If there were an equivalent of the Monaco Grand Prix in the world of Chess, the women of the Chess Circle of Monte Carlo just took first place on the podium.
The news that is reverberating in the Principality is that the Chess Circle of Monte-Carlo has won the Women’s Club Championship of France (Top 12 Women) – and also another championship, the Parity Cup, paired with the men. Both competitions took place in Saint Quentin in Picardy in Northern France.
The women’s team of the Chess Circle of Monte-Carlo eliminated in the semifinals the reigning French champions, Clichy with a score of 2 to 1. One of the most highly contested games included the one that opposed the Monaco player Pia Cramling in the semifinal against Clichy’s former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk. It took 6 hours 15 minutes of play ( more than three times longer than a Grand Prix race ) and 114 moves to end in a draw and qualifying the Monte Carlo women for the final! In the final, the Monte Carlo Women won 1-0 against Bischwiller and won their first title as Champions of France (Women’s Clubs).
In the earlier group stage on the way to their eventual play-off against Clichy the Monte Carlo women won all five games, finishing in 1st place in Group A, and thus qualified for the semi-finals against Clichy who had finished 2nd in Group B.
The Monte Carlo women’s team, who are newly crowned as 2019 French Champions include:
1st chessboard: Pia CRAMLING: 4.5 out of 7 points (2 wins, 5 draws)
2nd chessboard: Deimante CORNETTE; 4.5 points out of 7 (3 wins, 3 draws, 1 defeat)
3rd chessboard: Tatiana DORNBUSCH: 6 out of 7 points (5 wins, 2 draws)
4th chessboard: Maria LECONTE: 6.5 points out of 7 (6 wins, 1 draw)
Captain: Jean-Michel RAPAIRE
The Chess Circle of Monte Carlo also won in the final phase of the Parity Cup – a hard-fought win indeed. Teams in the Parity Cup consist of two women and two men (whose total points can not exceed 8000). Sixteen teams met over five rounds. Monte Carlo with 3 games won and 2 draws narrowly won the Parity Cup. At the end of the day a narrow win is as satisfying, even more so perhaps, as an easy win.
The Monegasque team included Jean-François NELIS, Patrick VAN HOOLANDT, Kenia JOSE POLANCO and Svetlana BEREZOVSKA.
An immense joy for the two Monegasque teams, with their achievement emblazoned in gold as winners from the Chess Circle of Monte-Carlo. The Monte Carlo Chess Circle is not new to winning. It has a formidable record in Europe including:
7 times European Women’s Club Champion (2007 2008 2010 2012 2013 2016 2018)
2 times Club Champions of France (2001 2002)
1 time Women’s Club Champion of France(2019)
Jean Michel Rapaire, President of the CHESS CIRCLE of Monte Carlo is no doubt feeling very proud as are all the Chess Circle’s fans in Monaco.