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Friday, August 26, 2011

Vachier-Lagrave is French Chess Champion 2011; 230 chess clocks stolen from tournament

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news from French shores is that Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has won the French Chess Championship 2011 but that's only part of the news. There are two more things to tell - The exciting chess that led Maxime to the title and that someone stole 230 chess clocks from the event.

We have an interesting report in English from with some games too or access the official website in French at this link.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the French Championship on Thursday. The top seed finished clear first with 7/11, half a point ahead of Etienne Bacrot, Laurent Fressinet, Andrei Istratescu and Sebastien Feller. In the final round Vachier-Lagrave held Bacrot to a draw, while co-leader Fressinet lost to Bauer.

The 86th French Championship took place August 14-25 in the University of Caen, a commune in northwestern France, located 15 km inland from the English Channel. This year Laurent Fressinet defended his title against a strong field that included Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Etienne Bacrot. The rate of play was 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment per move, from move one.

This year’s French Championship was a very close affair, throughout the tournament. We already know that Istratescu and Vachier-Lagrave were sharing the lead after six rounds, and with many draws in round 7 things remained the same. The next day, reigning champ Laurent Fressinet joined the leaders thanks to a win against Shchekachev. And then, in round 9, Bacrot became co-leader as well, after beating Edouard in a nice attacking game:
So four leaders, and just two rounds to go. Vachier-Lagrave and Laurent Fressinet got themselves in an excellent position for the final round. The former beat Emmanuel Bricard in a long and tough game, where his opponent might have missed a draw here and there. The latter won against veteran participant Iossif Dorfman, who would eventually finish on a decent eighth place.

The grand finale on Thursday saw the dream pairing Bacrot versus Vachier-Lagrave, while Fressinet had Black against Christian Bauer. The game between the two 2700s didn’t disappoint the fans:

This meant that Fressinet was in the position to keep his title, but he lost to Bauer, who went “all in” from the start in a sharp Modern Defence. And so Vachier-Lagrave, who was the favourite for the title, finished clear first with 7/11.
On Sunday morning the tournament organisers faced an unfortunate surprise, as it became clear that 230 chess clocks had been stolen. For groups B, C and D the round had to be postponed for a day, and so they will only finish on Friday.
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