Fifth International Chess Festival in Nancy

3/5/2007 – Nancy is a French town with 300,000 inhabitants, located between Paris and Strasbourg. The annual tournament there has been steadily growing, from 60 participants in 2003 to 130 this year. Play was in 13 groups of ten players each. Apart from regular chess there were some interesting experiments. Report by IM Christophe Philippe.

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Fifth international Chess Festival in Nancy (France)

Report by IM Christophe Philippe

19-25 February 2007

During seven days, from 19 to 25 of February, 130 players competed in the French town of Nancy over nine rounds in 13 groups of 10 players each.

Nancy is a 300,000 inhabitants town in the east of France, between Paris and Strasbourg. For five years now the tournament is growing and growing: 60 players in 2003, 70 in 2004, 90 in 2005, 110 in 2006 and 130 this year. In 2003, I could not have created this tournament without big help and enthusiasm of Stéphane Dupré, the general director of sports in "Meurthe et Moselle" (one of the four departments of the french region "Lorraine" or "Lothringen" in German). Stéphane is himself a chess player, without any time to train or to go to a chess club, but still participating with good result (5/9) this year in the last group (M).

The beautiful playing hall was in "Conseil Général de Meurthe et Moselle", the official building of the department.

View of the circle, where normally the laws and budget of this department are voted. This year, group C and D were playing in the middle, and group A and B in small, calmer rooms.


View of Group C

All the other groups were outside the circle, in a huge room with very good playing condition: nice chess boards in wood, individual table and electronic clocks for everybody. Same condition for the grandmasters in group A and the lowest rated player of group M!


Group A was for GM norms (average 2489). It was won in crushing style by Namig Guliyev from Azerbaidjan, who led from start to finish, with just a few calm draws.


Only the Ukrainian IM Viszilij Sikula (right) achieved a GM norm with 6/9. He drew the leader Guliyev Namig (left) in the final round, which was good for both: first place for Guliyev, and first GM norm for Vassilij.


Iranian GM Elshan Moradiabadi (watching Sikula-Abergel) finished third with 5.5/9.


The very likable and polite Indian GM Chanda Sandipan suffered a terrible tournament, but fought back like a lion to win the last two rounds and save his rating.


Group B was for IM norms (average 2315), but no player could achieve the necessary 6 or 6.5 points. FM Bouhallel (left on photo) could have done it but lost terribly the last round against the weakest player.


Russian IM Oleg Gladyshev (left) totally crushed the opposition in this tournament and scored 8/9! He wins a place in the GM group of next year.


The legendary veteran of our region, Roger Turboust, 86 years old, finished second with 6/9 in his tournament group I, beating numerous young players.


GM Chanda Sandipan played a tough simul against 22 tournament players, between Elo 1500 and more than 2000, without any beginner or kids. His score was +16 =6 –0!

On a free evening GM Namig Guliyev and FM Nicolas Brunner played an interested game on a giant screen, using a microphone to explain to the crowd how they see the position and how they select their moves. While one player was speaking the other had music in his headphones, so he could not hear what his opponent was saying.


The spectators really enjoyed this unusual demonstration


The president of the chess comitee of the department answering the questions of a journalist of "M6" (channel 6 on French television). Nice media coverage, indeed.

My thank goes of course to the main sponsor, department of Meurthe et Moselle, but also to the French Chess Federation (FFE), the Banque populaire Lorraine-Champagne, the Paris book store "Variantes", the French chess books new editor "Olibris", the hotels Ibis, Park Inn and Akena, and the company Alimatique. Next year, about same dates, we will stage the sixth chess festival in Nancy...

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