Top-12 in France: Alexander Ipatov reports

by Alexander Ipatov
6/12/2015 – The Top-12, the finals of the French Team Championship were played in idyllic surroundings and ended with a smooth victory of Bischwiller. GM Alexander Ipatov played for the team of Bois Colombes which won bronze. In an illustrated review the World Junior Champion of 2012 shares impressions and points to some highlights of one of the world's strongest team events.

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Top-12 in France: Alexander Ipatov reports

The Top-13, the finals of the French Team Championship, ended with a smooth victory of Bischwiller. GM Alexander Ipatov played for the team of Bois Colombes which won bronze. In an illustrated review the World Junior Champion shares impressions and points to some highlights of one of the world's strongest team events.

The Top-12, the nickname for the finals of the French Club Championship Finals, is one of the strongest league tournaments in the World. Only the German Bundesliga and the Russian Team Championship can boast of having a stronger league than France, and the tournament is reaching its climax.

The Top-12 is nicknamed such because it is the last portion of a large process. From October until April thousands of players compete in different leagues all over France, with teams varying in size and compositions. The winners of the different regional events qualify for the Top-12.

Entrance to the playing hall

 

It is not easy to highlight something new from the French Team Championship – the so-called TOP-12. “Thanks a lot” for this to Alejandro Ramirez who has already come up with some good articles on the French League! But what can I say about this tournament as a participant?

Alexander Ipatov (Bois Colombes)

Christian Bauer (Bois Colombes): Verpasste den Sieg gegen Navara

[Event "TCh-FRA Top 12 2015"] [Site "Montpellier FRA"] [Date "2015.06.01"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Bauer, Christian"] [Black "Navara, David"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2624"] [BlackElo "2751"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r2k2b/4p2p/2p1B1pP/p5P1/P2q4/B3Q3/1PP2P2/2K5 w - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "2"] [EventDate "2015.05.30"] [SourceDate "2015.06.10"] [WhiteTeam "C-E BOIS-COLOMBES"] [BlackTeam "MULHOUSE PHILIDOR"] {This position occurred in the game of my teammate Christian Bauer against David Navara. So far Christian had been playing brilliantly but when it finally came to "taking the point and going home", he let it go.} 30. Qf3 $2 ( 30. Bf7+ $3 {was a mate in 4} Kd7 (30... Kxf7 31. Qxe7+ Kg8 32. Qe6#) 31. Qxe7+ Kc8 32. Be6+ Qd7 33. Qxd7#) 30... c5 $1 {Black was still clearly worse after White's blunder but somehow David managed to hold the draw.} 1/2-1/2

Samy Shoker (Bois Colombes)

Well, the French League is definitely one of the strongest chess leagues in the world, maybe, just slightly behind the German Bundesliga, and it has been a big pleasure to play next to some to the world’s top players in a comfortable playing hall situated right on the shore next to yachts and other luxury facilities. But what makes the French League really unique is its unbelievably friendly atmosphere amongst clubs and players.

Here players could get all important information.

 

The two clear favorites this year were the teams of Clichy (So, MVL, Jakovenko, Van Wely, Matlakov, Tregubov, Hamdouchi, Lagarde, Delorme, Skripchenko headed by IM Jean-Baptiste Mullon as captain) and Bischwiller (Giri, Bacrot, Naiditsch, Ragger, Edouard, Schlosser, Le Roux, Marcelin, Maisuradze).

Bacrot (front) and Giri. Bacrot showed his class by winning against Jakovenko in the crucial match against Clichy.

 

Wesley So and Maxime-Vachier-Lagrave

Wesley So, Clichy's top board

For Wesley So things did not always go smoothly in France...

