The Rapid and Blitz French championship was scheduled to be played in Orsay, but the coronavirus pandemic spoiled the initial plan. The blitz section of the championship (with time control: 3+2) was run online, May 16-17, and brought together 709 players, including 34 grandmasters. The line-up boasted of such stars as Alireza Firouzja and Vasyl Ivanchuk, who won the qualification phase on Day 1.
Day 2 played in knockout-format, started sensationally as Alireza Firouzja was surprisingly eliminated by Kacper Piorun in the Round of 16. Other pre-event favorites Rauf Mamedov, Vasyl Ivanchuk, and Baadur Jobava turned in a very solid performance and made it to the semifinals.
Mamedov beat Ivanchuk in Armageddon game and reached the final in which he was up against a three-time French Champion Christian Bauer who whitewashed Jobava (2-0). The four-game final was much closer than the score suggests - Christian gave Rauf a run for his money, leveling the score after losing the first game. In the fourth and final game, the Frenchman found himself in a must-win situation but failed to do the trick.
Nevertheless, as the best French player in this tournament, Christian Bauer became French Online Blitz champion; Sophie Milliet wins the French women's champion title.
The tournament was broadcast on Twitch with commentary by GM Matthieu Cornette, 2016 French champion, and Kévin Bordi, a popular French streamer with more than 1500 viewers following the event simultaneously.
The French Blitz Championship also served a noble purpose, as 20% of the registration fees were donated to the associations fighting against the coronavirus: the Fondation de France and the Blouses Roses.
The French Chess Federation would like to thank the city of Orsay for supporting this championship.