Stories, sights and studies from the Dutch Open

by Sagar Shah
8/22/2016 – In Part I of our report from the Dutch Open in Dieren we mainly focused on the top three players of the tournament – Chanda, l’Ami and Khenkin. In the second part we shed light on participants who finished fourth to eleventh. And we take you on tour of the beautiful city as well as acquaint you with a few inspiring stories from the event. Not to be missed is the deep practical study composed by Yochanan Afek, which you are asked to rack your brain over.

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Stories, sights and studies from the Dutch Open

By Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal

Read part one: Sandipan Chanda dominates Dutch Open in Dieren

The symbolic gong that signals the start of the round

The grandmasters from places four to eight (with director of Condigne Jeoren Smoorenburg): Debashis Das, Roeland Pruijssers, Daniel Hausrath, Csaba Horvath and Vyachelsav Ikonnikov [picture from the official facebook page]

Csaba Horvath plays his games with great focus. Sometimes you feel that his eye balls will simply pop out. But that’s the level of concentration he brings to the game. Horvath, who is now 48 years old, says, “It is almost impossible to play high level chess at this age.” However, he was the leader of the tournament right until very end, drawing his games against l’Ami, Khenkin, Ikonnikov and Chanda. He also beat GM Debashis Das. A last round loss to Igor Khenkin relegated him to the fourth spot.

Vyacheslav Ikonnikov lost his last round game to Sandipan Chanda, scored 6.0/9 and finished fifth

After winning the Leiden Open just a few days ago, Roeland Pruijssers (above) was hoping to make it two in a row. Things started pretty well for him as he was one of the leaders with 5.0/6. However, in round seven he lost to Sandipan Chanda and this was followed by another defeat at the hands of Igor Khenkin. In his game against Khenkin, Pruijssers was quite unlucky because his flag fell in a completely equal position and he lost on time. Six wins, three losses, nine decisive games – uncompromising chess by Roeland!

GM Debashis Das lost two games at the event, one against Csaba Horvath in round four and the other Erwin l’Ami in round seven. But apart from these two games, his level of play was pretty good, which ensured him the seventh spot. In the last round, he won the game with the help of a nice tactic.

Stefan Beukema – Debashis Das, round nine

It’s Black (Debashis) to play. What would you do? In case you are thinking for quite some time and are unable to find the solution, I would recommend you to have a look at the position below where the same theme is in action.

Kasparov vs Karpov, Linares 1994

We are all aware of Karpov’s amazing performance at the Linares tournament in 1994. He scored 11.0/13 and performed at an Elo of 2977. In the seventh round he faced Garry Kasparov with the black pieces and they reached the above position. Here Karpov played 13…a4 and the game later ended in a draw. Can you see a stronger move, not necessarily winning, but the theme is very similar to what Debashis used in his game against Beukema.

Solution: The answer to both the positions is the move …Ba3! Moves like these are extremely difficult to foresee – mainly because you are moving your piece to a protected square. But such moves often arise in our games. And getting better at them would mean becoming stronger as a chess player. GM Maurice Ashley deals with the theme of protected square quite extensively in his DVD “What grandmasters don’t see Vol.1 – Protected squares”. I would highly recommend it to all those who either couldn’t find the move …Ba3! in the positions given above or took a lot of time.

Maurice Ashley: What Grandmasters Don’t See Vol. 1: Protected Squares

Many times when a top player blunders, it is routinely described by the esoteric term "chess blindness". In this series chess trainer and world-class commentator Maurice Ashley strips away the myth, and for the first time explains why the root of these mistakes is more often based on the psychology of human learning.

In Volume 1 of the series, Ashley coins a new term, Protected Squares, and shows how many errors occur on squares that seem invulnerable because they are clearly guarded by pawns. In example after example and in his trademark style, Ashley will teach you how to avoid this kind of mistake and how to look for moves that will shock and amaze your opponents. In the first 19 videos on the DVD Ashley demonstrates both well-known and little known games in which a move on to a protected square plays an important part. In the second half of the DVD you are tested on what you have learned about protected squares with a series of exercises of increasing difficulty. This material is also drawn both from classics and from recent games. Video running time: 4 hours 18 minutes. Price: €29.90 (€25.13 without VAT)

Order this DVD here


GM Daniel Hausrath speaking to one of the editors of New In Chess Yearbook Rene Olthof

Daniel was at the tournament with his wife and three children. It was obvious that with so many distractions it would not be possible for him to play his games at a high level. However, the grandmaster from Germany performed decently and finished eighth.

The famous coach and author IM Willy Hendriks (above) finished tenth. Willy has written a beautiful book entitled “Move first, think later” and it was published by New in Chess. The book won the ECF book of the year award in 2012. "Thought provoking, deeply intelligent and beautifully human", "For anyone interested in chess in a broader context, I highly recommend reading 'Move First, Think Later' by Willy Hendriks". The above two comments are made by Jacob Aagaard and Hikaru Nakamura for Hendrik’s book.

