Cap d'Agde: Laurent Fressinet victorious

by Albert Silver
11/1/2015 – Sometimes things just don't work out, and sometimes things just do. This was the tale of the final between Anatoly Karpov and Laurent Fressinet to decide the title of the 4th Anatoly Karpov Trophy at Cap d'Agde. The Russian had promising if not winning positions, but tripped at the finish line and the Frenchman prevailed in the end.

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Although the event has always been graced with female players, this year there was a firm commitment to balance the field with four male players, and four female. This is not to suggest it is a Men vs Women event, as it is still very much every man (or woman) for himself. The eight players this year are:

  • Anatoly KARPOV (Russia) GM. (2628).
  • Marie SEBAG (France) GM. (2496).
  • Laurent FRESSINET (France) GM. (2702).
  • Marya MUZYCHUCK (Ukraine) GM. (2528).
  • Tigran GHARAMIAN (France) GM. (2654).
  • Anna MUZYCHUCK (Ukraine) GM. (2549).
  • Romain EDOUARD (France) GM. (2636).
  • Zhansaya ABDUMALIK (Kazakhstan) WGM. (2390).

Playing at a time control of 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment, the eight players will meet each other twice, for a total of 14 rounds. Each day two round are played, and at the end of the seven days, the top four players will qualify for the semi-finals, and then the final.


Laurent Fressinet vs Anatoly Karpov

The start of the final between Karpov (left) and Fressinet (right)

It would be unjust to call the French player lucky, even if this is not an entirely uncalled for description, but such things are the nature of sport, and fighting spirit counts just as much as the purity of the chess concepts.

The first two Rapid games, comprising the main phase of the final, went smoothly for both players, and if Karpov had a small nagging edge in game one, ending in a draw, in game two the reverse was true. The two draws were quite representative how the struggles, and high standard of chess.

The lovely amphitheatre with colorful lighting, the players in the center, and the giant screen
in the background, so no one would miss a thing.

This led to the blitz tiebreakers, in which two games would be played to decide the winner. In both games it is no exaggeration to say that the 12th World Champion had a dead won position, first as white then as black. Unfortunately, possibly due to time pressure, late into the games he fumbled and blundered do badly that within a couple of moves he went from winning to lost, and with two losses his hopes of a repeat victory were ended.

In spite of this, one cannot take anything away from Laurent Fressinet's victory, since he was the a dominating force in the qualifiers, being the only player to defeat Karpov in that stage. He then defeated Tigran Gharamian cleanly, and after a difficult final, still managed to be the last one standing.  A great result.

