The French Federation has come up with an interesting idea that other federations may be interested in following.
A Grand Prix series of four high-profile, big prize money rapid events throughout 2012. These are planned for Paris (Port-Marly), Nancy, Aix-les-Bains and Bastia, all of which are well-know venues in French chess circles.
The first of these events was played over two days.
On Saturday 8th of January a rapidplay open (15' + 5") with 150 players took place, and from which the top seven qualified to join special guest Laurent Fressinet in the further stages. These eight then played on Sunday 9th of January with a knock-out format.
On Saturday, the top twenty finished as follows:
|2||DAVID Alberto||2598||Lutèce Echecs||7½||2750|
|3||BACROT Etienne||2704||Marseille Echecs||7||2743|
|4||ISTRATESCU Andrei||2628||Marseille Echecs||7||2739|
|5||GHARAMIAN Tigran||2676||L'Echiquier Deauvilla…||7||2738|
|6||TREGUBOV Pavel V.||2599||Clichy-Echecs-92||7||2730|
|10||EDOUARD Romain||2616||L'Echiquier Chalonnais||6½||2709|
|11||APICELLA Manuel||2541||Grasse Echecs||6½||2660|
|16||BARSOV Alexei||2514||L'Echiquier Chalonnais||6½||2539|
|18||NAIDITSCH Arkadij||2702||Marseille Echecs||6||2638|
|19||FEDORCHUK Sergey A.||2634||Evry Grand Roque||6||2573|
|20||LAHNO Kateryna||2557||Cannes Echecs||6||2558|
So no qualification place for second seed Arkadij Naiditsch who finished on a lowly 6/9. However the unluckiest players were Alexander Zubarev and Alojzije Jankovic who came away with nothing, despite obtaining 7/9.
The eight cash prizes were decided on Sunday:
|Alberto David||1.5-2.5||Etienne Bacrot|
|Tigran Gharamian||0.5-1.5||Maxime Vachier Lagrave|
|Pavel Tregubov||0.5-1.5||Alexandr Fier|
|Andreï Istratescu||0.5-1.5||Laurent Fressinet|
The big surprise came in the semis.
|Etienne Bacrot||0-2||Alexandr Fier|
|Laurent Fressinet||0.5-1.5||Maxime Vachier Lagrave|
Then Vachier-Lagrave again showed his class in the quicker forms of chess.
|Alexandr Fier||0.5-1.5||Maxime Vachier Lagrave|
Prizes in Euros:
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: 4000
Alexandr Fier: 2500
Etienne Bacrot and Laurent Fressinet: 1250
Quarter Finalists: 700