1233 players at French Youth Championships

by ChessBase
5/4/2014 – It has to be seen to be believed: well over a thousand players, divided into 14 groups, 4000 in total with parents, friends and trainers – this is competition for chess Olympiads! The Youth Championships of France took place in Montbéliard, the eastern part of France, in a giant sport and concert stadium. It was dedicated to the late and great organiser Jean-Paul Touzé. Giant pictorial.

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1233 players at the 2014 French Youth Championships!

Pictorial report by IM Christophe Philippe

Each year, the National individual French championship for youth is the biggest chess competition in France, with more than 1200 young players from six to 20 years old, and over 4000 people in total – players, parents, families and trainers – gathered together on one intense full week.

This year the championship, organized in the town of Montbéliard (east of France), was special. Not only because the historical record of participation was broken, with 1233 players. Also not because the championship was played in a giant sport and concert stadium totally fitting the size of this super event. It was mainly because his organizer, Jean-Paul Touzé, passed away five monthes ago, just before seing his final achievement.

The 2014 Championship was dedicated to the memory of Jean-Paul Touzé

The President of the Belfort Chess Club (the city next to Montbéliard) was famous in France for being a very strong personality and organizer of numerous big events, including the fantastic GMA World Cup 1988 with Kasparov, Karpov, Hubner, Sokolov, Spassky, Short, etc.

So the new president of the club, Christophe Infanti, had the heavy task to succeed Jean-Paul and to deal with the pharaonic ideas of the giant! In the end, helped by the French Chess Federation (FFE) and his main sponsor, the Bank BNP Paribas, the event was a big success, and the highlights of the week will stay in all memories, like the triumphant entrance of the 12th world chess champion Anatoly Karpov (old good friend of Jean-Paul) in the playing hall, with the ovation of 1200 kids.

Here is the video, beginning with a speech about the carreer of the world champion
at the beginning, and then the entrance of Karpov at 3:00 min. into the video

Legendary twelfth World Champion Anatoly Karpov at the start of the Championship

1233 players in one giant hall...

... and plenty of spectators watching

Up close: really, have you ever seen anything like this...

... or this? We simply can't get over it.

The round under way, with players from the older groups

A top board Girls U20 game, with winner Cyrielle Monpeurt on the left

The "chicks" (Boys Under 10) in action – the U-10 girls are calle Poussines

Chickadees? The "Petite Poussine" Girls U-8 group, with Nani Gagoua, left, who won all nine games

Fourteen new French Chess Champions

Here are the medallists of some of the groups:

Pierre Barbot, Christophe Sochacki and Borya Ider took Silver, Gold and Bronze in
the Junior section (boys under 20). Full results are available here.

Girls Under 20: Solenn Afraoui, Cyrielle Monpeurt and Phanie Colin [full results]

Boys U-18: Karl Messinger, Guillaume Lamard and Louis Salles [full results]

Girls U-18: Julie Fischer, Andreea-Cristiana Navrotescu, Elise Bellaiche [full results]

Boys U-16: Adrien Rodriguez, Bilel Bellahcene (who achieved a
perfect 9.0/9 points), Clement Meunier [full results]

Girls U16: Cecile Haussernot, Honorine Auvray, Alison le Bihan [full results]

And at the bottom of the age groups: Boys U-8: Djeyhun Mammadhuseyn,
Rajat Makkar (who scored 8.0/9 points), Timothe Razafindratsima [full results]

Girls U-8: Salome Chachiachvili, Nani Gagoua (who also scored a perfect 9.0/9 points),
Sila Celine Kocausta [full results]

Playing and analysing in the lobby outside the tournament hall...

... and even outside in the courtyard

A simulaneous exhibition given by GM Andrei Istratescu (rated 2667)

Open air chess with live pieces

The players who are actually making the moves

A group photo at the end of the marvellous event

Official web site (in French) with all results and games

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