Vachier-Lagrave wins 2011 French Championship

8/26/2011 – After ten rounds there were two players vying for the title: reigning champion Laurent Fressinet and the top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, both with 6.5/10 points on the score table. Fressinet lost a kamikaze Pirc against Christian Bauer, while Vachier-Lagrave survived a lost position against Etienne Bacrot, who would have won the Championship if he hadn't blundered on move 26.

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French Chess Championships 2011

The French Chess Championship is taking place from the 14th to the 27th of August 2011. The venue is the University of Caen, a town located two hours north-west of Paris, just 15 km inland from the English Channel. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds increment after every move, starting from move one. There is a delay in the Internet broadcast, which is intended to prevent organised cheating.

One round before the end the reigning champion Laurent Fressinet and the top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave were in the joint lead, with 6.5/10 points. This is what happened in the final round.

Key games reach their climax: Bacrot vs Vachier-Lagrave, Bauer vs Fressinet

[Event "86th ch-FRA"] [Site "Caen FRA"] [Date "2011.08.25"] [Round "11"] [White "Bacrot, E."] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2710"] [BlackElo "2722"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2011.08.14"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bd2 Bg7 6. e4 Nb6 7. Be3 O-O 8. Bb5 Be6 9. Nf3 N8d7 10. Be2 c5 11. dxc5 Nc4 12. Bxc4 Bxc4 13. Bd4 e5 14. Be3 Rc8 15. b3 Be6 16. b4 f5 17. Bg5 Qe8 18. Nb5 fxe4 19. Nd6 {Black is already in big trouble.} exf3 20. g3 e4 21. Nxe8 Rcxe8 22. O-O Bxa1 23. Qxa1 Bc4 24. Rc1 Bd3 25. Qd4 Ne5 {Count the material: White has a queen for rook and knight, and a position a 2700+ GM should not have problems winning.} 26. b5 $2 Bxb5 27. Qxe4 Nd3 {Oops, now the game is a draw.} 28. Qd5+ Rf7 29. Rb1 Nxf2 30. Rxb5 ( 30. Kxf2 $4 Re2+ {and mate to follow.}) 30... Ng4 31. Rb1 Re2 32. Qd8+ Rf8 33. Qd5+ Rf7 34. Qd8+ Rf8 35. Qd5+ {A lucky escape for Vachier-Lagrave.} 1/2-1/2

[Event "86th ch-FRA"] [Site "Caen FRA"] [Date "2011.08.25"] [Round "11"] [White "Bauer, Ch"] [Black "Fressinet, L."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B07"] [WhiteElo "2637"] [BlackElo "2698"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2011.08.14"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 a6 5. h3 Bg7 6. g4 h5 7. g5 Nfd7 8. Bg2 b5 9. e5 Ra7 10. e6 fxe6 11. Qd3 Nf8 12. Be4 Kf7 {Just twelve moves into this Pirc Black is basically lost.} 13. d5 c5 14. dxc6 Rc7 {From bad to worse.} 15. Bb6 b4 16. Nce2 d5 17. Qg3 e5 18. Qf3+ Kg8 19. Bxd5+ Be6 20. O-O-O Qc8 21. Bxc7 Qxc7 22. Ng3 h4 23. Ne4 Kh7 24. Ne2 Bf5 25. Nc5 Qb6 26. Na4 Qa5 27. Qb3 e6 28. Bg2 e4 29. Nd4 Bxd4 30. Rxd4 Nxc6 31. Rd6 Qc7 32. Rhd1 Ne5 33. Kb1 a5 34. R6d4 Nf3 35. Bxf3 exf3 36. Rxh4+ Kg8 37. Rxh8+ Kxh8 38. Rc1 Qf4 39. Nc5 Qd4 40. Qe3 Qxe3 41. fxe3 Nh7 42. h4 e5 43. e4 Bh3 44. Nd3 Nf8 45. Nf2 {In spite of his desperate defence Laurent Fressinet went down and lost his title in this final kamikaze game.} 1-0

Report by GM Robert Fontaine on round eleven, with the highlights of the

Don't miss the high-tech demo board at the start of the video

Final standing

The women's section was dominated by Sophie Milliet, who became the new French Champion a round before the end (this a double round robin with six players lasts a day longer than the men's).

Women's section (with one round to play)

Video reports Europe Echecs (in French)

Round ten – all of this is in French, the language they unfortunately speak in Caen and in the whole of France

Round nine: us too, don't understand a blooming word – but the chess hightlights are great


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