Clichy Retains French Club Championship Title
On Sunday Clichy-Echecs-92 won the “Top 12” of the French League in Saint Quentin, France. It was the 13th national title for Clichy.
The final phase of the French league, a round robin with the top teams of the country, was held 24 May-3 June, 2014 in Saint Quentin, a commune in Picardy in northern France. The town is named after the saint who said to have been martyred here in the 3rd century.
The event was hosted by the local chess club, Tours de Haute-Picardie, at the Palais de Fervaques, a beautiful building that was constructed between 1897 and 1911 by architect Gustave Malgras-Delmas.
Perhaps it was better to speak of a “Top 11”, as Marseille didn't show up this year. As a result, 11 teams played a round robin where each day one team had a day off.
The teams were Bois-Colombes, Bischwiller, Châlons-en-Champagne, Clichy, Evry, Metz, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Rueil-Malmaison, Saint-Quentin and Strasbourg. The strongest players were Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitry Jakovenko, Radek Wojtaszek, Laurent Fressinet, David Navara, Romain Edouard, Alexander Riazantsev, Maxim Matlakov, Andrei Istratescu, Loek van Wely, Tigran Gharamian and Ivan Sokolov.
The championship was decided in the penultimate round, when Clichy defeated Metz and secured their 13th French title. The teams of Saint-Quentin and Rueil-Malmaison relegated. Because Clichy's rest round was on the last day, the champions could relax and watch the final round, knowing that they couldn't be caught!
French League | “Top 12” 2014 | Final Standings
|6||Evry Grand Roque||10||19||3||24||21|
|11||Tours de Haute Picardie||10||13||-18||13||31|
Let's look at a few interesting games played in that beautiful Palais de Fervaques. For example, the following draw between Ivan Sokolov (Chalons-en-Champagne) and David Navara (Mulhouse).
Another game from the first round that caught attention was Pelletier-Volokitin. The following ending, without rooks, was famously won by Fischer (against Saidy) who had the knight, and also maneuvered it to e3 (well, e6, as Black). In this game the rooks are not traded and it is side with the bishop who wins (in the rook ending):
For comparison, here's that famous Fischer ending:
A day later Volokitin was less successful. In a Classical French he took too much risk by taking a pawn on c5 and was soon punished:
Also in the second round Sokolov was involved in a spectacular draw:
Sokolov's good friend Loek van Wely won the following ending, which should have ended in a draw as well.
Igor-Alexandre Nataf is not known as a player who shies away from a theoretical debate, but perhaps he felt he needed something different against a second of Vishy Anand? His 1.a3 was tried from Adolf Anderssen to Magnus Carlsen, so it can't be that bad, can it? Unfortunately for the Frenchman his opponent decided to play a masterpiece:
Simon Williams is one of our present-day romantics - he played one of his typical all-in attacking games:
And don't miss this one either: a middlegame where White gets to play with two queens for almost forty moves!
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played a very nice miniature in the style of the old masters:
Against one of the new stars of French chess he chose a quiet system:
Another nice draw:
The next is an example of amazing technique by Laurent Fressinet, who doesn't get much out of the opening as White but slowly but surely manages to make progress. Any influence from a certain Mr Carlsen perhaps?
Many more nice games have been played, but maybe this is enough for a report. :-)