Happy - final report Hoogeveen Chess Tournament 2019

At the end of this successful 23rd Hoogeveen tournament, tournament director Loek van Wely thanked all the sponsors, and especially the Province of Drenthe and the municipality of Hoogeveen, who made this great event possible. Alderman Erwin Slomp said he was satisfied with the tournament, mentioning the 237 participants from 22 different countries, and fine youth events like the Grand Prix and the simultaneous display by Dutch champion Lucas van Foreest at McDonald’s. He had closely followed the new chess star Alireza Firouzja, who showed he is a true future candidate for the World Championship; his sporting and fighting opponent Jorge Cori Tello, and also the tense match between Zhansaya Abdumalik and Jan Timman. ‘This event is followed online all over the world, and also here in the chess café there were a lot of visitors.’ The alderman made a special mention of Andries Mellema from Hoogeveen, who won the Amateur Group I, and another local hero, Elez Limani, who had been doing fine in this group. Slomp also looked to the future: ‘Who knows how many youth players from this town will be playing here in the coming years?’ In English he thanked all the foreign players for their presence and participation, and wished them a good journey home – all over the world! 

Then Van Wely handed out the prizes for Amateur Group I to Andries Mellema (the winner with 8 out of 8! – ‘you’re going to have to play in the Open next year’), and to second and third places Ben Poelstra and Kevin Brandts (both 6 points). The rating prize in this group went to 12-year-old Manasvita Basa. In the Open group, Moksh Amit Doshi was awarded an IM-norm, and here the rating prize went to another 12-year-old: Dev Shah from India. The main prizes went to:

1.Sipke Ernst

2.Javokhir Sindarov

3.Jan Werle

4.Viktoriia Kirchei

Van Wely called both Sindarov and Kirchei ‘big revelations’ in this tournament.

The prize winners of the ‘rest Open’ were:

5/6.Roeland Pruijssers and Moksh Amit Doshi

7.Akash Ganesan

8-10.Casper Schoppen, Nico Zwirs and Thomas Beerdsen

Of the match players, Van Wely first called out Jorge Cori and Alireza Firouzja, saying that he was happy with all the nice fighting games played by them. Peruvian grandmaster Cori smiled and said he was happy too, despite his 4½-1½ loss. ‘It was great to be here, and the games were very interesting.’ And the winner, 16-year-old super-talent Alireza Firouzja from Iran, agreed with him. He received a special chess board with African pieces.

The match between Zhansaya Abdumalik and Jan Timman had been a very close one. ‘I was afraid for Jan when he lost the first game,’ Van Wely said. ‘I was also worried,’ Timman admitted.’ But the match turned around and Timman won 3½-2½, although the final game was still very close. ‘I got into trouble after I made a Fingerfehler,’ Timman said. Then he opined that ‘this set of matches has been the best in Hoogeveen so far.’

Alderman Slomp presented the winner of this match, Jan Timman, with a horror-like painting by Berry of a chess game, depicting Timman’s game with Spassky in Montreal 1979 (which ended in a draw). Timman was pleasantly surprised with the original gift, mentioning that another painting was once made of a game of his, against Kovacevic, by a Ukrainian painter. ‘That one will probably be worth a lot today,’ Van Wely laughed. Then he invited everyone present to have a drink at the bar, to close off another great edition of the Hoogeveen Chess tournament in style.