The 88th French Chess Championships were held from 11th to 23rd August at the Palais des sports Jean Weille in Nancy.
846 players (not counting all the players in many blitz and other activities around the official events) competed in 9 official tournaments organised by the French Chess Federation and its new president Diego Salazar.
24 professionals fought in the two “Nationaux” groups for the two official titles of 2013 French Chess Champions – 12 men in the “National” and 12 women in the “National-féminin”.
In fact, there were only 11 men because GM Marie Sebag, top French female player and number 10 in the world, chose to play with the men. She had already won the women’s championship at age 14. Amongst her male colleagues, she suffered a bit, finishing last with 3,0/11 points, but she probably learned a lot.
In the absence of the three 2700-rated stars Vachier-Lagrave, Bacrot and Fressinet, who competed in the World Cup 2013 in Tromso, the top seeded players were young Romain Edouard (2662), the ex-European champion Vladislav Tkachiev (2637) and the local boy Christian Bauer (2633).
It is a big surprise that none of them finished in top 3! Finally, two experienced Grandmasters in their forties made an impressive tournament – Hicham Hamdouchi (2613 and 41-years old) and Jean-Marc Degraeve (2563 and 42-years old) finished equal first with 7,5/11 each.
Similar story in the women’s championship with the big favourite Sophie Milliet (2401) finishing only third, and two players who made the tournament of their life – Nino Maisuradze (2288) and Mathilde Congiu (2190) finishing equal first with 8,5/11 points each.
The tie-break matches were necessary to attribute the two special “Vases de Sèvres”, offered by the French President since year 1914 (!), plus a beautiful sculpture from “Daum”, a luxury items company from Nancy (http://www.daum.fr/ ).
Hamdouchi quickly claimed the national trophy by one draw and one win in the rapid games, whereas the girls had to play some blitz after two draws in rapid. Finally Maisuradze won two games and her first French champion title.
All results and games : http://www.echecs.asso.fr/Default.aspx?Cat=15
Official website : http://www.nancyechecs2013.com/
All videos : http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtFhgGFOmt5gFtTXtHsrrQA
Report by IM Christophe Philippe
(Click on photo thumbnails for full size)