Laurent Fressinet: First chess-tennis World Champion

by Thomas Marschner
8/13/2018 – Every year, the TC RW Baden-Baden, one of the most traditional tennis clubs in Germany, and the Chess Center Baden-Baden organize a combined chess / tennis tournament. This year it was advertised for the first time as a World Championship. Four grandmasters took part and the new Chess Tennis World Champion is Laurent Fressinet. | Photos: Thomas Marschner

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Fressinet tops fellow French GM in finals

An unusual tournament takes place every year in Baden-Baden. At the TC RW Baden-Baden, one of the oldest and most traditional tennis clubs in Germany, as well as in the Baden-Baden chess centre, a combined chess tennis tournament is held.

On the first day, tennis is played in an unusual format for the sport: A seven-rounds Swiss system tournament, and only match up to 10 points, list a tiebreak often played instead of a third set in tennis, to make a quicker decision. In addition, at the score of 10:10 the match ends with a draw rather than continue until one side is two points ahead.

On the second day, seven rounds of rapid chess are played. The four best players qualify for the semi-final, which is played on a garden chess set interrupted by tennis games — rapid chess is played and after every 6 minutes, 6 points tennis are played, the winner is the player who either wins the chess game or who first wins 18 points in tennis. The player who scored better in the preliminary rounds gets to decide whether chess or tennis has the first turn.

This year, for the first time ever, the tournament was announced as a "World Championship" and it was more crowded than ever. As many as four chess grandmasters took up the fight for the points, including the very strong tennis player Sebastien Maze and defending champion Pavel Tregubov, who had travelled with the entire family, including wife Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Pavel Tregubov and Alexandra Kosteniuk, their chess game did not end very surprisingly

In addition, the Brazilian ex-tennis pro and multiple tournament winner Ricardo Schutt spiced up the field. He's also a strong chess player with nearly a 2200 Elo, while the strongest chess player in the field was France's number three Laurent Fressinet, a former second of Magnus Carlsen.

The tennis tournament was dominated by someone else, however: the 16-year-old Austrian Nicolas Moser, number four for his in his age group of the country.  The teenager won all seven games smoothly in front of Ricardo Schutt, who won six.

Nicholas Moser, very strong tennis player and pretty good chess player

Behind them came a larger number of players with five points, including Pavel Tregubov and Sebastien Maze who were the strongest chess players

The exciting question was how the youngster would fare in chess, where he was a blatant outsider with an Elo of 1650. The nominally strongest chess player Laurent Fressinet managed to score four points in tennis, an excellent result for his level. Although not the gifted technician, he made few mistakes and moved around the court well. With that results he made it extremely difficult for the tennis specialists. Of course, it was clear that Fressinet still needed an outstanding chess result to make it to the semi-finals.

The overall ranking also provided the most excitement in the rapid chess tournament. Spectator interest was focused not only on the top boards, but also on the back tables, where Nicolas Moser played his an outstanding tournament and qualified for the semi-finals with his 3½ points added to his tennis tally for a total of 10½ points. Fressinet did the same in reverse and made only a lone draw in chess also finishing with 10½ points. The semi-final quarted was completed by Ricardo Schutt and Sebastien Maze, while defending champion Pavel Tregubov was just off the pace at 10 points.

In the combined chess / tennis semi-final, the grandmasters prevailed, both times the decision was on the board not the clay. It was a nailbiter between Laurent Fressinet and Ricardo Schutt, as only 20 seconds survival for the Brazilian would have led to another tennis session in which he would have almost certainly scored the remaining points for victory.

2nd semi-final: side choice between Ricardo Schutt and Laurent Fressinet, in the middle tournament organizer Yaroslav Srokovski

Clearer was the match between Sebastien Maze and Nicolas Moser. Here the outsider could not delay defeat in chess long enough to rack up points on the court.

Semi-final in garden chess: Maze-Moser

In the final, the decision also came on the 64-squares: in the duel of the two French grandmasters, Laurent Fressinet prevailed in chess, at the time he also led — somewhat surprisingly in tennis.

Overall, it was a successful tournament in which the fun was in the foreground for all participants.

