De Nederlandsche Bank win Bankers’ Tournament in Amsterdam

by Gerd Densing
9/16/2023 – The Netherlands hosted Eurochess, a now traditional bankers’ tournament, and offered the guests from Europe a nice visiting programme. The host team from De Nederlandsche Bank (the Netherlands’ central bank) won the team competition, while Razvan-Alexandru Sebe-Vodislav finished first in the individual standings. Gerd Densing played for the Bundesbank and found time to prepare a fine pictorial report. | Photos: Gerd Densing

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Eurochess 2023 in Amsterdam

Hosts win team event in style

FM Razvan-Alexandru Sebe-Vodislav tops individual standings

After a very nice Eurochess event in Spain in autumn 2022, the Eurochess 2023 tournament took place last weekend, on 7-10 September, in Amsterdam. The hosts and the organising team of DNB (De Nederlandsche Bank, the central bank of the Netherlands), headed by Taras Bogouslavskii  (Chairman DNB chess club "De Wachter") and Claudia Trivieri (Sports & cultural club of DNB), put together a very nice and entertaining social programme.

During the day on Thursday, the teams arriving at the Schiphol Airport or at Amsterdam Central railway station were met by the organisers and taken to the CASA hotel by shuttle service. Some players and accompanying persons arrived directly by car. The Eurochess weekend began on Thursday evening with a welcome drink and a joint dinner at the hotel. On this occasion, old contacts from the previous Eurochess events met, or new contacts could be made. After dinner, the captains’ meeting took place, which lasted quite a long time as the complicated pairing system for the blitz tournament (more on this later) was explained.

The CASA Hotel proved to be a very good choice. It is relatively large, new, modern, clean, bright and open. It was also ideally located close to the Amstel Canal and within walking distance of the city centre (just over 2 kilometres), as well as with very easy access to the DNB offices (10-minute walk).

On Friday, after a joint breakfast, we went on foot to a nearby boat landing stage. The entire group of around 80 people (players and non-playing accompanying persons) was divided among three boats. Taking into account the players’ ratings, the selection had already been made the evening before. There was room for ten chessboards on each boat and in glorious sunshine (it was perhaps a little too hot for most) the blitz tournament began quickly. First, 3 rounds under the round-robin format were played in small groups of 4. Then, based on the points scored, new groups of 4 were formed and another 3 rounds were played. During a break, sandwiches and snacks were served for lunch. After that, the final round was played based on the intermediate score/rankings, 1st against 2nd, 3rd against 4th, 5th against 6th and so on.

Probably due to time constraints, the 7th round was unfortunately not played on one of the boats. After returning to a mooring position, the final round was played. Later, the results of all three boats were aggregated to determine the overall winner. Since the winner had a half-point lead, no tiebreaker was necessary, so Florent Charbit from France was declared the winner of the blitz event with 6½ points. Since only 6 rounds were played in one boat, the overall ranking is probably a little distorted, but that is not too bad, as it was only a free blitz tournament without rating — just for fun.

It should be emphasised that between the games there were many opportunities for the players and accompanying persons to enjoy the boat trip and to see many spots of Amsterdam from the seaside.

The captain, who was humorous and entertaining in boat B, provided plenty of variety to the chess with many announcements and stories. The one or other trip under a bridge temporarily caused 5 - 10 seconds of "darkness" in the boats, which could have been decisive in individual games when there was time-trouble. The organiser emphasised that it was probably the first chess tournament on this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since August 2020, the canal belt, whose three main canals enclose Amsterdam's old town in a semicircle to the south and west, has held this title.

At a centrally located landing stage, the whole group was divided into two roughly equal groups. In two roughly equal afternoon time slots, there was the opportunity to visit the Max Euwe Centre and the Rijksmuseum.

