BDO Chess: writing history in Haarlem (1/2)

by ChessBase
10/31/2014 – Frits Agterdenbos was one of the leading chess photographers in the eighties, and has graced our pages with articles and photos over the years. His first full-fledged article was in 2005, and now he comes full circle with a lovely article on the 10th BDO Chess tournament, complete with his high standard of photography and a native's guided tour of the area.

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A bit of history

I need to tell you a secret: I like sandwiches! A sandwich, that is: two slices of bread, with cheese (and sometimes ham) in between. First bread, then cheese, and then bread again.

A human life pattern can be some kind of sandwich too. I made my first sandwich (a sandwich in a sandwich!) by growing up in Utrecht, moving to Amsterdam and then returning to Utrecht again. In the middle of this was another sandwich since I first moved to an apartment on the tenth floor, then to the seventh floor, only to move back to the apartment on the tenth floor. The metaphor carries on to my career in chess photography and reporting.

My masterpiece, the book ’64 Schaakportretten’ with 64 portraits and bios of leading chess players, was published in 1984, while being in the centre of the sandwich on the seventh floor. Is it the pressure of time, of sandwiched periods, that brings people to creative output? At this moment I am finishing another sandwich, with ChessBase serving as the pieces of bread. It started in 2005 when the first BDO Chess Tournament took place. I visited the tournament as a chess photographer and wrote a ChessBase report ‘Nona Gaprindashvili wins BDO Chess Tournament Haarlem’. This led to the creation of my own chess photo website, which I maintained around eight years, from 2006-2013. Finally, in 2014, I am publishing a ChessBase report again, on the 10th BDO Chess Tournament.


One of the best places to visit in Haarlem is the Grote Markt (Grand Market Square). It is the
place where people meet, go out, and have a sense of history. The photo was taken on Kingsday
2014, 26 April. The big church is the Grote of St. Bavokerk (Grand or St. Bavo Church).

A closer look at the Grote of St. Bavokerk, with a statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster (1370-1440)
in front. Coster was, as seen through Dutch eyes, the inventor of the art of typography. The
Haarlem residents are quite proud of it.

At two minutes walking distance from the Grote Markt, the Prinsenhof (see photo) offers
a hidden green spot. The Prinsenhof is actually the Stadskruidentuin (City herb garden) or
Hortus Medicus. The photo shows a weeping beech with another statue of Laurens Janszoon
Coster in front.

The statue was made by Gerrit van Heerstal in 1722. There are six Coster memorials in Haarlem and this one is the oldest. The Stedelijk Gymnasium Haarlem is housed in two buildings on both sides of the Prinsenhof. The building on the right side is the ‘old building’ as Gymnasium pupils refer to it. The building on the left side, the ‘new building’ located at Jacobijnestraat 24, was the playing venue of the tournament.

The ‘new building’

Tournament director Paul Tuijp watches co-organiser Frits Welling (at left) playing a friendly
game against BDO sponsor André Hendriks. Just a game for fun, at the entrance of the playing
venue, to attract people’s attention to the tournament. The tournament was organised by
the HWP Haarlem chess club, which was founded in 1938. Tuijp, Welling and Hendriks are
members of the club, and by organising 10 years of BDO Chess they wrote chess history in Haarlem. 

In the entrance hall of the new building you are welcomed by inscriptions in Greek and Latin.
The Stedelijk Gymnasium Haarlem dates from 1389. This year, 6 December 2014 to be exact,
the school will celebrate its 625th anniversary! The Gymnasium offers pre-university secondary
education with Latin and/or Classic Greek as an additional, compulsory part of the curriculum.
The Greek inscription ‘Ek mousan agathon kleos’ was written by the Greek poet Theocritus,
and means ‘From the Muse comes the good reputation’. The school has 835 pupils.

The playing hall was in the auditorium of the school. The photo shows the Swiss group in
front. Barry Brink won the Open A group and Esper Van Baar won the Open B group. The
Premier and Challenger groups are in the background.

The Premier and Challenger groups played on the stage. The arbiter standing at left is Geert
Bailleul (Belgium), the arbiter walking in the middle is Joost Jansen (the Netherlands). They
both earned their final International Arbiter norms.

Premier and Challenger groups on the stage, with a glimpse of the Swiss groups at left

Continued in part two...

About the author

Frits Agterdenbos was one of the leading chess photographers in the eighties. From 1979–1991 his pictures appeared in several magazins, including New in Chess, Schakend Nederland, Inside Chess, BCM, Chess, Europe Echecs and Schach.In 1984 his Dutch book “64 Schaakportretten” (in English “64 Chess Portraits”) was published. In 1991 he “retired” as a chess photographer to finish his studies and in 1997 he received a diploma as an insurance mathematician (actuary). Since 1998 he has been a self-employed, working under the company name “Acturix”, which is his actuarial consultancy firm.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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