Vaujany is a village located in the French Alps and is mainly known for its winter sports thanks to its cable cars which connect it to important ski areas. The place is just as pleasant in summer and since 2010 has hosted the Vaujany chess festival, which we have attended four times.
Used to the Vaujany chess festival, we decided to go back for this 2022 edition (July 14 to 22). We did not regret our choice because at an altitude of 1200 meters we experienced the heat wave in a much more pleasant way than most Europeans.
The chess festival takes place in the Vaujany leisure area, a building that also houses a swimming pool and sports hall. The location is pleasant and close to accommodation and restaurants. The video below gives you a quick overview of our journey from our accommodation to the playing room.
The Vaujany festival consists of three opens: the main tournament (fide ranking > 1800), the “accession” tournament (fide ranking < 1900) and the “petits zelos” tournament (fide ranking < 1500). The rounds are played in the afternoon except for the last round.
The French grandmaster Christian Bauer won the 2022 main tournament with 7.5 points out of 9, the podium was completed by Isik Can (Turkey) and Glenn Flear (England). The tournament deserves the name of international tournament with 11 nationalities represented (and important announcements made in English).
The last two years, the maximum capacity of registered players has been reached, so if you are interested in this tournament we advise you to register early as many regulars come back every year.
Finally, one of the characteristics of the Vaujany Chess Festival is that you will usually come across one or more “chess holiday camps”. So expect to come across groups of youngsters accompanied by one or more coaches who will be highly motivated and prepared to play against you if you meet them in the tournament!
“accession” tournament: 5 points/9 – 24°/69
I was hoping for a better result in this tournament even if I am far from the disaster of last year when I lost 80 points. Lately I’m having a hard time getting my head in the tournament and I usually perform poorly in the first 2-3 rounds.
Main tournament: 4 points / 9 – 54°/95
Disastrous tournament on my side. Despite a good draw in round 2 against the GM Jozsef Horvath, I lost several games on deep preparations from my opponents. My defeats of the last two rounds close terribly this tournament and make me go below 2200 …
Even if our results are often disappointing in Vaujany, it remains a tournament that we enjoy very much and we will gladly return. We wish chess camps had existed 15-20 years ago so that we could have enjoyed them rather than suffering on the chessboard today!
Among the French tournaments, Vaujany is our favourite, even if in four editions we have lost 137 Elo points between the two of us, if you see them around, please return them.
What we liked
What we liked less
Vaujany is a village perched at an altitude of 1250 m in the department of Isère, close to Savoie. Its etymology is “Via-janus”: gateway (the gateway from Dauphiné to Savoie). Nestled in the heart of the Alps the village faces the “Grandes Rousses” massif, offering a superb panorama of the Fare waterfall.
The village was previously dedicated to agriculture and mountain breeding but experienced a significant demographic decline throughout the 20th century. Several important transformations took place at the end of the 20th century with the construction of the Grand’Maison dam (work completed in 1985). Over the last thirty years, the village has been transformed into a resort, with numerous chalets and tourist residences mainly oriented towards winter sports, with links to the Alpes d’Huez area. Summer activities are not left out, hiking, trails, via-ferrata, mountain biking or road cycling, the resort even has a chess tournament since 2010!
We really enjoyed walking in the morning before each game, doing loops of less than 5km, but “real” hikers have the possibility to go on trails of different lengths with more or less difference in altitude, cool passages in the forest by streams or waterfalls and offering superb panoramas!
This concludes our review of the Vaujany Chess Festival, a tournament we particularly enjoy and will be playing again in the years to come. We will stay in France for our next tournament which will take place in Albi in mid August.