Top-12 finishes with few surprises

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/10/2015 – The Top-12 has come to an end. The last round only ratified the dominance of the top teams. The only close match at the top was between Clichy and Mulhouse Philidor: the top rated team in the tournament found itself losing fourth and fifth board, but they took sixth, seventh and eigth to win. Final report, highlighting the best players and an unusual GM norm.

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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.

Final Round

The top-12 finished today with some expected results. First Bischwiller, which had already clinched their championship, beat Montpellier 3-0 with victories by Bacrot, Ragger and Le Roux. Clichy had some problems against Mulhouse Phillidor. With draws on the top boards the match was really settled in the lower four. Lagarde and Van Wely (Clichy) lost to Degraeve and Riff, respectively, but Clichy came back with wins on the last three boards! Tregubov, Delorme and Skripchenko (who had a fantastic tournament) turned around the score and Clichy won 3-2.

Bois-Colombes had no problems at all against Poitiers, a very clean 6-0 win. Both Metz Fischer and Grasse were trying to escape the red zone. Both teams drew their matches. Grasse split the point with Evry which featured the following pretty game on the top board:

[Event "TCh-FRA Top 12 2015"] [Site "Montpellier FRA"] [Date "2015.06.09"] [Round "11.1"] [White "Fedorchuk, Sergey A"] [Black "Dorfman, Iossif"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2657"] [BlackElo "2574"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2rqr1k1/pp3ppp/4b1n1/3pP3/3P1R2/3B1NQ1/PP4PP/R5K1 w - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "33"] [EventDate "2015.05.30"] [WhiteTeam "EVRY GRAND ROQUE"] [BlackTeam "GRASSE ECHECS"] {Not an easy position. White has some pressure on the kingside, but things are not clear. For now his rook seems to be trapped.} 24. Ng5 $1 {Sacrificing the exchange to expose Black's king.} (24. Bxg6 fxg6 $1 {would give Black a perfectly fine position. His structure on the kingside defends itself quite well. The blockade on e6 holds nicely. With the control on the c-file Black might even have an edge.}) 24... Nxf4 25. Bxh7+ Kf8 26. Qxf4 Ke7 $1 {The king starts running to the queenside.} 27. Rf1 Qb6 $6 (27... Rf8 28. Bf5 $1 {is also dangerous.}) (27... Kd7 28. Nxf7 Qe7 $1 {is unclear. The fork doesn't work due to Rf8.}) 28. Nxe6 $1 {The start of a long, forced, and winning king chase!} fxe6 29. Qg5+ Kd7 30. Rf7+ Kc6 31. Qc1+ $1 {A key move.} Kb5 32. Bd3+ Ka5 33. Qd2+ $1 Qb4 34. Qxb4+ Kxb4 {The queens were traded, but that is not the end of the danger for Black's king.} 35. Rxb7+ Ka5 36. b4+ Ka4 37. Bb5+ Ka3 38. Bxe8 Rxe8 39. Rxa7+ Kxb4 40. Rxg7 {The dust has settled and Black is down three pawns. No choice but to resign.} 1-0

The top players per board were:

Board Name Elo FED Pts Rds Perf %
1 Anish Giri 2776 F NED 8 10 2828 80,00
2 DUDA Jan-Krzysztof 2610 F POL 7.5 10 2782 75,00
3 MISTA Aleksander 2556 F POL 6.5 8 2803 81.25
4 Markus Ragger 2668 F AUT 7 8 2816 87.50
5 Manuel APICELLA 2510 F FRA 7.5 11 2605 68.18
6 TREGUBOV Pavel V. 2571 F RUS 7.5 9 2695 83.33
7 Luc BERGEZ 2327 F FRA 7.5 11 2446 68.18
8 Almira Skripchenko 2421 F FRA 9 10 2551 90,00

Of special notice is the player Paul Velten. He made a grandmaster norm! But that is not what makes it so special: he played nine games with Black! Perhaps cruel from his team, perhaps he wanted it as a lucky series once he was doing so well with the black pieces, but he did play all nine games of his grandmaster norm with black.

Matlakov-Wojtaszek ended in a draw (the match ended 3-2 for Clichy)

Some teams came in uniform for the last round

The dust was settled before the last round, but people still had games to fight

Wesley So drops a few rating points, but retains his 10th position in the World

Metz Fischer and Vandouvre finished with a 3-3 tie

Final Standings

Pl. Equipe Pts
1 Bischwiller 33
2 Clichy 31
3 Bois-Colombes 28
4 Strasbourg 25
5 Evry Grand Roque 24
6 Mulhouse Philidor 23
7 Montpellier 21
8 Chalons-En-Champagne 20
9 Vandoeuvre 17
10 Grasse 16
11 Metz Fischer 15
12 Poitiers-Migne 11

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

Replay Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

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 1 - 1 Grasse
Mulhouse Philidor 2 - 3 Clichy
Bois-Colombes 6 - 0 Poitiers-Migne
Strasbourg 2 - 0 Chalons-En-Champagne
Montpellier 0 - 3 Bischwiller
Metz Fischer 3 - 3 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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