Reigning Dutch champion Lucas van Foreest (18) started off the Hoogeveen Chess tournament this morning with a simultaneous display for around 25 local children at McDonald's in Hoogeveen. It was a nice and lively event, and the young champion conceded one draw to a girl who was 10 years younger than he. ,,She played 12 moves theory in an English Opening", Lucas said, amazed. Her good play was later rewarded by a draw. We didn't get her name, so if you read this please come forward so we can mention it!
On an entirely different note: we are very honoured to have draughts World Champion Alexandr Georgiev in our midst. This morning he played his first game in the Amateur II - and won!
The Open of the 23rd Hoogeveen Chess tournament has just started! As tournament director Loek van Wely said in his short opening speech, he was glad that the field is very colourful this year, with (also) participants from Africa, Latin America and Asia. And he could already hand out the first prize: the Max Euwe Centre had asked him to give the award for the greatest Dutch chess talent to Casper Schoppen (17), who takes part in the Open. Van Wely had just one question: 'Do you think you deserve it?' The answer came very decidedly: 'Yes, I think I deserve it.' Then he shook hands with Lucas van Foreest, the reigning Dutch champion who was also present. The 18-year-old might also have been a candidate for the prize, but he had already won it in 2017, and besides, can you still be called a talent if you are the champion of your country?
Van Wely mentioned that after every round there are special prizes for special games, made available by the local chessbook shop De Beste Zet.
Chief arbiter Frans Peeters announced that participants in the Open can take a bye in one of the first six rounds (and get half a point), but players who have taken a bye cannot win a money prize and cannot qualify for the playoffs that take place between the first 4 players after the 7th round.
Furthermore, te tournament has new anti-cheating measures: all the games in the Open are broadcast live on Chess.com, which has a program that looks at 'precision statistics', meaning that the moves played are compared with the choices of computer engines. Also the arbiters have a metal detector that can detect mobile phones in a player's pocket. 'I'm not going to use it unless you force me to,' Peeters said.
Every participant in the Open has arrived, we are now playing on 38 boards. We have a nice pairing on board 4: 12-year-old Machteld van Foreest against her former coach GM Sipke Ernst!
On every board the material is even so far - every board but one. Albert Vasse, who promoted last year from the Amateur group to the surprise of many (including himself), has started his debut in the Open against Sebastian Mueer on board 33 with no less than a Morra Gambit.
We have a first result. Jan Boersma made a terrible mistake on move 15 by putting his bishop on a crucial flight square for the king. Now the young Indian Nikhil Dixit could win an exchange with a petit combinaison, which immediately led to the Frisian veteran's resignation.
Frisian IM Migchiel de Jong is spreading his wings against the young Russian player Viktoriia Kirchei: a white rook on a7 and a white knight on h6. Has he overstretched? It doesn't look that way as after 24.Ng5 (the second snorting knight), something will fall on f7 as afterwards White wins a knight back with g4-g5.
We've only just started, but we're taking a break from the blog for a while for the opening of the 2 Matches. See you later!
A quick newsflash from the first round: no real surprises here, certainly on the top boards all the favourites won. Further down, 16-year-old Job Emans held IM Eelke Wiersma to a draw. The latter might have played on, but probably he didn't trust his opponent's bishop pair.
13-year-old Loek van der Hagen is doing very well against Mary Ann Gomes with a pawn up, but it may end in a draw because of the opposite-coloured bishops. And another 13-year-old, Leandro Slagboom, even beat the experienced Frans Konings with quite impressive defensive play crowned by some good technique.
The official opening of the tournament took place in restaurant 'Het Postkantoor' (= The Post Office). A special report on that will be put on our website later, but first something else. Under the capable guidance of Daniela Mikkers, 60 youth players took part in the traditional Grand Prix in a room called The White Box (which was by the way pretty dark). That was 6 times more than last year! So this promises a lot for the coming years.
Here are the prize winners of the 8 age groups!
- Osama Arabi 4.5 points out of 7
- Levi Sekema 3
- Arjan de Vries 3
- Leon van den Berg 5.5
- Joël Greven 4
- Matteo Petrelli 4
- Milton Talen Alarcón 5.5
- Dani Bos Nissim 4.5
- Bas Maes 4
- Frank Nijmeijer 6.5
- Serana Tunyluhulima 4.5
- Rinse Smeding 4.5
- Abe van der Kolk 4.5
- Elise Knobbe 4.5
- Eline Hummel 3.5
- Deen van der Kolk 5.5
- Matei Crismaru 5
- Amruth Vinod Kumar 4
- Gijs Oosterhuis 5
- Ivar Wieringa 4.5
- Aron Prak 4
- Elodie Hardeman 5.5
- Kasper Eldering 5.5
- Daniël Medendorp 4.5
15-year-old William Shakhverdian lost his game with Indian IM Akesh Ganesan. This was the last game of the day. Loek van der Hagen indeed drew with WGM Mary Ann Gomes from India, who had to work hard for it.
All the favourites won today - no surprises there. The most remarkable feats of the day were the draws of young players Job Emans (16) with IM Eelke Wiersma and Loek van der Hagen (13) with WGM Mary Ann Gomes from India, and the only real upset was Leandro Slagboom(13)'s win over Frans Konings. Tomorrow the games will be much closer already.