[Event "TCh-FRA Top 12 2015"] [Site "Montpellier FRA"] [Date "2015.06.08"] [Round "10.1"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Fedorchuk, Sergey A"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A27"] [WhiteElo "2778"] [BlackElo "2657"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2n3rr/bpNP1k2/p4pb1/3Pn3/1P6/P1N5/1B3PB1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2015.05.30"] [SourceDate "2015.06.10"] [WhiteTeam "CLICHY-ECHECS-92"] [BlackTeam "EVRY GRAND ROQUE"] {Wesley had been pressing throughout the entire game, but at some point Black consolidated and took his chance when White overpushed.} 29... Nf3+ $1 30. Kf1 (30. Bxf3 Be4+ 31. Kf1 Bxf3 {leads to a forced mate.}) 30... Bd3+ 31. Re2 Rh1+ $1 0-1

Loek van Wely (Clichy)

Bischwiller won the crucial match because Giri beat Fressinet and Bacrot won with the black pieces against Jakovenko. This is particularly remarkable since only a few days before the French League Dmitry shared first place at the Grand Prix tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk where he was pretty close to qualifying for the Candidates.

Third place went to the team of Bois Colombes (Bauer, Ipatov, Duda, Miton, Cornette, Maze, Shoker, Koziak, Guichard, Congiu headed by our great captain Boris Plane). I have played for Bois Colombes Since 2012 and I am very happy to be part of this team. In the French League 2015 we lost only to Bischwiller and Clichy and drew against the strong team of Mulhouse which had Wojtaszek, Navara, and Gajewski in its line-up.

The player with the tournament’s highest performance was Anish Giri (TPR 2828, 8/10), while Arkadij Naiditsch, who also played for Bischwiller “left” 32 ELO points in Le-Grau-du-Roi. We all hope to see him back and on fire in 2016 World Chess Olympiad in Baku, where he might be representing Azerbaijan.

Anish Giri

Naiditsch (with White) during his game against Sokolov

Since it was a team event, team success had top priority. In view of this some teams let some players – depending on style and form – play more often with White or Black than they would in an individual tournament. For example, IM Paul Velten (Chalons) played nine (!) games in a row with Black and managed to score his first GM norm!

My teammate from Bois Colombes, GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, however, played eight games with white in a row and really took advantage of the first move by scoring 7.0/8!

Thanks a lot to organizers, clubs, players and everyone who was part of this great event. See you again in 2016!

Battle of the generations: the 17-year old Jan-Krzysztof Duda plays against 53-year old Josif Dorman

David Navara

A friendly exchange before the game that brought a drama in time-trouble.

[Event "TCh-FRA Top 12 2015"] [Site "Montpellier FRA"] [Date "2015.05.30"] [Round "1.4"] [White "Ipatov, Alexander"] [Black "Matlakov, Maxim"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D18"] [WhiteElo "2612"] [BlackElo "2694"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2r2k1/p4pp1/6p1/6P1/4P2P/4QPK1/1Pq5/R2R4 w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "20"] [EventDate "2015.05.30"] [SourceDate "2015.06.10"] [WhiteTeam "C-E BOIS-COLOMBES"] [BlackTeam "CLICHY-ECHECS-92"] {This is a position from my game against Maxim Matlakov. In mutual time trouble I played the tempting} 33. Qxa7 $5 {which objectively is not the best.} { However, having only a few minutes on the clock my opponent chose to "trust" me.} Kh7 $2 (33... Rxa7 $1 34. Rxd8+ Kh7 35. Rxa7 Qc1 $1 36. Raa8 (36. Rad7 Qe1+ 37. Kf4 Qxh4+ 38. Ke3 Qxg5+ 39. Kf2 Qh4+ $11) 36... Qg1+ 37. Kf4 Qc1+ 38. Ke5 Qxb2+ $11 {and White cannot avoid the perpetual}) 34. Rxd8 Rxd8 35. Rg1 $2 ({Of course, I saw} 35. h5 $1 Rd2 36. hxg6+ Kxg6 {but missed} 37. Qa5 $3 Rg2+ 38. Kf4 $18 {and the white king escapes from the checks}) 35... Qb3 36. Qf2 Rd3 37. Re1 Qb8+ 38. e5 $2 {A terrible move} ({After} 38. Kg2 $16 {Black would have to suffer for a long time.}) 38... Rb3 {Now it turns out that White despite being two pawns up cannot win because of Black's queen and rook are perfectly coordinated. The move 38.e5 just created weaknesses.} 39. Re2 Rb5 40. Qd4 Rb4 41. Qd6 Rxb2 $1 42. Qxb8 Rxb8 $11 {and Black easily held the draw.} 1/2-1/2

The great monitor showing the top games in the playing hall.