All players in the 1st Chess Tennis World Championship 2018

 1. GM Pavel Tregubov Elo 2579 LK 11 (g) (Russia) 
 2. Ricardo Schutt Elo 2130 LK 7 (Brazil) 
 3. GM Alexandra Kosteniuk ELO 2555 LK 23 (Russia) - Ex-World Champion 
 4. GM Maze Sebastian Elo 2628 LK 14 (g) (France) 
 5. GM Laurent Fressinet ELO 2649 LK 23 (France) 
 6. Axel Tuchenhagen DWZ 2107 LK 23 
 7. Dr. Horst-Peter Wagner DWZ 1630 LK 23 
 8. Nicolas Moser Elo 1639 LK 5 (Austria) 
 9. Mag. Wolfgang Moser: ELO 1500 Tennis LK 10 (Austria) 
10. Norman Daum ELO 2135 LK 23 
11. Sara Roth LK 18 (g) 
12. Wolfgang Rützel DWZ 2018 LK 7 
13. Mathias Kritten ELO 2100 LK 23 
14. Saphir Sahki ELO 1874 LK 14 (Algeria) 
15. Dr. Thomas Marschner Elo 1972 LK 10
16. Stéphane Vézina DWZ 1882 LK 13 
17. Georgi Davidov Elo 1910 LK 7 
18. Yannopapas Leontios ELO 1340 LK 23 Greece 
19. Dr.Gerald Zimmer Elo 1998 LK 9 
20. Christian Kalla, Elo 1992 LK 15 
21. Kai Schoenwolff, Elo 2016 LK 12 
22. Glilbert KOELSCH Elo 2161 LK (12g) France 
23. Matthias Ihle DWZ 1704 LK 10 
24. Nico Brandl DWZ 1974 LK23 
25. Robert Luginbühl ELO 2045 LK 15 (g) Switzerland 
26. Klaus Gschwendtner DWZ 2000 LK 11 
27. Matthias Rüfenacht FM 2311 LK 23 (Switzerland) 
28. Mario Schubert Elo 1917 LK19 
29. Andreas Teuffer DWZ 1902 LK14 
30. Andreas Werner DWZ 2057 LK 23 
31. Rudolf Müller Elo 2087 LK 18 
32. Sebastian Swoboda Elo 1925 LK 19
33. Jürgen Kaster DWZ 2032 LK 18 
34. Maxime Tregoubov ELO 1898 LK 18 (g) (France) 
35. Franceska Saroli ELO 1600 LK 23 (Switzerland) 
36. Ashot Hovanesian ELO 1900 (g) LK 23 (USA) 
37. Yannopapa Angeliki ELO -LK 23 (g) Greece 
38. Patrick Bruns Elo 1776 LK 23 
39. Ard van Beek: ELO 2021 LK 21 (Netherlands) 
40. Eelco de Vries: Fide 2235 LK 17 (Holland)

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Dr. Marschner, born in 1967, is a physicist and works in technology development for the production of solar modules. He has played chess for almost 40 years, has an Elo of 2000 and plays for his home club from Eppstein in the Taunus in the Hessian Association league. He lives in Schwäbisch Hall and reports from the chess Bundesliga and the women's Bundesliga. Apart from playing chess, he also plays tennis at the association level, enjoys taking pictures and runs his own website at www.thomas-marschner.de
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macauley macauley 8/13/2018 01:09
@sshivaji - Thanks, fixed. Indeed, when translating the long table of names at the end it's a quick tool to get the countries translated. Just an accidental side-effect overlooked.
sshivaji sshivaji 8/13/2018 09:29
TMMM,

That is quite funny, Ricardo Schutt (his actual name) and then Rubble and Debris.. Too bad for Ricardo, not sure why the google translate was used, probably to go from German to English.
Aighearach Aighearach 8/13/2018 05:42
I was raised to play chess and tennis, but we never played them at the same time or confused if a chess win had to do with tennis, or if a tennis win had to do with chess.

But many years ago my father was County Jr Chess Champion at the same time as County Tennis Champion.

My main complaint with the story is that it says, "Pavel Tregubov and Alexandra Kosteniuk, their chess game did not end very surprisingly" and yet, she's rated ‎2559 and he is rated 2587. So there is no result that would be without surprise! Neither of them are very active as chess players, and it isn't a serious tournament; wouldn't they only be there for fun? Why wouldn't they play a real game, with a real result? Maybe they did, maybe they agreed to a draw on move 15. We don't know, because even though the author considered it worth talking about, nothing was actually said.
TMMM TMMM 8/13/2018 01:56
Ricardo Schutt, Ricardo Debris, Ricardo Rubble... Seriously, are you throwing this "rubble" into Google Translate for an English version? How the quality of ChessBase articles has declined...
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