional events qualify for the Top-12.

Round Nine

The match of the day was definitely between Bois-Colombes and Bischwiller. The two first wins of the match were from Le Roux and Giri for Bischwiller. Bauer beat Edouard to bring down the lead, but then Marcelin and Ragger scored to seal Bois-Colombe's fate. The final score was 4 - 1 for Bischwiller.

Giri coming in strong

Bacrot was held to a draw, but that was ok

Another important match was that between Clichy and Grasse, with the top rated team still trying to pressure Bischwiller at the top of the standings. They comfortably won 5-1.

Philidor Mulhouse beat Chalons-en-Champange 4-1. The following victory by Krasenkow was not decisive, but very nice:

[Event "TCh-FRA Top 12 2015"] [Site "Montpellier FRA"] [Date "2015.06.07"] [Round "9.1"] [White "Navara, David"] [Black "Krasenkow, Michal"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2751"] [BlackElo "2610"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "86"] [EventDate "2015.05.30"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] [WhiteTeam "MULHOUSE PHILIDOR"] [BlackTeam "L'ECHIQUIER CHALONNAIS"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qf6 5. Nf3 $5 {Far from common, but perfectly playable!} Bb4+ $5 {Continuing the strange moves... though it had been seen in the recent game between Tari and Salgado in February.} 6. Nbd2 d6 7. Be2 Bg4 8. O-O O-O-O $5 {The start of a sharp battle. The objective evaluation of this is of no importance.} 9. c3 Bc5 10. b4 $5 {Picking up the guantlet, though...} (10. Rb1 $1 {The extra tempo is not exactly lost, and White is now ready for b4.}) 10... Bxb4 11. Qa4 (11. cxb4 $5 Qxa1 12. b5 Ne5 13. Qc2 {gives White some compensation, but it's hard to evaluate and he is down a lot of material.}) 11... Bc5 12. e5 $1 {A brilliant continuation. White sacrifices more material to clear the e4 square.} Nxe5 13. Ne4 Qf5 $1 {Keeping the pressure on f3.} 14. Nxc5 dxc5 15. Qxa7 Nxf3+ 16. gxf3 Bxf3 17. Bxf3 Qxf3 { Blow after blow! White has penetrated the queenside, but so has Black on the kingside!} 18. Bf4 $1 {Allowing the rook to come to d1 later.} Qxf4 19. Qa8+ Kd7 20. Rfd1+ Kc6 21. Qxd8 Qg4+ 22. Kf1 Qc4+ 23. Qd3 $2 {Only this is too ambitious. Navara over-estimates his chances in the endgame.} Qxd3+ 24. Rxd3 Ne7 {The material balance is an exchange for two pawns; but I would take Black any day. The problem is that White's rooks will not have any good targets.} 25. Rf3 $6 (25. Rad1 $1 {It is common that when you are up an exchange, you should eliminate your opponent's remaining rook. The idea is to go Rd8 next move.}) 25... Rf8 26. Re1 Nc8 $1 27. Re4 Nd6 $1 {This knight becomes a monster on d6, completely holding together Krasenkows' position.} 28. Rh4 Rh8 29. Rfh3 h6 30. a4 Nf5 31. Re4 g6 32. Ke2 Ra8 33. Rf4 {White's rooks simply have no targets. Any sacrifice for the knight will leave Krasenkow at least up a pawn.} h5 34. Rd3 (34. Rxf5 gxf5 35. Rxh5 Rxa4 36. Rxf5 {seems desperate, but perhaps it was time for that kind of measures.}) 34... Nd6 35. Re3 c4 36. Re7 Rxa4 37. Rf6 Ra2+ 38. Kd1 Kd5 39. f4 $6 (39. Rxc7 Ke5 40. Rf3 f5 {looks bad, but White didn't have a choice.}) 39... Rxh2 40. Rxc7 Nb5 $1 41. Rxb7 Nxc3+ 42. Kc1 Ne2+ 43. Kd2 Nd4+ {With the remaneuvering of the knight complete, the king falls under heavy pressure and the rooks are powerless to defend it. A great game from both sides.} 0-1

A big victory for America's #2, Wesley So (white)

Round Ten

All eyes were on Bischwiller, to see if they could finish off the job. And they did so... though narrowly! Giri took care of Nataf, but Strasbourg fought back and Sebag beat Naidtisch (!). It was up for Edouard to come through again for his team. His victory against Vaisser sealed the deal and Bischwiller becomes the French top-12 Champion with a round to spare (thanks to tiebreaks).

A rough event for Naiditsch, who has lost four games so far

Andrei Sokolov, a living legend

In the battle for third place Bois-Colombes struck an important victory against Chalons-En-Champagne. It was a relatively even match, with Krasenkow beating Duda for Chalons, but at the end the rating difference on the bottom boards was too much and Bois-Colombes won. With this win the team of Bois-Colombes is at least third but if things go their way they might still catch Clichy and win silver.

