The 7th Rapid Chess Championship of the Francophonie was organized this year on March 19 & 20 jointly by the Lyon Olympique Echecs and the Francophone Chess Association (AIDEF) in partnership with the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, in the premises of the magnificent Hotel of Region, informs the ECU official website. It brought together 169 participants from 13 countries, including 8 Grand Masters, 11 International Masters and 8 FIDE Masters, which is the record participation of the tournament and testifies to an exceptionally high level. It must be said that the 6000 euros guaranteed price had attracted a lot of people!
The championship, first scheduled for December 2020, had to be postponed twice due to Covid19, but the final dates were not chosen at random: in fact, it was March 20 that the International Francophonie Day is celebrated around the world.
Recently, the sanctions taken against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine and the outbreak of war, deprived the organizers of the presence of the six-time world champion Anatoly Karpov who had agreed to sponsor the event.
The direction of the tournament was provided by Christophe Leroy and the refereeing by Laurent Freyd and his team.
It all started on Friday March 18 at 5 p.m. with a press conference attended by MM. Philippe Meunier, Vice-President of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, Patrick Van Hoolandt, President of AIDEF, Bachar Kouatly, FIDE Deputy President, Xavier Popeler, President of Lyon Olympique Echecs, Christophe Leroy, Director from Lyon Olympique Echecs and Guy Tisserant, paralympic world No. 1 champion table tennis player from 1992 to 1998.
Then, a session of giant simultaneous champions was given by Marc Andria Maurizzi, the youngest French Grand Master, Philéas Mathieu, Champion of France Minimes 2021, Elise Tomasi, Champion of France University 2022, Florence Rollot, Champion of France junior 2021 and Sarah Djidjeli Vice-champion of France 2018.
A cocktail offered by the partners and then a dinner bringing together the officials and the organizers closed the day.
The following 2 days were devoted to the competition: 13 rounds Swiss system – Cadence 15 minutes + 10 seconds awaited the participants, but according to a different formula this year: After the first 10 rounds, the players who finished in the first 8 competed between them quarter-finals, then semi-finals with direct elimination and then a final for the title, the others continuing to play the last 3 rounds for the allocation of places from the 9th.
This final was played between Pierre Laurent-Paoli and Maxime Lagarde in the hemicycle of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, and it is finally the latter who wins for the second time, after Cannes in 2018, the title of Francophone Rapid Chess Champion.
The overall ranking is therefore as follows:
- IGM Maxime Lagarde (France)
- IM Pierre Laurent-Paoli (France)
- IGM Christian Bauer (France)
- IGM Alexandre Dgebuadze (Belgium)
- IM Yohan Benitah (France)
- IM Nderim Saraci (Kosovo)
- IGM Gabriel Flom (France)
- IM Anatole Vlachos (Greece)
- IGM Marc Andria Maurizzi (France)
- IM Mahel Boyer (France)
- FM Samuel Malka (France)
- IM Fred Berend (Luxembourg)
1st -2200 ELO – IGM Marc Andria Maurizzi (France)
1st -2000 ELO – Tristan Bregnac (France)
1st -1800 ELO – Luca Ernst (France)
1st Women – WIM Ekaterini Pavlidou (Greece)
1st -20 years old – IM Anatole Vlachos (Greece)
1st Senior +50 – IGM Alexandre Dgebuadze (Belgium)
1st Veteran +65 – Alain Wauters (France)
This was followed by the award ceremony and a cocktail reception for all! Ranking list can be found here.
AIDEF would like to thank the entire Lyon Olympique Echecs team, the volunteers, the arbiters, the private and institutional sponsors, especially the Confederation of small and medium-sized enterprises (CPME) and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, without whom nothing would have been possible.