Born in Lille, France (1983). Grandmaster (1997).
Étienne Bacrot gained his FM title when he was 10, then the youngest to ever do so. He then proceeded to win his IM title when he was 12 and the GM title at 14 years and 2 months, which at the time made him the youngest Grandmaster ever. Twice a youth world champion, he defeated former World Champion Vasily Smyslov 5-1 in a match in Albert in 1996, won the French Championship a record seven times, and still is a contender for the world title. While Bacrot was French number one for many years and a consistent 2700+ rated GM including having been a world top-10 player in 2005, he has not fulfilled the explosive potential he displayed in the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s.
<Age>: Bacrot was both U10 European and U10 World Champion in 1993, and both U12 European and U12 World Champion in 1995.
<National and Continental>: Bacrot won the French Championship five consecutive times from 1999 to 2003, then again in the French Championship (2008), and he shared the first place and first prize at the French Championship (2012) with Christian Bauer, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Romain Edouard, all four players being declared co-champions by the French Federation. (1) Another good result was 3rd place in the French Championship (2010).
Bacrot competed in the 2003 European Championship, scoring 8/13, placed =5th European Union Championships (2008) with 7/10 and scored 7.5/11 at the 13th European Individual Championship (2012), sufficient to qualify him for participation in the 2013 World Cup.
<World>: Bacrot’s first tilt at the World Championship was at the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000). Qualifying because his rating as a junior was over 2600, he eliminated Mikhail Rytshagov in the first round tiebreaker and then fell to Peter Svidler in the second round tiebreaker. Bacrot’s next attempt at the World Championship came 3 years later at Tripoli in Libya, where he beat Pascal Charbonneau and Darmen Sadvakasov before losing to Teimour Radjabov in the 3rd round tiebreaker. The following year, Bacrot placed 3rd in the 2005 World Cup, after defeating Stanley Chumfwa, Robert Kempinski, Emil Sutovsky, Joel Lautier, Sergei Rublevsky, Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk to qualify for the 2007 Candidates matches to determine the final make up of the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007). He was overwhelmed in the Candidates Match: Bacrot-Kamsky (2007) to lose by 3.5-0.5.
He tried again in the World Chess Cup (2007), defeating Darwin Laylo and Michael Roiz in the first couple of rounds, only to lose to Sergey Karjakin in the 3rd round. He participated in the 2008-09 Grand Prix series without making it to the leader board, and so participated in World Cup (2009) to rekindle his World Championship ambitions. There he defeated Friso Nijboer, Krishnan Sasikiran and Wang Yue, but bowed out in the 4th round to finalist and former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. In the World Cup (2011), Bacrot fared similarly: defeating Ray Robson and Anton Filippov in the early rounds, he again lost in round 3, this time to Radjabov. Bacrot’s next chance comes in the 2013 World Cup, to which he qualified by reason of his result in the 2012 European Championship (see above).
Bacrot became the youngest International Master in the world, at the age of 12, at Enghien-les-Bains 1995. He gained his his 3rd GM norm by winning the category 10 Enghien-les-Bains tournament in 1997 ahead of Viktor Korchnoi. He won the category 9 Bermuda in 1999 and placed =3rd at the category 17 Enghien-les-Bains 2001 behind Vladimir Akopian and Lautier. He also won the first edition of the Lausanne young masters knockout tournament in May 1999, beating Ruslan Ponomariov in the final after placing last in his preliminary pool rounds to determine the pairings. He did not compete in the Lausanne event in 2000 but was runner up in 2001, losing in the final to Lazaro Bruzon and in 2003, losing in the final to Luke McShane. He placed =3rd in the category 18 NAO Masters in Cannes in April 2002, behind Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand, and =2nd at Biel International Chess Festival (2003) behind Alexander Morozevich. He came first 1st at the 10th Torneo Verona A in Italy with 6/7 in 2004.
In 2005, he scored 6/9, half point behind the 5 co-leaders. At the Aeroflot Open (2005), Bacrot placed
=1st in the category 18 6th Poikovsky Karpov Tournament (2005) taking first place and first prize on tiebreak ahead of co-leader Viktor Bologan, and equal second at the category 19 Dortmund Sparkassen 2005 (2005), half a point behind the surprise winner, 19-year old German prodigy Arkadi Naiditsch. In 2006, he was less successful, recording minus scores in the Corus Wijk aan Zee (2006), Linares 2006 (2006) and MTel Masters (2006) super tournaments, consequently falling back to 18th place in the world rankings at the end of the year. In 2009, he won the powerful Aeroflot Open (2009) and subsequently placed 2nd at the category 15 Montreal International Chess Tournament (2009), half a point behind Naiditsch; =2nd at category 15 InventiChess event in Antwerp in Belgium and was =1st in a 9-way tie for first at Gibraltar (2010).