The ever-studious David Navara

MVL and Wesley So

Standings After Round Ten

Rk. Team Pts
1 Bischwiller 24
2 Clichy 22
3 Bois-Colombes 21
4 Strasbourg 18
5 Evry Grand Roque 18
6 Chalons-En-Champagne 17
7 Mulhouse Philidor 16
8 Montpellier 14
9 Vandoeuvre 13
10 Metz Fischer 11
11 Grasse 10
12 Poitiers-Migne 8

Note: Teams receive 3 points for winning, 2 for drawing and 1 for losing a match.

Replay Games

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Photos from the official website

Schedule

Round One
Vandoeuvre 3 - 1 Grasse
Bischwiller 6 - 1 Metz Fischer
Chalons-En-Champagne 4 - 3 Montpellier
Poitiers-Migne 2 - 4 Strasbourg
Clichy 3 - 0 Bois-Colombes
Evry Grand Roque 4 - 2 Mulhouse Philidor
Round Two
Grasse 0 - 4 Mulhouse Philidor
Bois-Colombes 5 - 0 Evry Grand Roque
Strasbourg 2 - 3 Clichy
Montpellier 3 - 2 Poitiers-Migne
Metz Fischer 1 - 2 Chalons-En-Champagne
Vandoeuvre 2 - 4 Bischwiller
Round Three
Bischwiller 4 - 1 Grasse
Chalons-En-Champagne 2 - 2 Vandoeuvre
Poitiers-Migne 1 - 3 Metz Fischer
Clichy 5 - 0 Montpellier
Evry Grand Roque 1 - 2 Strasbourg
Mulhouse Philidor 3 - 3 Bois-Colombes
Round Four
Grasse 0 - 4 Bois-Colombes
Strasbourg 1 - 1 Mulhouse Philidor
Montpellier 2 - 3 Evry Grand Roque
Metz Fischer 0 - 5 Clichy
Vandoeuvre 4 - 0 Poitiers-Migne
Bischwiller 3 - 2 Chalons-En-Champagne
Round Five
Chalons-En-Champagne 2 - 0 Grasse
Poitiers-Migne 0 - 6 Bischwiller
Clichy 4 - 1 Vandoeuvre
Evry Grand Roque 2 - 1 Metz Fischer
Mulhouse Philidor 2 - 3 Montpellier
Bois-Colombes 3 - 1 Strasbourg
Round Six
Grasse 0 - 1 Strasbourg
Montpellier 1 - 4 Bois-Colombes
Metz Fischer 2 - 3 Mulhouse Philidor
Vandoeuvre 2 - 3 Evry Grand Roque
Bischwiller 2 - 1 Clichy
Chalons-En-Champagne 5 - 1 Poitiers-Migne
Round Seven
Poitiers-Migne 0 - 4 Grasse
Clichy 3 - 2 Chalons-En-Champagne
Evry Grand Roque 0 - 5 Bischwiller
Mulhouse Philidor 3 - 0 Vandoeuvre
Bois-Colombes 3 - 1 Metz Fischer
Strasbourg 2 - 1 Montpellier
Round Eight
Grasse 2 - 3 Montpellier
Metz Fischer 1 - 1 Strasbourg
Vandoeuvre 0 - 4 Bois-Colombes
Bischwiller 2 - 1 Mulhouse Philidor
Chalons-En-Champagne 2 - 3 Evry Grand Roque
Poitiers-Migne 0 - 8 Clichy
Round Nine
Clichy 5 - 1 Grasse
Evry Grand Roque 6 - 0 Poitiers-Migne
Mulhouse Philidor 4 - 1 Chalons-En-Champagne
Bois-Colombes 1 - 4 Bischwiller
Strasbourg 3 - 1 Vandoeuvre
Montpellier 3 - 2 Metz Fischer
Round Ten
Grasse 3 - 2 Metz Fischer
Vandoeuvre 1 - 4 Montpellier
Bischwiller 2 - 1 Strasbourg
Chalons-En-Champagne 1 - 3 Bois-Colombes
Poitiers-Migne 1 - 6 Mulhouse Philidor
Clichy 4 - 1 Evry Grand Roque
Round Eleven
Evry Grand Roque   -   Grasse
Mulhouse Philidor   -   Clichy
Bois-Colombes   -   Poitiers-Migne
Strasbourg   -   Chalons-En-Champagne
Montpellier   -   Bischwiller
Metz Fischer   -   Vandoeuvre

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics France, League

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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soissons soissons 6/9/2015 10:53
I believe now So is America's No. 3!
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