The second seed of the tournament GM Dmitri Reinderman will not be particularly happy with his performance, as he finished tenth with 5.5/9 and was out of the prize list

Talented FM Thomas Beerdsen finished eleventh with 5.5/9

Final Standings

# Name Pts Rtng TPR W-We BH SB
1 GM Sandipan, Chanda 7.5 2568 2741 +1.91 53.0 43.0
2 GM L'Ami, Erwin 7.0 2606 2665 +0.70 51.5 39.25
3 GM Khenkin, Igor 7.0 2553 2575 +0.42 45.0 33.75
4 GM Horvath, Csaba 6.0 2520 2553 +0.52 52.0 32.5
5 GM Ikonnikov, Vyacheslav 6.0 2538 2528 +0.02 50.5 31.75
6 GM Pruijssers, Roeland 6.0 2463 2539 +0.96 49.0 27.5
7 GM Debashis, Das 6.0 2451 2515 +0.84 44.5 26.0
8 GM Hausrath, Daniel 6.0 2483 2400 -0.77 43.0 27.0
9 IM Hendriks, Willy 6.0 2407 2289 -1.07 42.0 28.0
10 GM Reinderman, Dimitri 5.5 2584 2497 -0.83 51.0 27.75
11 FM Beerdsen, Thomas 5.5 2414 2437 +0.51 49.0 26.0
12 FM Maris, Ivo 5.5 2370 2361 +0.01 44.0 24.75
13 IM De Jong, Migchiel 5.5 2342 2352 +0.19 42.0 24.5
14 Zwirs, Nico 5.5 2374 2333 -0.28 42.0 23.5
15 IM Sagar, Shah 5.5 2433 2407 -0.12 42.0 22.25
16 GM Milov, Leonid 5.5 2430 2295 -1.36 41.0 23.25
17 Geurink, Jasper 5.5 2359 2354 +0.00 41.0 22.0
18 FM Kollen, Zyon 5.5 2310 2321 +0.23 40.0 23.0
19 FM Maatman, Nick 5.0 2314 2360 +0.53 47.5 24.5
20 Gerlagh, Joris 5.0 2172 2381 +2.29 47.0 24.25
21 IM Beukema, Stefan 5.0 2355 2353 +0.03 42.0 19.5
22 Van Foreest, Lucas 5.0 2367 2221 -1.53 41.5 20.5

Remco Heite (right) with his wife Nancy had a book stall at the tournament. These old books are 5% of Remco’s chess book collection.

Remco was the mayor of Wolvega, a town in the Netherlands, for many years. After giving up that post he was handed over the responsibility of organizing a strong chess tournament in the town. The tournament was named Remco Heite after him and the winner went back home with a real horse! It was a strong event that was organized quite regularly until 2014. Luke McShane had won the 2010 edition. We can only hope that the tournament is resumed.

Lucas De Jong, blind from birth, was playing in the B section of the tournament. Lucas comes to the tournament hall with his dog Okie, who sleeps near the table until the game is over and then helps Lucas to get back home. Alina l’Ami wrote an inspiring article on Lucas in 2014 for ChessBase, which is a must-read.

The players were given accommodation in the Polysport Hotel in these wooden houses

The rooms were well equipped and comfortable

For the adventurous souls there were lawns in the Polysport Hotel where you could bring your own tents. With rain and cold climate this is definitely not my idea of having fun, but there were a few players who risked doing it.

The lawns of Polysport where you could see many campers with their tents

Sahil Tickoo from India, rated 2016, scored 4.5/9 and gained 60 Elo points from the event. In this article that he wrote for ChessBase India, he describes his experience of staying in a tent during the tournament.

As you can see Polysport is located right on the edge of the Veluwezoom National Park. On the rest day, Amruta, I and Sandipan Chanda decided to go through the woods into the park. A metal door is located inside the Polysport hotel and gives you a direct way to reach the woods.

It was a great experience to walk in such environs, right in nature with trees and greenery everywhere and fresh air to breathe! A must visit place for every nature lover.

An eye for details can spot something unusual and interesting in this picture!

Sandipan (right) spent quite a lot of time in the woods during the event. Was that the secret to his winning the tournament?! Here, he tells me about some of the interesting trails that he had been to.

Study by Yochanan Afek

White to play and draw

Yochanan Afek, like every year, had composed a study for the Dutch Open. It’s White to play and draw. The unique part about this composition is that it is so easily possible to get this position in a real game.

[Event "Study for Dutch Open 2016"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.08.12"] [Round "?"] [White "Afek, Yochanan"] [Black "White to play and draw"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/8/1p2N3/1P4R1/2K5/7p/3k2r1 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "0"] 1/2-1/2

In the above diagram you can move the pieces on the board to analyse. You can even start an engine to assist your analysis. Or you can click on the Fritz icon on the bottom right of the notation pane. This will give you a full-screen player with Fritz acting as the opponent. It is an ideal way to test your skills in the above position. The solution to the study will be posted here in a few days.

A huge thanks to main organizer of the event Koos Stolk (right) for great arrangements and to Peter Boel (left) for some excellent articles and analysis on the official website. Contact organizer -

Pictures by Amruta Mokal of ChessBase India


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Topics Dieren, Holland

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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Chris38 Chris38 8/26/2016 10:26
Really enjoyed this study...especially the finale!
vinniethepooh vinniethepooh 8/22/2016 09:11
got the answer with little help from engine in the above study