"Trophée Napoléon": Maxime Vachier-Lagrave wins match against Jorden van Foreest

by Klaus Besenthal
2/18/2019 – 250 years ago, August 15, 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born. The statesman and military leader is said to have been a passionate chess player, and in France the opening 1.e4 e5 2.Qf3 is called "Ouverture Napoléon", Napoleon's Opening. The French emperor also founded the city of La Roche-sur-Yon which celebrated Napoleon's jubilee and his passion for chess with a match between Maxime Vachier and Jorden van Foreest. A campaign in which "MVL" was more successful. | Photo: La Roche-sur-Yon, Ville & Agglomération

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Trophée Napoléon des échecs

The French town of La Roche-sur-Yon lies a few kilometres away from the Atlantic coast about half way between La Rochelle in the South and St. Nazaire in the north. It was once called "Napoléonville" after Napoleon I had chosen it as the new préfecture of the Vendée on May 25, 1804.

To celebrate Napoleon's 250th birthday the city invited French number one Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and the young Dutch grandmaster Jorden van Foreest to play a match for the "Trophée Napoléon" on February 16, 2019. The match consisted of seven blitz games in various formats.

The first two "normal" blitz games were both won by Black and led to a score of 1-1. Two Chess960 games followed in which Vachier-Lagrave had the better of it: he won both and took the lead. In the next two games both players had to follow orders and were forced to play 1.e4 e5 2.Qf3, "Napoleon's Opening" – an opening strategy that led to a little Waterloo for White: both "MVL" and Jorden van Foreest lost their games with White. In the seventh and last game of the match the players returned to the classical starting position but played blindfold. The game ended in a draw and Vachier-Lagrave won the match 4½-2½.




Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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