For the first time in its history, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) held the World University Championships for chess and bridge simultaneously and online, from 26 to 30 October 2020.
France finished 27th out of 78. With a score of 4.5/7, Alexis Cahen achieved the best result of the French team.
“We were unlucky: one hour before the games were due to start, one of our players felt unwell and had to be taken to A&E for a serious case of COVID-19. This not only weakened our configuration, it was also bit of a blow to our morale. Fortunately, she is now recovering slowly… We also fell victim to a Chinese team we were up against in our second match. In the end their rating was lowered, because one of their players was cheating! In short, it was not a great success in sporting terms, but it was a very rewarding experience and there was a great atmosphere within the team.” told Alexis Cahen.
Alexis Cahen (pictured) is a Master in Management student in Lille. He learned to play chess around the age of nine, with his father, “a very modest player”. His growing interest for the game prompted his parents to enrol him in a club and he obtained his licence from L’Ecole Française d’Echecs de Metz, a chess club located 200 metres from his home. He stayed with this club for nearly ten years. In 2015, Alexis began organising international tournaments, becoming the youngest organiser of the French Chess Federation at just 14 years of age. He has also been refereeing chess matches since 2019.
Alexis has already won several major tournaments, such as the La Bresse and Metz opens and the Besançon open (a professional competition). For aficionados, his current FIDE rating is 2141 points, which puts him closer to a semi-professional level. Alexis is currently a candidate to join the next steering committee of the French Chess Federation (election in April 2021).
Yovann Gatineau (Master in Management student in Paris) learned to play chess when he was three years old and has been club-licenced since the age of five. He has been playing for 15 years. He is an International Master, a title attributed based on performance, equivalent to a professional level. He is currently ranked 55th in France and third in the under-20s category, with an FIDE rating of 2423 points.
“Representing France abroad is always a great source of pride for me; it is one of my motivations for playing chess. This is the first time that I am representing my school in an international competition. Being selected for the French team makes me even prouder, even though I have already played in international championships as an individual competitor (the European Individual Chess Championship and the World Chess Championship). I would like to become a Grandmaster (the highest title awarded in chess) and continue to play in international competitions while studying at SKEMA,” he said.
Congratulations to our two champions!