French Championship: Yannick Gozzoli leads with 3.0/4

by Johannes Fischer
8/17/2016 – The French Championship 2016 can boast of a strong field, even though Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Etienne Bacrot do not take part. But the nine Grandmasters and the one International Master who play a for the title do have an average Elo of 2587. With a rating of 2677 Laurent Fressinet is top seed but after four rounds GM Yannick Gozzoli leads with 3.0/4. Half a point behind follow three players with 2.5/4 each, among them Jean-Francois Jolly, the lowest-rated player in the field.

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The small town of Agen, host of the French Championships 2016, has about 35,000 inhabitants, lies between the big cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse.

Opening ceremony

The first four rounds saw a number of surprises. One of them is the strong start of Yannick Gozzoli. With a rating of 2573 Gozzoli did not belong to the favorites but with two wins and two draws he is sole leader after four rounds. Even more surprising is the result of Jean-Francois Jolly, the only International Master in the field, and with an Elo of 2371 much lower rated than his nine 2500+ colleagues.

After a first round draw with Black against Tigran Gharamian Jolly defeated Christian Bauer in round two in a game that was not free of errors but exciting to watch:


Jean-Francois Jolly (left) at the start of his game against Christian Bauer

After a loss against Romain Edouard in round three Jolly - maybe warned or inspired by the many tactical oversights in his game against Bauer - defeated Matthieu Cornette in round four with a back rank combination:


Standings after round four

  Title Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts. TB
1 GM Yannick Gozzoli     ½   ½ 1 1       3.0 / 4  
2 IM Jean Francois Jolly     1 1     ½   0   2.5 / 4 5.75
3 GM Christian Bauer ½ 0           1   1 2.5 / 4 3.50
4 GM Matthieu Cornette   0     ½     1 1   2.5 / 4 3.50
5 GM Laurent Fressinet ½     ½   ½   ½     2.0 / 4 4.50
6 GM Sebastien Maze 0       ½   ½     1 2.0 / 4 2.25
7 GM Tigran Gharamian 0 ½       ½       ½ 1.5 / 4 2.50
8 GM Adrien Demuth     0 0 ½       1   1.5 / 4 2.00
9 GM Romain Edouard   1   0       0     1.0 / 3  
10 GM Sebastien Feller     0     0 ½       0.5 / 3  

Games of rounds 1-4:




Apart from the top events there are a number of open tournaments...

... for young...

... and old.

Winners trophies

Christian Bauer and Adrien Demuth

Adrien Demuth (left) at the start of his game against Romain Edouard

Romain Edouard and Matthieu Cornette

Sébastien Feller

Sébastien Maze

Round 1: Tigran Gharamian and Jean-Francois Jolly at the start of their game


Photos: Tournament page


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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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