The Xavier Parmentier Foundation

by ChessBase
9/29/2016 – French chess trainer Xavier Parmentier was a passionate and caring coach. He helped many young chess players in difficult situations to find a way to develop self-confidence and to have success in chess and in life. Thanks to his help the 12-year old Fahim Mohammad, an immigrant from Bangladesh, was able to become French Champion U12 and later World Champion of his age group though he was forced to live as a homeless illegal in France. In April this year Xavier Parmentier died at the age of 52. Now a foundation continues his work.

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In Remembrance of Xavier Parmentier

The French chess coach died in April 2016 at the age of 52

By Christian Bauer

Xavier Parmentier was one of the best known and respected French chess trainers. He transferred his great love and passion for chess to each player he coached and his educational skills inspired a generation of trainers in France.

Parmentier's most prominent student is probably Fahim Mohammad. Fahim was born in Bangladesh but in 2008 his father had to leave the country and fled with his son to France. However, four years later, in 2012, they were still without official papers and forced to live as homeless illegals.

Chess helped. Soon after coming to France Fahim had joined a chess club and Xavier Parmentier had recognised the enormous talent of the young boy. Since then Parmentier had helped Fahim to cope with his difficult situation and had supported the fight of Fahim's father and Fahim to get papers that allowed them to stay in France. Parmentier had also encouraged his student to start in the French Championship U12 because he thought that winning a National Championship might draw attention to the fate of Fahim. Parmentier proved to be right. After becoming French Champion U12 Fahim went on to become World Champion in his age group, and that he won the title for a country in which he was living as an illegal, caught the attention of media and public. A short time later French politicians granted Fahim and his father official status, allowing them to stay legally in France.

With the help of French writer Sophie Callenec and Xavier Parmentier, Fahim later published his story in the book Un Roi Clandestine. The French edition appeared in 2014, the English edition  appeared in 2015 under the title A King in Hiding: How a Child Refugee Became a World Chess Champion and led to plans to turn Fahim's story into a film.

"A King in Hiding" - the remarkable story of a remarkable chess talent

Xavier Parmentier and Fahim Mohammad

Xavier Parmentier...

... with students

The  "Equipe Creteil"

A few weeks after the death of Xavier Parmentier his family, friends, and some of the best French players and trainers decided to found a society that should honor the work of Parmentier and continue his social commitment.

The "Xavier Parmentier Foundation" collects donations to support young chess talents suffering from financial, domestic or social problems. Such support may come in the form of chess lessons with renowned coaches or in the form of financial help to allow the young players to take part in international tournaments.

In August three girls received the first three grants. One of them was ten-year old, three times French Champion Nani Gagua, who immigrated from Georgia and currently lives in the region of Paris. The grant allowed her to take part in the European Championship U10 in Prague and she will also be able to take part in the World Championship U10.

Nani Gagua

Games by Nani Gagua



If you want to support the Xavier Parmentier Foundation or find out more about the Foundation, visit the website - - or Facebook.

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