More than 3,400 people have already participated in the first edition of the French online chess championship, the first stage of which ends on Sunday, the French Chess Federation (FFE) said on Friday. This French championship, divided into two categories, mixed and women's, has already brought together 3,481 participants since its start on Tuesday. Registrations, free and open to non-French licensees, are possible until Sunday, the date of the end of the first qualifying round. The federation hopes to double the number of registrants.
The FFE is thus aimed at “four million casual players” more accustomed to friendly competitions organized by online chess platforms than to tournaments on the board. For the first edition of an online French championship, several figures are expected, such as the 2021 world champion of blitz pace game (ultra-fast), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the junior world champion Marc'Andria Maurizzi or the former world No. 3 among women Almira Skripchenko.
“This competition was imagined as a great popular celebration, allowing amateurs to compete against titled players,” explains Eloi Relange, the president of the FFE, in a statement sent to AFP. Three qualifying “arenas” have already taken place and two more are being held on Saturday and Sunday. Players play games in blitz format for two hours, with a capital of three minutes of reflection per player at the start and two seconds added per move played.
Two hundred qualifiers for the mixed tournament and 100 for the women's tournament will go through a second round on February 10 from home with reinforced anti-cheating systems before a final phase in Paris the first weekend in March.