At the Max Euwe Centre, it was all about chess. Even though the open-air / garden chess in front of the entrance area was unfortunately removed some time ago, the Max Euwe statue at the entrance area offered a good opportunity for selfies. In the Max Euwe Centre there was an interesting lecture in which the two chess grandmasters, Paul van der Sterren and Erwin L'Ami ("from two generations"), analysed and showed in great detail the legendary 26th game of the World Championship match between Max Euwe and Alexander Alekhine from 1935, also known as "The Pearl of Zandvoort". Numerous questions from the audience were answered, and Paul van der Sterren described his personal impressions of Max Euwe, as he knew him well and was able to experience him during his lifetime.

Arriving at the Rijksmuseum, guided tours were organised there in small groups. In addition to information on the architecture of the museum, some of Rembrandt's works were shown and explained, including his most famous work, "The Night Watch".

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel on foot or by tram and from there, after a short break in the hotel room to freshen up and change clothes, we went to a nearby restaurant for a long dinner together. Because of the very nice warm weather, we sat outside under large sunshades, and a nice beer garden atmosphere was created.

The highlight of Eurochess 2023 was the rapid chess tournament with individual and team or country rankings. After breakfast together, we walked to the DNB headquarters on Saturday morning. The rapid chess tournament (15 + 10) took place in the large canteen area there, which was conducted by the very experienced and calm international arbiter Marc Jongerius. There were no disputes worth mentioning.

Overall, the atmosphere was very open and friendly, as has been known and appreciated for many years at Eurochess events. 66 players from central banks competed, coming from 13 countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, Estonia, France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia, Spain, Greece and Hungary. In addition, there was a newly formed young team from the European Central Bank and a combined team from Luxembourg (Banque centrale du Luxembourg and European Investment Bank).

There was a long lunch break between rounds 3 and 4 and soups and snacks were offered in the canteen area.

After 7 exciting rounds, the top seed FM Razvan-Alexandru Sebe Vodislav won the individual ranking with 6 points, equal on points but ahead of Albert Termeulen and Colin Stolwijk from the Netherlands thanks to a clearly better tiebreak score.

The hosts from the Netherlands showed themselves in very good form in their new orange jerseys (blue in previous years), as Enrico Vroombout, another player from the host and organising team, was far ahead in 4th place.

For the team ranking, the 4 best results were counted. Some teams competed with 5 or 6 players and accordingly had results to strike. The team classification was won by the team from the Netherlands with 22 points, ahead of the usually strong and favoured French team with 20.5 points, who won the Eurochess tournament in Spain last year. Third place went to the combined team from Luxembourg (EIB/BCL) with 19.5 points.

The winning team — Bank der Niederlande — with Jan Timman

Then it was off to the DNB auditorium. The chess grandmaster and former world-class player and world number two Jan Timman was already waiting there.

Timman compiled some very beautiful — also self-composed — chess studies and presented them in a one-hour lecture. He was the guest of honour at the award ceremony and was also on stage. Before the prize-giving ceremony began, there was a minute's silence for Gerhard Lutz, who died a few days before the start of the tournament at the age of 58 after a short, serious illness. He had played for the Deutsche Bundesbank chess team at many Eurochess events and many of the players in the auditorium certainly knew him and appreciated him as a very nice and always good-humoured, open-minded player.

After the closing ceremony, a Greek player stepped up to the microphone and announced that the chess group of the Bank of Greece will organise the Eurochess event next year, so that this long-standing tradition will be continued.

The Eurochess Event 2023 ended with a joint dinner at the DNB with the possibility of a short chat or selfies with the chess legend Timman. On leaving the building, each participant received a (farewell/memory) gift. This was a chessboard and a set of pieces, made or cast from high-quality chocolate.

On Sunday morning, after a last joint breakfast, the individual teams started their journey home, partly via shuttle/taxi services provided by the organising team to the airport or central station. Some participants took the opportunity to stay a few hours longer in Amsterdam and explore the city centre on their own and visit one or two museums.

All in all, it was again a very nice extended Eurochess weekend, which was excellently organised. The weather played along, as it was always sunny and warm. The social programme was very varied and offered a lot of chess, beyond the actual playing. Many thanks again to Taras and Claudia for the great organisation.

