Famous IM and grandmaster in chess composition Yochanan Afek joins the table of judges
Bas de Melker gave out the prizes for Best Game and Best Endgame
This was an unusual tournament where an IM norm was made in the 7th round by the local Barry Brink, which scored 4.5/7 against a much higher rated opposition (he was 87 points lower-rated than the 9th ranked player). This meant that even after losing both the eighth and the ninth rounds, his norm was guaranteed. In fact, even so, he was also the player that won the most rating points in the tournament! True, he was the only one with K=20, but a gain of 38 Elo is still impressive.
Local player Barry Brinks (left), the lowest rated player in the field by far, had secured his IM norm after just seven rounds! Here he faces Thomas Beerdsen.
Lucas Van Foreest lost the first round to Bobby Cheng, but managed to strike back with a superb run of 5.5/6 (one strange draw against me). Then, in the 8th round, with 5.5/7 he needed only 1.0/2 from the final two rounds to score his second GM norm. He had black and just kept the game alive until he took advantage of Hing Ting Lai’s time trouble to find a fatal rook sacrifice. With his victory he entered the last round as leader one point ahead of Bobby Cheng.
Lucas Van Foreest, younger brother to GM Jorden Van Foreest, faces Koen Leenhouts in the final round
Lai - Van Foreest
Although he came second on tiebreak, Lucas Van Foreest's result was good enough for a second GM norm
Mark Timmermans (left) faces GM Eric Lobron
Bobby had a fantastic start with 4.0/4, but after that he lost two games in a row, to Thomas Beerdsen and myself. In the seventh round he had black against Brink with only a draw needed to make his IM norm, so White played solidly and shared the point. In the eighth round he won a nice positional game against Mark Timmermans but still needed a full point with black in the last round against Tal Baron.
It’s not easy to play a game where only a victory suffices, but Tal never runs from a good fight and after just a few moves the position was already full of life. Some wrong decisions gave the advantage to Bobby who showed no mercy, and that was the first game to finish.
Baron - Cheng
The post-mortem between Tal Baron and Bobby Cheng
Thomas Beerdsen had a slow start, but by winning the last three games he managed secure a spot on the podium.
Merijn Van Delft gives Thomas Beerdsen his third prize
The Max Euwe trophy everyone fought to win
For my consolation I won the best game prize, playing a chaotic game against Bobby Cheng in the sixth round.
Cheng - Fier
Your author and photographer, GM Alexandr Fier (photo by Lennart Ootes)
In the end, while I was not satisfied with my result, on other hand the tournament was a perfect moment to spend time with friends. I want to express my admiration and gratitude for the huge effort put in by the organizers, the arbiter, the photographers, and the bar that had to deal with plenty of chess players, and everybody that contributed one way or another to make the tournament as pleasant as it was.
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