French Team Championship without Feller, Hauchard and Marzolo

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The French Team Championship has started in Mulhouse and there are some strong GMs participating, e.g. David Navara, Pavel Eljanov, Le Quang Liem, Etienne Bacrot, Arkadij Naiditsch, Anish Giri and Loek van Wely. The three French players who were accused of cheating by the French Chess Federation saw their appeal rejected and their penalties increased.The Top 12 in Mulhouse | Photo Chess Club Philidor Mulhouse The Top 12 of the French Team Championship takes place May 26th - June 5th, 2011 in Mulhouse, a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. In a round-robin, the strongest 12 teams fight for the French club title, with Chalons en Champagne defending their title. A number of strong grandmasters are participating in Mulhouse. To name a few: Laurent Fressinet, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Alexei Dreev, David Navara, Pavel Eljanov, Le Quang Liem, Arkadij Naiditsch, Etienne Bacrot, Anish Giri, Loek van Wely and Mikhail Krasenkow. Three French players are notably absent: Sebastien Feller, Arnaud Hauchard and Cyril Marzolo. These three names dominated the news in the French and international chess scene in February and March of this year, in an ongoing story about cheating during the Olympiad last year. In our last report about the case, on March 20th, we mentioned that the Disciplinary Committee of the French Chess Federation had suspended Feller, Hauchard and Marzolo for being “guilty of a violation of sporting ethics”. The Committee had concluded that there was enough proof of cheating. Marzolo was sentenced to a 5-year suspension from play. Feller received a 3-year ban followed by 2 years of community service with the federation or another association. If he refused, the 2 years would be added to the suspension period. Hauchard was condemned to a lifetime ban from the duties of captain. Immediately after the verdict Feller's lawyer, Charles Morel, announced that he would address the Appeals Committee; the lawyers of the other two players joined him. Europe-Echecs reports that the appeal took place on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 in Paris. It didn't have the desired result for the players: the Appeals Committee not only confirmed the penalty by the French Chess Federation, but Sebastien Feller's ban was increased from 3 to 5 years and a 3-year ban as a player was added to Arnaud Hauchard's life ban as a captain or team manager. This was possible because not only the players, but also the French Chess Federation itself had appealed the first verdict in March. The case was also taken to an even higher body: the French National Sports and Olympics Committee. A hearing took place on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011. The lawyers of the players had requested a conciliation on the case, but because of the new verdicts by the Appeals Committee, their request had to be reformulated, to seek conciliation on the even stronger sanctions. French National Sports and Olympics Committee Neither Cyril Marzolo nor his lawyer were present and therefore his case was suspended. In the meantime, the penalty imposed by the Appeals Committee remained in effect, making it impossible for Marzolo to play for his team in the Top 12. To Feller and Hauchard, who were both represented by Charles Morel, the French National Sports and Olympics Committee offered a clear and simple conciliation: that they had to accept the verdict of the Appeals Committee. This verdict was effective immediately, making it impossible for Feller and Hauchard to participate in Mulhouse as well. However, the legal journey continued a day later in a court in Versailles, where Mr Morel had filed an emergency case that would suspend the decision of the Sports and Olympics Committee, at least till after the Top 12 had finished. This request was denied as well, in a verdict on May 27th, 2011 and the three players were each ordered to pay 1,000 Euro in costs. And so Feller, Hauchard and Marzolo are not playing in Mulhouse, and might not be playing official chess games for a while. FIDE hasn't banned them from rated events yet, but doesn't seem to have another option than doing so soon. The players' last resort seems to be opening a court case. Back to the French Team Championship, where after four rounds, four teams have won all their matches: Clichy, Evry Grand Roque, Marseille and host club Mulhouse Philidor. Also four players still have a 100% score: Alexander Riazantsev (one of Alexander Grischuk's seconds in Kazan), Andrey Sokolov, Almira Skripchenko and Adrien Demuth. Among the players with 3.5/4 are Giri, Navara and Le Quang Liem. Below you'll find the current standings (click on the club to see the team of players) and a selection of games played so far.

2Mulhouse Philidor12413196
3Evry Grand Roque12412153
4Marseille Echecs1249145
5Chalons en Champagne10410166
6Metz Fischer1049134
7Lutèce Echecs64-4610
11Rueil Malmaison44-17522

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