86th French Championship in Caen

by ChessBase
8/21/2011 – The French Chess Championship is taking place from the 14th to the 27th of August 2011. After seven rounds top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is leading, together with Romanian GM Andrei Istratescu. In the women's section the former French Champion Sophie Milliet is a full point ahead of the field. The organisers are delaying the Internet broadcast as an anti-cheating measure.

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French Chess Championships 2011

The French Chess Championship is taking place from the 14th to the 27th of August 2011. The venue is the University of Caen, a town located two hours north-west of Paris, just 15 km inland from the English Channel. Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror, who was buried there, and for the Battle for Caen – heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the town.

Caen (pronounced kɑ̃ – with the French nasal) has a long and stormy history. In 1346 King Edward III of England led his army against the city and sacked it, killing 3,000 of its citizens and burning much of the merchants' quarter. The city was later captured by Henry V in 1417 and treated harshly for being the first town to put up any resistance to his invasion.

The Caen skyline facing the Saint-Pierre Church – photo Wikipedia, scroll to view full panorama.

The University of Caen was founded in 1432 by John of Lancaster, First Duke of Bedford. By 1438 it had five faculties, and the foundation was confirmed by the King of France Charles VII in 1452. On July 7, 1944, the university was totally destroyed by aerial bombing. Reconstruction began in 1948. The new university was inaugurated in 1957.

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In the French Championship Laurent Fressinet must defend his title against a strong field, including Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Etienne Bacrot. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds increment after every move, starting from move one.

There is a delay in the Internet broadcast, which is intended to prevent organised cheating. We are gratified to see that some organisers are taking heed and implementing the very simple procedure which inconveniences nobody but gives the players a sense of security that was hitherto lacking. Incidentally not a single spectator on the Playchess server registered that the moves were coming a little later than they had been played in Caen. One of the reasons that these measures have been implemented is because you-know-who is playing. But more about that in a separate report.

GMs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Andrei Istratescu started with 4.0/6. Both drew their round seven games (with black) and now lead together, half a point ahead of Fressinet, Bacrot and Edouard.

Round three: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Hicham Hamdouchi in 41 moves

Romanian GM Andrei Istrăţescu leads (with Vachier-Lagrave) after seven rounds

The reigning French champion Laurent Fressinet

Second seed Etienne Bacrot

Fressinet vs Bacrot in round three was a 70-move fighting draw

Bauer vs Feller in round three, a game that ended after 28 moves in a draw

In the women's section the current champion Sophie Milliet is leading after five rounds with a full point more than her nearest rival.

Andreea Bollengier vs Sophie Milliet in round four was won by Black in 41 moves


The games are being 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 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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