Top GMs Play In Top 12 French League

Top GMs Play In Top 12 French League

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jun 3, 2015, 12:34 PM |
6 | Chess Event Coverage

The “Top 12,” the final stage of the French Team Championship, is under way in Le Grau-du-Roi. Top GMs such as Anish Giri, Wesley So and Dmitry Jakovenko are playing. 

Every season, from October to April, more than 15,000 chess players compete in different leagues in France, in teams of four, six, or eight players in departmental divisions, regional or national. The Top 12, the highest national division, is the summit of this pyramid.

It is a round robin event that runs for 11 days, and the winning club is crowned Club Champion of France. The teams consist of eight players, although it is allowed to bring more. One of the eight boards needs to be occupied by a female player.

The 2015 edition is held at the yacht club Port Camargue Grau du Roi, from Saturday, May 30 till Tuesday, June 9. With several 2700 and many 2600 players active, the French league is one of the strongest next to the Russian and German leagues.

The harbor of le Grau-du-Roi. | Photo Wikipedia.

Clichy, who won in 2012, 2013 and 2014, has the record number of titles: 13. The team is now trying to break the number of consecutive titles, which is in the hands of Lyon, who won six times straight from 1990 till 1995.

Especially when GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave finds back his form, Clichy is the clear favorite with three more 2700 players in the squad (and the only team with a 2600+ average rating): GM Wesley So, Dmitry Jakovenko and GM Laurent Fressinet.

Three teams with an average rating above 2500 should be considered Clichy's main rivals: Bischwiller (with e.g. Anish Giri, Arkadij Naiditsch and Etienne Bacrot), Mulhouse Philidor (with e.g. David Navara, Radek Wojtaszek and Grzegorz Gajewski) and Bois-Colombes (with e.g. Christian Bauer, Alexander Ipatov and Jan-Krzysztof Duda).

Here's the line-up of all 12 teams playing this year: 

