Here is the report about the last French Open from Bethune
by Fabrice Wantiez

All reports are on with a lot of pictures.

The 29th edition of the Bethune Open was played from 26th to 30th ofDecember 2008 in a little city of the North of France. The first edition was all the way back in 1980.

Henri Kuc was the creator and since his death the tournament was renamed to “Henri Kuc Challenge “.

Official site:

There are more than 8,000 euros prizes.

There are two different tournaments in the same time: A section for players with more than 1900 ELO and a B for players with less than 1900 ELO. There were a record 238 players this year with 31 players with a title (8 GMs and 10 IMs).

The prices for the drink and food and for the accommodations were very inexpensive.

The Open was played in a beautiful hall in the first floor of a shop center named “La Rotonde” in the center of Bethune.

Belorussian GM Sergei Azarov (2613, performance of 2675) won the tournament and the first prize of 1,500 euros. He scored the same points as 3 others IGM. He began the tournament with 6/6 and a win in the 4th round against Russian GM Vladimir Burmakin (2625).

He lost against Georgian GM Tornike Sanikidze (2522) in the 8th round. Dutch GM Erwin L’Ami (2610) lost his first round against a compatriot Roi Miedema (2307) but came back strong. He was not far from winning the tournament if he can win his last game with a little rook endgame advantage against Sanikidze.

The great Belgian young talent Tanguy Ringoir (14y, 2354) made his first IM norm as did French Women’s Champion Sophie Milliet (2366), François Fargere (2444), Fabrice Mandon (2219) and Jean-François Jolly (2355).

Here you can also find a nice video made by Jean-Michel Delfosse from

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