Laurent Fressinet was not to be denied

All photos are copyright Pierre TEXTORIS /capechecs

Games of the final

[Event "4th Trophy Anatoly Karpov 2015"] [Site "Cap d'Agde"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "9.1"] [White "Karpov, Anatoly"] [Black "Fressinet, Laurent"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2702"] [PlyCount "122"] [EventCountry "FRA"] [TimeControl "1500+10"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Be7 5. Nbd2 O-O 6. b3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bb2 Nc6 10. a3 Be7 11. Qc2 Bf6 12. Be2 Bd7 13. Ne4 Bxb2 14. Qxb2 Qb6 15. O-O Rfd8 16. Rac1 Be8 17. Rc2 Rac8 18. Rfc1 Nce7 19. Nc5 a5 20. g3 h6 21. Ne5 Qa7 22. Bh5 b6 23. Ne4 Rxc2 24. Rxc2 b5 25. Rd2 Qc7 26. b4 axb4 27. axb4 Nc6 28. Nxc6 Bxc6 29. Nc5 Nb6 30. Rxd8+ Qxd8 31. Be2 Na4 32. Qc1 Qd6 33. f3 Nxc5 34. Qxc5 Qxc5 35. bxc5 b4 36. Kf2 b3 37. Bd3 Kf8 38. Ke2 b2 39. Kd2 Bxf3 40. Kc3 Ke7 41. Kxb2 Kd7 42. Bb5+ Bc6 43. Be2 Be4 44. Kc3 Kc6 45. Kb4 e5 46. Bb5+ Kc7 47. Kc4 f5 48. Be8 g5 49. Bg6 Kc6 50. Kb4 g4 51. Be8+ Kc7 52. Bb5 Bd5 53. Bc4 Bxc4 54. Kxc4 Kc6 55. Kb4 h5 56. Kc4 f4 57. exf4 exf4 58. gxf4 h4 59. f5 g3 60. hxg3 hxg3 61. f6 g2 1/2-1/2 [Event "4th Trophy Anatoly Karpov 2015"] [Site "Cap d'Agde"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Fressinet, Laurent"] [Black "Karpov, Anatoly"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A29"] [WhiteElo "2702"] [BlackElo "2628"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventCountry "FRA"] [TimeControl "1500+10"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. e3 Bg4 8. h3 Bh5 9. g4 Bg6 10. d4 Bb6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. b4 e4 13. Nh4 Nxb4 14. Nxg6 hxg6 15. g5 Nd7 16. Nxe4 Nc5 17. Qg4 c6 18. Rd1 Qc8 19. Nxc5 Bxc5 20. a3 Na6 21. Qxc8 Raxc8 22. Kf1 Rfd8 23. Bb2 Be7 24. h4 Nc5 25. Bd4 Nb3 26. Rab1 Nxd4 27. exd4 1/2-1/2 [Event "4th Trophy Anatoly Karpov 2015"] [Site "Cap d'Agde"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "9.3"] [White "Karpov, Anatoly"] [Black "Fressinet, Laurent"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2702"] [PlyCount "122"] [EventCountry "FRA"] [TimeControl "180+2"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 c5 5. d5 b5 6. cxb5 Qa5+ 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Nxd2 9. Qxd2 d6 10. e3 O-O 11. a4 a6 12. Ra3 Qb4 13. Be2 Bh3 14. Ng5 Bc8 15. O-O Nd7 16. Qc2 Qa5 17. Nf3 Bb7 18. Rd1 Nf6 19. bxa6 Bxa6 20. Bxa6 Qxa6 21. Nb5 Rab8 22. Qc4 Nd7 23. b3 Rb6 24. Ra2 Rb7 25. Qd3 Rfb8 26. Re2 Qa5 27. Kg2 Nb6 28. Nd2 Qb4 29. Rc1 Qg4 30. h3 Qd7 31. Nc4 Ra8 32. Nxb6 Rxb6 33. Rc4 h5 34. e4 Bf6 35. f4 Bg7 36. e5 dxe5 37. fxe5 Rd8 38. Rxc5 Qb7 39. Qe4 Qb8 40. Rc4 Qb7 41. Rc6 Qb8 42. e6 f5 43. Qf4 Rxd5 44. Qxb8+ Rxb8 45. Rec2 Bf6 46. Rc8+ Rxc8 47. Rxc8+ Kh7 48. Rc7 Rd2+ 49. Kf1 Rd3 50. a5 Rxb3 51. Rb7 Rb1+ 52. Ke2 Ra1 53. Ra7 Ra2+ 54. Kd3 g5 55. a6 g4 56. hxg4 fxg4 57. Nd4 h4 58. gxh4 g3 59. Ne2 g2 60. Ng1 Ra1 61. Ne2 Re1 0-1 [Event "4th Trophy Anatoly Karpov 2015"] [Site "Cap d'Agde"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "9.4"] [White "Fressinet, Laurent"] [Black "Karpov, Anatoly"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A29"] [WhiteElo "2702"] [BlackElo "2628"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventCountry "FRA"] [TimeControl "180+2"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. e3 Re8 8. d4 exd4 9. exd4 Bb6 10. h3 Bf5 11. g4 Bg6 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 Be4 14. Nxe4 Rxe4 15. d5 Nd4 16. Nxd4 Rxd4 17. Qc2 g5 18. Bg3 Nd7 19. b4 a5 20. a3 Qf6 21. Rad1 axb4 22. axb4 Ra3 23. Kh2 Kg7 24. Rde1 Rf4 25. Re2 Rc3 26. Qa4 Ne5 27. c5 Bxc5 28. Re4 Rxf2 29. Bxf2 Bxf2 30. Qa2 Nf3+ 31. Kh1 Nh4 32. Qxf2 1-0


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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