2015 Top 12 | Teams

# Clichy-Echecs-92 2634   No. Echecs Club Montpellier 2483
1 SO Wesley 2778   1 FIER Alexandr 2632
2 VACHIER-LAGRAVE Maxime 2754   2 VAZQUEZ IGARZA Renier 2606
3 JAKOVENKO Dmitry 2738   3 PELLETIER Yannick 2568
4 FRESSINET Laurent 2712   4 MISTA Aleksander 2556
5 MATLAKOV Maxim 2694   5 LIBISZEWSKI Fabien 2531
6 HAMDOUCHI Hicham 2608   6 FLEAR Glenn C 2460
7 TREGUBOV Pavel V. 2571   7 SMITH Axel 2454
8 LAGARDE Maxime 2565   8 BROCHET Philippe 2382
9 DELORME Axel 2497   9 TOUZANE Olivier 2339
10 SKRIPCHENKO Almira 2421   10 COLLAS Silvia 2306
No. Bischwiller 2577   No. Evry Grand Roque 2452
1 GIRI Anish 2776   1 FEDORCHUK Sergey A. 2657
2 NAIDITSCH Arkadij 2720   2 FELLER Sebastien 2626
3 BACROT Etienne 2704   3 RELANGE Eloi 2468
4 RAGGER Markus 2668   4 BATTAGLINI Gabriel 2451
5 EDOUARD Romain 2627   5 MOUSSARD Jules 2444
6 SCHLOSSER Philipp 2577   6 MILLIET Sophie 2369
7 LE ROUX Jean-Pierre 2546   7 BERGEZ Luc 2327
8 MARCELIN Cyril 2476   8 LEROY Didier 2277
9 NETZER Jean 2396        
10 MAISURADZE Nino 2279        
No. Mulhouse Philidor 2536   No. Chalons-En-Champagne 2466
1 NAVARA David 2751   1 SOKOLOV Ivan 2623
2 WOJTASZEK Radoslaw 2746   2 SALGADO LOPEZ Ivan 2616
3 GAJEWSKI Grzegorz 2648   3 KRASENKOW Michal 2610
4 DEGRAEVE Jean-Marc 2555   4 COSSIN Sebastien 2516
5 SOKOLOV Andrei 2520   5 VELTEN Paul 2457
6 RIFF Jean-Noel 2488   6 DOURERASSOU Jonathan 2414
7 IDER Borya 2401   7 FAVAREL Antoine 2374
8 CHOISY Mathilde 2182   8 DE SEROUX Camille 2115
No. C.E. de Bois-Colombes 2521   No. Grasse Echecs 2444
1 BAUER Christian 2624   1 DORFMAN Iossif 2574
2 IPATOV Alexander 2612   2 MICHIELS Bart 2536
3 DUDA Jan-Krzysztof 2610   3 SZABO Krisztian 2518
4 MITON Kamil 2604   4 APICELLA Manuel 2510
5 CORNETTE Matthieu 2590   5 COLOVIC Aleksandar 2466
6 MAZE Sebastien 2572   6 LLANES HURTADO Miguel 2444
7 SHOKER Samy 2484   7 PILE Richard 2430
8 KOZIAK Vitali 2467   8 FORESTIER Carole 2072
9 DIONISI Thomas 2383        
10 CONGIU Mathilde 2259        
No. Club d'Echecs Metz Fischer 2494   No. Vandoeuvre-Echecs 2413
1 RIAZANTSEV Alexander 2671   1 SOLODOVNICHENKO Yuri 2592
2 POSTNY Evgeny 2630   2 DONCHENKO Alexander 2570
3 SVETUSHKIN Dmitry 2591   3 BAILET Pierre 2519
4 IORDACHESCU Viorel 2588   4 BRUNNER Nicolas 2432
5 WIRIG Anthony 2496   5 HAMITEVICI Vladimir 2429
6 KOCH Jean-Rene 2452   6 SAVINA Anastasia 2417
7 TERRIEUX Kevin 2439   7 PHILIPPE Christophe 2391
8 BELKHODJA Slim 2417   8 NEZAR Mustapha 2382
9 TADDEI Benoit 2354   9 LE CORRE Benjamin 2307
10 PUCHER Sebastien 2298   10 STEIL-ANTONI Fiona 2094
No. C.E. Strasbourg 2492   No. Poitiers-Migne Echecs 2260
1 BAKLAN Vladimir 2633   1 DEMUTH Adrien 2515
2 DOETTLING Fabian 2588   2 PICARD Romain 2368
3 NATAF Igor-Alexandre 2534   3 BEDOUIN Xavier 2336
4 VAISSER Anatoli 2530   4 SAADA Julien 2296
5 ROZENTALIS Eduardas 2529   5 PEL Bonno 2287
6 SANIKIDZE Tornike 2515   6 TRANCHANT Sebastien 2275
7 SEBAG Marie 2483   7 FOUGERIT Valentin 2225
8 VITOUX Colomban 2391   8 PICARD Clement 2180
9 ROOS Louis 2370   9 LERICHE Luc 2129
10 HEINZ Timothee 2350   10 LERICHE Ines 1990

 

On Saturday at 4 p.m., Robert Crauste, the mayor of Grau du Roi, officially opened the first round, and 96 players started their games. 

Clichy made no mistake, and defeated third seed Bois-Colombes without losses. Normally the score would be 5.5-2.5, but in France draws are not counted and so it was written down as 3-0. The wins were scored by Vachier-Lagrave, Jakovenko and Tregubov.

MVL found a remarkable way to trap a bishop and thus won his first game in months:

 

Bischwiller crushed Metz 6-1, with wins for Giri, Naiditsch, Ragger, Edouard, Le Roux and Marcelin. Giri followed Evgeny Tomashevsky's example and played the 6.h3 King's Indian against GM Viorel Iordachescu, who also came from Khanty-Mansiysk as he was one of the commentators at the FIDE Grand Prix.

 

In a tweet Giri praised his opponent's move 23...Nc6!? and compared it to the famous 16...Nc6!? as played by Boris Spassky in his game with Yuri Averbakh from the 1956 Soviet Championship. There's surely similarity there!