A new trend: 11. Na3 in the Catalan

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.06.10"] [Round "?"] [White "11.Na3 in the Catalan"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [ECO "E05"] [Annotator "Alex Ipatov"] [PlyCount "55"] [SourceDate "2015.06.10"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Ne5 Nc6 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Nxc6 Qe8 10. Nxe7+ Qxe7 11. Na3 $5 {This rare move was played three times by 2600+ players in this tournament, that's why I thought it would be interesting to mention it. Much more popular continuations for White are the moves 11.Qc2 and 11.Qa4. 11.Na3 is relatively a new way to handle this position and I am sure that we will see more games on top level with this move.} (11. Qc2) (11. Qa4) 11... Rd8 (11... c5 12. dxc5 Qxc5 13. Be3 Qh5 (13... Qc6 $143 14. Rc1 Bb7 15. f3 Ba6 16. Nxc4 Bxc4 17. Qd4 Rfc8 18. b3 Qa6 19. bxc4 Qxa2 20. Kf2 a5 21. Bg5 $1 $36 {Kramnik, V (2783)-Adams,M (2745) Shamkir 2015}) 14. f3 Nd5 $146 (14... c3 15. bxc3 Qa5 16. Qc1 Ba6 17. c4 Rac8 $44 {Kramnik,V (2787)-Anand,V (2770) Khanty-Mansiysk 2014}) 15. Bf2 c3 16. bxc3 Nxc3 17. Qd3 $1 Nd5 18. Rfc1 a5 19. Rc5 $14 {Ipatov, A (2612)-Sokolov,A (2520) Montpellier FRA 2015}) 12. Qc2 Ba6 $5 $146 (12... c5 13. dxc5 Qxc5 14. Qxc4 Qxc4 15. Nxc4 Ba6 16. b3 Bxc4 17. bxc4 Rdc8 18. Be3 $146 ({A recent game from the Russian Team Championship continued} 18. Bb2 Rxc4 19. Rac1 Rac8 20. Rxc4 Rxc4 21. Rc1 Rxc1+ 22. Bxc1 Kf8 23. f3 Ke7 24. e4 Kd6 25. Kf2 Nd7 26. Ba3+ Kc6 27. Ke3 e5 $11 {but Black equalised easily in Sjugirov,S (2669)-Aronian,L (2770) Sochi 2015}) 18... Rxc4 19. Rfc1 Ra4 $1 $11 20. a3 h6 21. Bc5 Rc8 22. f3 Ra6 23. Kf2 Nd5 24. e4 Rac6 25. exd5 Rxc5 26. Rxc5 Rxc5 27. dxe6 fxe6 {1/2 (27) Feller,S (2626)-Doettling,F (2588) Montpellier FRA 2015}) 13. Nxc4 c5 14. dxc5 Qxc5 15. b3 Bxc4 16. Bb2 Rac8 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Rfc1 Qa5 19. bxc4 Rd2 20. Qe4 Rxa2 21. Rxa2 Qxa2 22. c5 Qd2 23. Rc4 f5 24. Qe5 Qd5 25. Qc3 a5 26. Rd4 Rxc5 27. Rxd5 Rxc3 28. Rxa5 {1/2 Gajewski,G (2648)-Fressinet,L (2712) Montpellier FRA 2015} *

 

Final Standings

Pl. Equipe Pts
1 Bischwiller 33
2 Clichy 31
3 Bois-Colombes 28
4 Strasbourg 25
5 Evry Grand Roque 24
6 Mulhouse Philidor 23
7 Montpellier 21
8 Chalons-En-Champagne 20
9 Vandoeuvre 17
10 Grasse 16
11 Metz Fischer 15
12 Poitiers-Migne 11

Note: Teams receive 3 points for winning, 2 for drawing and 1 for losing a match.

