Chess - The Scotsman 28/08/2012
THE 87th French Championship in Pau ended on a sad note and a quadruple tie for first. The last round had to be abandoned owing to the death of the four-month old daughter of one of the leaders of the tournament, Christian Bauer.
The players took the sporting decision not to play the 11th and final round, but to determine the champion on the basis of ten rounds. By that stage, as reported yesterday, four players had 7 points: Étienne Bacrot, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Romain Édouard and Bauer himself. A play-off for the crown was scheduled for Saturday, without Bauer’s participation. But the other three players magnanimously decided that all four should instead share the title, the first time this has ever happened in the long history of the tournament.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, France was a great chess centre. Two of the greatest players of the era, Francois-Andre Danican Philidor and Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais, were French, and the the Café de la Régence in Paris was a gathering place for anyone who liked to play the game, including Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte.
But as the game grew in popularity worldwide, France’s place in the chess hierarchy fell. In recent years, France has returned to chess prominence, with designs again on becoming a superpower. Two of the world’s top 35 players are French, and the country is now No 3 in the World Chess Federation rankings, behind Russia and Ukraine, and ahead of Hungary, Armenia, China and the USA.
C Bauer - M Lagarde
87th French Ch., (7)
Sicilian Defence, Rossolimo variation
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 0–0 Bd7 5 Re1 Nf6 6 h3 a6 7 Bf1 e6 8 c3 Be7 9 d4 cxd4 10 cxd4 d5 11 e5 Ne4 12 Nc3 Nxc3 13 bxc3 Rc8 14 Nh2 h5 15 Re3 Na5 16 Rb1 b5 17 Rg3 Bh4 18 Rxg7 Kf8 19 Rg3 Bxg3 20 fxg3 Rxc3 21 Bd2 Rc8 22 g4 Nc4 23 Bb4+ Kg7 24 gxh5 Qg5 25 Rb3 a5 26 Qe1! axb4 27 Rg3 Rxh5 28 Rxg5+ Rxg5 29 Qh4 Rf5 30 Bd3 Nb2 31 Bxf5 exf5 32 Qf6+ Kf8 33 Nf3 1–0
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