Hoogeveen matches: Hou Yifan-Short and Van Foreest-Sokolov

Tournament director Loek van Wely has succeeded in organizing two top-level matches for the Hoogeveen Chess Tournament, from Sunday 16 up to and including Saturday 22 October in the town hall of Hoogeveen. Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan will face former vice World Champion Nigel Short, and the Dutch top talent Jorden van Foreest will cross swords with two-time Dutch champion Ivan Sokolov.

Not only are all of these four players great fighters at the chessboard, but three of them are, or were, also chess prodigies. Short already belonged to the world chess elite at a very young age. Hou Yifan was the youngest World Champion ever, at 16, in 2010. Jorden van Foreest is the greatest Dutch talent behind Anish Giri, and he wants to fight his way to the world elite as well. The 17-year-old grandmaster already took a big step last year when he lost his match with Jan Timman by only the narrowest of margins. Sokolov was a quick starter too: at 19 he was already a grandmaster, and since 1992 he has been playing in the Netherlands, where he has achieved many successes.

The match between Hou Yifan and Short may become piquant, since the Englishman once wrote that women are still clearly worse at chess than men. He added that if anyone could bridge this gap, it would be Hou Yifan. And the strongest woman player in the world gladly comes to Hoogeveen to prove Short right.

The matches will be played over six rounds. Wednesday 19 October is a rest day. Concurrent with the matches, an open tournament will be played, with many grandmasters from all over the world. The Indian Abhijeet Gupta, last year’s winner, will try to repeat this success here. He will get competition from, among others, the Dutch grandmasters Sipke Ernst and Jan Werle, and an ‘old hand’, Oleg Romanishin. There are also two amateur tournaments.