2010 saw Bacrot place 3rd at the category 21 Nanjing Pearl Spring Tournament (2010) behind Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, and win the 2010 Geneva Open. In Jan 2011, he was =1st (3rd on tiebreak) at Basel Chess Festival. Later that year in October 2011, Bacrot won the 12th Karpov International (2011) on count back from Sergey Karjakin, both scoring 5.5/9 (+2 =7). In February 2012, Bacrot came second, scoring 6.5/8 plus a forfeit, at the 26th International Games Festival in Cannes, scored 7/9 in the International Neckar Open 2012, which was followed by a poor result in the Grandmaster Tournament at the Biel Chess Festival (2012). He finished 2012 by winning the International Open in Geneva between Christmas and New Year. His first result in 2013 was winning the Baden Baden Open outright with a score of 7/9. This was followed by his outright first in the 2nd d'Ajaccio Open 2013 in France in April 2013, where he scored 8.5/9.
<Olympiad>: Bacrot represented France in five Olympiads, including 1996, 1998, Bled Olympiad (2002), 37th Chess Olympiad (2006) and Olympiad (2008). He gained his first GM norm at Yerevan 1996 (2). Bacrot scored 6/8 in the 37th Chess Olympiad in 2006 against opponents averaging 2640, gaining 13 Elo points, earning him the bronze medal for the third best individual performance in the Olympiad. His overall games results for the Olympiads in which he participated was 64% from 50 games (+19 =26 -5).
<European Team Championships>: Playing board 1 for France, he lead his country to 2nd in 2001 and 3rd in 2005. He also played in 2007, 2009 and 2011, all on board 1. Games results were 52.5% for 40 games (+6 =30 -4).
<European Club/Team Championships>: Bacrot first played with the NAO chess club, many times French team champion and European club champion. He played with NAO in the ECC every year from 2002-2005, winning team golds in European Clubs Cup (Men) (2003) and 20th European Club Cup (2004), and individual silver in 2003. He did not participate in the ECC in 2006, but joined OSG Baden Baden in 2007, where he has remained – usually on board 2 - playing every year since then except for 2010. In 2008, he won team silver and individual gold (for board 2), and followed up with individual silver in the European Club Cup (2011) for board 3. His overall games record for his period from 2002-2012 in the ECC was 64.7% from 58 games (+25 =25 -8).
<National Club/Team Championships>: Bacrot played for Paris NAO in the domestic team championships in France. His most notable accomplishment was a stunning 11/11 score in the team championship of 2004, leading NAO to a 4 point victory over Monaco and Cannes. He has also played in the Bundesliga, the Spanish league (CECLUB), the Greek Team Cup and the 4NCL. His results in the 2012-13 Bundesliga added 20 ratings points to his rating in May 2013.
As well as playing in tournaments and team competitions, between 1996 and 2004 inclusive, Bacrot played annual six-game matches against players in his home town of Albert. Results were as follows:
• 1996: defeated Vasily Smyslov 5–1 (3)
• 1997: lost to Viktor Korchnoi 4–2
• 1998: defeated Robert Huebner 3½–2½ (4)
• 1999: lost to Alexander Beliavsky 3½–2½ (5)
• 2000: lost to Nigel Short 4–2 (6)
• 2001: tied 3–3 with Emil Sutovsky (7)
• 2002: beat Boris Gelfand 3½–2½, (8) and in
• 2004: won against Ivan Sokolov 3½–2½ (9) (there was no match in 2003 and has been none since 2004).
In 1995, Bacrot earned the right to play in the PCA rapid Grand Prix held in Paris. In 1999, he defeated Judit Polgar 3–1 in a rapid match in Bastia, and in 2000, while still aged 17, he tied Anatoly Karpov in a rapid match 3–3. He qualified for the quarter-final of the Cap D'Agde FRA (2003) and in 2013 he won the Corsica Masters (Rapid), defeating Laurent Fressinet in the final. In March 2013, he placed first to qualify for the final 16 in the Nancy leg of the French Rapid Grand Prix circuit, but lost in the first mini-match 0.5-1.5 to Vladimir Dobrov. In April 2013, he won the final of the 10th Balagne Rapid Open after a final Armageddon blitz game, again against Fressinet.
Won the 2006 FiNet Chess960 Open with a 9½/11 score.
<Classical> Bacrot first passed the mark of 2700 in Elo rating in 2004. In January 2005, he became the first French player to enter the top 10, and reached and maintained #9 from April till December 2005, still his highest ranking to date. His highest Elo rating of 2731 was achieved in April 2005.
As of 1 May 2013, Bacrot's rating was 2725, ranking him number 1 in France and number 23 in the world;
<Rapid> 2708 (world #33); and
<Blitz> 2744 (world #19).
He is married to Nathalie Bonnafous, and they have a son, Alexandre, and a daughter, Victoria.
Sources and endnotes:
Live rating list: http://www.2700chess.com/; Wikipedia article: %C3%89tienne Bacrot
(3) search "smyslov-bacrot"
(4) search "huebner-bacrot 1998 albert"
(5) search "beliavsky-bacrot 1999"
(6) search "short-bacrot 2000 match"
(7) search "sutovsky-bacrot 2001"
(8) search "gelfand-bacrot 2002"
(9) search "sokolov-bacrot 2004"