MVL Joins Clichy To Clinch 15th French Title

MVL Joins Clichy To Clinch 15th French Title

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played two rounds for Clichy-Echecs-92, who retained their French Team Championship title yesterday in Chartres, France. Other top GMs involved in the competition were David Navara, Radek Wojtaszek, Li Chao, and Baadur Jobava.

Clichy wins another cup! | Photo French Chess Federation.

With the highest average Elo of all teams in the "Top 12" Clichy was the favorite to win the French league this year. They delivered, scoring one match point more than 2015 champion Bischwiller. It was Clichy's 15th national title.

Several videos were posted by the French Chess Federation. This is round one.

Asked about his plans after the Moscow Grand Prix, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave told that he "might visit" the French Team Championship as it was held close to his home. (The venue was at the Parc des Expositions on Avenue Jean Mermoz in Chartres, about 100 km southwest of Paris.)

Well, as it turns out he was being a bit secretive there! MVL in fact joined winning team Clichy, that retained its 2016 title.

He only played two games this year and scored 1,5/2 vs Mulhouse Philidor's Benjamin Gledura and against Tremblay en France's Vladimir Malakhov. Here's MVL's devastating win against the world number seven among juniors.


The start of the MVL-Gledura game, alongside Laurent Fressinet
vs Grzegorz Gajewski. | Photo French Chess Federation.

The other grandmasters playing for Clichy were Radek Wojtaszek, Laurent Fressinet, Loek van Wely, Jorden van Foreest, Hicham Hamdouchi and the couple Pavel Tregubov & Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Dutch champion Van Foreest (whose nine-year-old sister Machteld became U12 national champion this week!) played a major role in the team, scoring a huge 9/11 (seven wins, two draws and only one loss) good for a 2756 performance!

Here's the win against his highest rated opponent, Arkadij Naiditsch, the German GM who is representing Azerbaijan and currently rated 2700.


Van Foreest's Elo performance in Chartres was at the level of
Peter Svidler current live rating. | Photo French Chess Federation.

Van Foreest was not the only player to reach 9/11 actually. Israeli Maxim Rodshtein, who was the second rated player for Bischwiller behind Naiditsch, did so too. His opponents were even slightly stronger, and his performance was one that only Magnus Carlsen wouldn't be satisfied with: 2824.

Rodshtein's highest rated opponent was David Navara, in round one. The Czech GM was better out of the opening but didn't make the most of his chances and then White's counter was nice.

Another player who did rather well in France was Loek van Wely, who was most likely the driver of Van Foreest. (KingLoek has literally brought several talented Dutch players to the French league!) The question who inspired whom exactly will probably never be answered! 

Van Wely, now 44, and a father, scored 8/10 and a 2729 performance rating. In his game against Romain Edouard he was in full control throughout the game, except for one moment.


Van Wely played a fine tournament as well. | Photo French Chess Federation.

Lastly, included in this report is a win by Baadur Jobava (always good for a few interesting games) over Radek Wojtaszek that started with 1.b3 (usually entertaining enough). It was played in the last round, a day after Jobava's only loss, vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda—also recommended, and to be found in the PGN file.

A vlog by WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni at the start of the competition. Her team Vandoeuvre just avoided relegation.

French Team Championship, Top 12 | Final Standings

Rk Team Gms Mpts TB1 TB2 TB3
1 Clichy 11 31 33 42 9
2 Bischwiller 11 30 35 44 9
3 Nice Alekhine 11 27 19 33 14
4 Mulhouse Philidor 11 27 16 32 16
5 Bois-Colombes 11 24 14 33 19
6 Grasse Echecs 11 23 6 21 15
7 Saint Quentin 11 21 0 23 23
8 Tremblay-En-France 11 20 2 27 25
9 Vandoeuvre 11 19 -3 22 25
10 Strasbourg 11 18 -5 20 25
11 Montpellier 11 13 -56 4 60
12 Lisieux 11 11 -61 6 67

Games from TWIC.

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