Asnières wins French Team Championship in Chartres

by Klaus Besenthal
6/12/2023 – The French Team Championship, also known as ‘Top 16’, was played on June 1-11 in Chartres, a small city not far from Paris. Before Sunday’s final round, three teams were tied at the top of the standings: Asnières, Bischwiller and Grasse. The final round saw Asnières and Bischwiller drawing their match, while Grasse lost to Chartres. Asnières won the championship on tiebreak criteria, ahead of Bischwiller. | Photos: French Chess Federation

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A peculiar format

The team championship was played with squads of eight players each, and as the informal name ‘Top 16’ suggests, sixteen teams participated. The number of teams and the presence of elite grandmasters is reminiscent of the German Bundesliga.

Anieres, French Chess Team Championship

The winning team had the following players in its roster: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Andrey Esipenko, Grigoriy Oparin, Jules Moussard, Pentala Harikrishna, Yannick Pelletier, Matthieu Cornette, Pauline Guichard, Kirill Alekseenko, Jean-Marc Degraeve, Sergei Movsesian and Yosha Iglesias

Apart from that, though, pretty much everything is different in France compared to Germany. The team championship is not played on various weekends, but is completed entirely within 11 days at a single location.

First, two groups, ‘Poule A’ and ‘Poule B’, are formed, each with eight teams, which play a round-robin tournament (seven rounds). The top four teams of each group then make up the ‘Poule Haute’, while the lower teams join the ‘Poule Basse’ (High and Low respectively). In the second phase, four more rounds are played, in which each team plays against opponents it has not yet faced in the preliminary round. For the overall ranking, the points scored in the preliminary round are also considered.

There are no points for draws in team matches; only victories count. That explains why the result in the final round between Asnières and Bischwiller is not recorded as 4-4 — as it would in the German League — but as 0:0, since there were eight draws in the deciding match. A team match with seven draws and one decided game is then recorded as 1-0. If each team wins one game, with six draws, then you would have a 1-1, etc.

As for the match points, a draw grants one point for each team; a decided match gives 3 points for the winner and 1 point for the loser. The first tiebreaker is the number of board points, counted as the difference between won and lost games.

Each team must field a woman on the eighth board.

The city of Asnières, like Chartres, is close to Paris, while the small town of Bischwiller in Alsace is close to the German border. Grasse, ‘the world capital of perfume’, is in the south of France, 20 km north of Cannes.

Final standings - Poule Haute / Poule Basse

French Team Chess Championship 2023

All games - Poule Haute

All games - Poule Basse


Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.