9th Batavia tournament: cozy conviviality

by ChessBase
3/2/2017 – Hailing from sunny Brazil, and living in Georgia, GM Alexandr Fier is a fixture on the circuit of opens throughout Europe and South America. The Brazilian player is now playing in the 9th Batavian Tournament, a GM event held in a café in Amsterdam, which he describes as the friendliest event he has known. Enjoy his midway report with photos and analysis.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


It has been a hard week regarding the weather in one of the most popular capitals in the world, and my flight to Amsterdam was delayed for two hours due to weather conditions.

Arriving here, even some trains were not working and it took much more time than should have been necessary to arrive at the place where I’m staying, not to mention further delays to reach the playing hall. The stark external conditions with the rain and 60km/h winds the ten players faced were in complete contrast to the playing hall of the friendliest tournament I have ever had the pleasure to play in.

Welcome to the Café Batavia 1920, host to the Batavia Tournament now in its 9th edition

The playing hall of the 9th Batavia Tournament is a café with the same name, in the heart of Amsterdam, less than a five-minute walk from the important Amsterdam Centraal Station. In a region full of tourists and in the same street of the Church of Saint-Nicolas, it attracts no small number of foreigners with bags, arriving or leaving the city. Interestingly enough, the place is also visited daily by dozens of chess friends.

The important Amsterdam Centraal station is just five minutes away on foot

A casino chip can be found on the scoresheet that players then trade in for their meals after the game

In the first day of the event, there was a blitz tournament held to determine the colour distribution for the main tournament. It means that the winner of the blitz will take number 5 in the classic tournament, the second place number 4, and the entire top half will play one more white than black. After a small introduction, we had the drawing of numbers for the blitz (there was even a bullet tournament suggested to determine the numbers for the blitz!) and we started to play.

Final standings of the blitz tournament

Eric Lobron started with an amazing 6.0/6 but he lost both last games, so I was lucky to catch him and capture first place

Lennart Ootes is in charge of the transmission, official site, and more

Tournament promotor and photographer Bas Beekhuizen (right) taking photos of the players

Recording one of the blitz games with a smartphone

In the next rounds, every day, minutes before the round at 14:00, players were seen arriving and chatting or having some sandwiches given by the organization. After recent my trip to Brazil where events tend to be a bit more condensed, I was quite happy to play a tournament with one round per day and even a free day!

As far as playing halls go, they don't get more cosy or welcoming than this

In the first round, after some good preparation I got an almost won position against the local player Barry Brink, but after analyzing a simple line I committed a basic blunder.

Fier - Brink

The tournament quickly found a leader, since the Australian Bobby Cheng started with an amazing 4.0/4, even winning two games in a very similar way!

Cheng - Van Foreest

Game from round one, and two rounds later...

Cheng - Hing Ting Lai

... he won this position in round three!

Bobby Cheng had a perfect 4.0/4 start

Cheng - Van Foreest

Lucas Van Foreest had a strong 3.5/5 start and recently qualified for next years Tata Steels Challengers

My tournament was a bit shaky since in the first five rounds I was winning in all my games, but…I was also lost in the majority of them! So, all things considered, I can hardly complain about my solid +2 start.

Timmermans - Fier

After the round the players would gather for some friendly blitz play

It doesn't hurt to have it accompanied by some nice beers

This set a tone of great conviviality

Fier - Leenhouts

[Event "9th Batavia Chess Tournament"] [Site "Amsterdam"] [Date "2017.02.28"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Fier, Alexandr"] [Black "Leenhouts, Koen"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2581"] [BlackElo "2487"] [Annotator "Alexandr Fier"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventCountry "NED"] [WhiteClock "1:19:08"] [BlackClock "0:34:01"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 Nf6 8. O-O-O Ne5 9. Qg3 b5 10. f4 Neg4 11. Bg1 h5 12. e5 b4 13. Na4 Nd5 14. h3 Nh6 15. Bd3 g6 16. Be4 Bb7 17. Qf3 Nf5 $2 (17... Rc8 {was better, my opponent forgot about 21.Nb6! in the game.}) 18. Nxf5 gxf5 19. Bxd5 Bxd5 20. Rxd5 $1 exd5 21. Nb6 $1 {And the knight comes back to the game with devastating effect.} Rb8 22. Nxd5 Qc6 23. Bf2 Be7 24. Rd1 a5 25. Qd3 a4 26. Nxe7 Kxe7 27. Qxf5 b3 28. axb3 ( 28. Rxd7+ {was already possible, but more stressful.} Qxd7 29. Qf6+ Ke8 30. Qxh8+ Ke7 31. Qxb8 bxa2 32. Qb4+ Ke8 33. Qa3 $18) 28... axb3 29. Rxd7+ 1-0

The Israeli player Tal Baron is the second-seed

Standings after five rounds


The games are being broadcast live on the official website and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register