Replay Games

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Impressions

First place went to the team of Bischwiller

Clichy won silver

The spectacular view from the playing hall

Luxury everywhere

Grau du Roi

The sea is close

And as it was the beginning of June beaches were not at all crowded

The village

Holiday apartments

Some players lived here

The residence of the teams of Bois Colombes and Vandouvre

The pool offered an opportunity to cool down

Schedule

Round One
Vandoeuvre 3 - 1 Grasse
Bischwiller 6 - 1 Metz Fischer
Chalons-En-Champagne 4 - 3 Montpellier
Poitiers-Migne 2 - 4 Strasbourg
Clichy 3 - 0 Bois-Colombes
Evry Grand Roque 4 - 2 Mulhouse Philidor
Round Two
Grasse 0 - 4 Mulhouse Philidor
Bois-Colombes 5 - 0 Evry Grand Roque
Strasbourg 2 - 3 Clichy
Montpellier 3 - 2 Poitiers-Migne
Metz Fischer 1 - 2 Chalons-En-Champagne
Vandoeuvre 2 - 4 Bischwiller
Round Three
Bischwiller 4 - 1 Grasse
Chalons-En-Champagne 2 - 2 Vandoeuvre
Poitiers-Migne 1 - 3 Metz Fischer
Clichy 5 - 0 Montpellier
Evry Grand Roque 1 - 2 Strasbourg
Mulhouse Philidor 3 - 3 Bois-Colombes
Round Four
Grasse 0 - 4 Bois-Colombes
Strasbourg 1 - 1 Mulhouse Philidor
Montpellier 2 - 3 Evry Grand Roque
Metz Fischer 0 - 5 Clichy
Vandoeuvre 4 - 0 Poitiers-Migne
Bischwiller 3 - 2 Chalons-En-Champagne
Round Five
Chalons-En-Champagne 2 - 0 Grasse
Poitiers-Migne 0 - 6 Bischwiller
Clichy 4 - 1 Vandoeuvre
Evry Grand Roque 2 - 1 Metz Fischer
Mulhouse Philidor 2 - 3 Montpellier
Bois-Colombes 3 - 1 Strasbourg
Round Six
Grasse 0 - 1 Strasbourg
Montpellier 1 - 4 Bois-Colombes
Metz Fischer 2 - 3 Mulhouse Philidor
Vandoeuvre 2 - 3 Evry Grand Roque
Bischwiller 2 - 1 Clichy
Chalons-En-Champagne 5 - 1 Poitiers-Migne
Round Seven
Poitiers-Migne 0 - 4 Grasse
Clichy 3 - 2 Chalons-En-Champagne
Evry Grand Roque 0 - 5 Bischwiller
Mulhouse Philidor 3 - 0 Vandoeuvre
Bois-Colombes 3 - 1 Metz Fischer
Strasbourg 2 - 1 Montpellier
Round Eight
Grasse 2 - 3 Montpellier
Metz Fischer 1 - 1 Strasbourg
Vandoeuvre 0 - 4 Bois-Colombes
Bischwiller 2 - 1 Mulhouse Philidor
Chalons-En-Champagne 2 - 3 Evry Grand Roque
Poitiers-Migne 0 - 8 Clichy
Round Nine
Clichy 5 - 1 Grasse
Evry Grand Roque 6 - 0 Poitiers-Migne
Mulhouse Philidor 4 - 1 Chalons-En-Champagne
Bois-Colombes 1 - 4 Bischwiller
Strasbourg 3 - 1 Vandoeuvre
Montpellier 3 - 2 Metz Fischer
Round Ten
Grasse 3 - 2 Metz Fischer
Vandoeuvre 1 - 4 Montpellier
Bischwiller 2 - 1 Strasbourg
Chalons-En-Champagne 1 - 3 Bois-Colombes
Poitiers-Migne 1 - 6 Mulhouse Philidor
Clichy 4 - 1 Evry Grand Roque
Round Eleven
Evry Grand Roque 1 - 1 Grasse
Mulhouse Philidor 2 - 3 Clichy
Bois-Colombes 6 - 0 Poitiers-Migne
Strasbourg 2 - 0 Chalons-En-Champagne
Montpellier 0 - 3 Bischwiller
Metz Fischer 3 - 3 Vandoeuvre

Photos: Alexander Ipatov, tournament site

 

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster, World Junior Champion in 2012, born in Ukraine and playing for Turkey.
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daftarche daftarche 6/12/2015 05:50
giri looks weird in that shirt.
1