Giri and Naiditsch on the top boards for Bischwiller. | Photo courtesy of the French Chess Federation.

Samy Shoker (2484) of Egypt played a remarkable game with 2700-GM Laurent Fressinet. The Egyptian played the Hippopotamus Defense and continued playing on just three rows for quite a while. At Roland Garros he would certainly be a decent baseline player.

The next day, both Giri and Naiditsch lost their games for Bischwiller on boards one and two, but the team beat Vandoeuvre anyway thanks to victories on the lower boards. In a sideline of the French the Dutchman started running with his h-pawn and then won a pawn, but then it became clear he had taken too much risk:

 

For Clichy it was the other way around: two losses on the lower boards were more than compensated with wins on boards two, three and four. So, who was held to a draw by Duda in the first round, won an exciting game against the famous Lithuanian GM Eduardas Rozentalis. It was a game full of desperados:

 

Wesley So playing in the French league this week. | Photo courtesy of the French Chess Federation.

The French league is the first event for GM Sebastien Feller after his ban from competitive chess expired. It will take him some time to warm up; he has scored two draws and three losses so far. In the second round he lost a razor-sharp game to Duda:

 

GM David Navara has been playing the 6.h3 system against the KID for years, and gave another very powerful performance against Krisztian Szabo, a game from the match Mulhouse-Grasse:

 

In the third round, the third- and fourth-seeded Mulhouse and Bois-Colombe drew their match. There are several ways to outplay the opponent in a King's Indian, as Radek Wojtaszek showed against Sebastien Maze on board one:

 

The playing hall is the yacht club Port Camargue Grau du Roi.Photo courtesy of the French Chess Federation.

Clichy was way too strong for Montpellier: 5-0. Bischwiller beat Grasse 4-1. Giri was perhaps inspired by his countryman IM Manuel Bosboom, who often plays the same system with the white pieces:

 

In the fourth round GM Christian Bauer played a very nice game as Black. Look how he uses all kinds of tactics while defending against White's threats, and develops all his pieces to great squares:

 

 

Each team plays with at least one lady- - here the game Maisuradze vs Steil-Antoni. | Photo courtesy of the French Chess Federation.

In the French league it is possible to change the order of the line-up. Bischwiller put Giri on board two, who drew in just nine moves with GM Ivan Salgado Lopez, who repeated moves in the 6.Be3 Ng4 Najdorf. Etienne Bacrot lost against Michal Krasenkow, who might have prepared this line in the Grünfeld deeply:

 

 

After five rounds only Clichy and Bischwiller are still on a perfect score. On Wednesday the reigning champions beat Vandoeuvre 4-1 despite a loss on board one, where this time Matlakov was playing. He faced German GM Alexander Donchenko, who happens to be in great shape. After beating Dorfman and Naiditsch, and drawing with Krasenkow and Demuth, he scored another point for Vandoeuvre:

 

Donchenko here in his game with Naiditsch. | Photo courtesy of the French Chess Federation.

Wesley So was playing as low as board four, and quickly won a pawn and an exchange vs Anastasia Savina. Still, the U.S. grandmaster had to be accurate:

 

In the match between Mulhouse and Montpellier, won by the latter, Navara and Fier followed their game from the Reykjavik Open for 18 moves. What followed was quite an entertaining and correct draw:

 

Tomorrow is a crucial round in the championship, because Bischwiller and Clichy face each other. 

2014-15 French League, Top 12 | Round 5 Standings

# Club MP j. d. p. c.
1 Bischwiller 15 5 17 23 6
2 Clichy 15 5 17 20 3
3 Bois-Colombes 12 5 8 15 7
4 Chalons-En-Champagne 12 5 3 12 9
5 Evry Grand Roque 11 5 -2 10 12
6 Vandoeuvre 10 5 1 12 11
7 Strasbourg 10 5 0 10 10
8 Montpellier 9 5 -5 11 16
9 Mulhouse Philidor 9 5 1 12 11
10 Metz Fischer 7 5 -10 6 16
11 Poitiers-Migne 5 5 -15 5 20
12 Grasse 5 5 -15 2 17
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