Final standings - Individual

Rg. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Sebe-Vodislav, Razvan-Alexandru 6 31
2 Termeulen, Albert 6 27
3 Stolwijk, Colin 6 26
4 Vroombout, Enrico 5,5 30,5
5 Croizier, Valery 5,5 24,5
6 Rodeghiero, Andrea 5 27,5
7 Hawia, Thierry 5 27
8 Wagner, Steven 5 25
9 Cogan, Nicolas 5 25
10 Charbit, Florent 5 24,5
11 Renault, Fabien 5 24
12 Veenstra, Sander 4,5 27
13 Schelhaas, David 4,5 26
14 Stanic, Zoran 4,5 23,5
15 Densing, Gerd 4,5 21,5

...66 players

Final standings - Teams

1 De Nederlandsche Bank 22 109,5 89,50 8214
1 Termeulen, Albert 6 27 23,00 2077
2 Stolwijk, Colin 6 26 23,50 2147
3 Vroombout, Enrico 5,5 30,5 26,00 2158
4 Schelhaas, David 4,5 26 17,00 1832
2 Banque de France 20,5 98 73,50 7603
1 Croizier, Valery 5,5 24,5 21,50 1976
2 Cogan, Nicolas 5 25 18,50 1926
3 Charbit, Florent 5 24,5 16,00 1822
4 Renault, Fabien 5 24 17,50 1879
3 EIB-BCL 19,5 101,5 76,00 7547
1 FM Sebe-Vodislav, Razvan-Alexandru 6 31 28,25 2234
2 Wagner, Steven 5 25 19,50 1877
3 Stanic, Zoran 4,5 23,5 15,00 1774
4 Meyer, Henri 4 22 13,25 1662
4 CASC - Bank of Italy 17 109 57,00 7128
1 Rodeghiero, Andrea 5 27,5 17,75 1870
2 Marino, Danilo 4 28,5 14,50 1804
3 Del Vecchio, Leonardo 4 28 13,75 1753
4 Silici, Renato 4 25 11,00 1701
5 National Bank of Hungary 15,5 106 56,50 7062
1 Horvath, Laszlo 4 30 17,50 1908
2 Balsai, Nikolett 4 30 14,00 1878
3 Lovas, Zsolt 4 23,5 13,25 1670
4 Nikowitz, Geza 3,5 22,5 11,75 1606
6 Bank of Greece 14 85,5 37,00 6206
1 Nikolaidis, Georgios 4 22 10,00 1625
2 Pramateftakis, Nikolaos 4 19 9,00 1549
3 Feidakis, Andreas 3 24,5 11,50 1626
4 Ikonomou, Anastasios 3 20 6,50 1406
7 Banco de Portugal 13,5 93 37,75 6337
1 Sousa, Luis Manuel Baptista Rebe 4 22,5 12,00 1657
2 WCM Monteiro, Sara Cristina Da Silva 3,5 25,5 11,75 1695
3 Andre, Tiago 3 23,5 6,50 1491
4 Rebelo, Pracas Antonio Fernande 3 21,5 7,50 1494
8 Banco de España 13,5 86,5 31,00 6156
1 Garcia Ruiz, Juan Benjamin 4 23,5 10,75 1688
2 Ferreruela Canero, Miguel 3,5 22 7,00 1539
3 Cabrera Jimenez, Julio 3 22,5 8,75 1537
4 Jimenez Jimenez, Jose Luis 3 18,5 4,50 1392
9 Deutsche Bundesbank 13,5 86 41,25 6279
1 Densing, Gerd 4,5 21,5 15,00 1694
2 Assmann, Hendrik 3,5 23,5 12,50 1664
3 Kipp, Stephan 3 17,5 6,25 1397
4 Müller-Schlenke, Christoph 2,5 23,5 7,50 1524
10 National Bank of Belgium 13 85 41,00 6095
1 Hawia, Thierry 5 27 17,50 1945
2 Ghysels, Marc 4 24 15,00 1734
3 Morren, Vincent 3 18,5 7,25 1430
4 Le Beau de Hemricourt, Charlotte 1 15,5 1,25 986
11 European Central Bank 12,5 88 36,50 5994
1 Veenstra, Sander 4,5 27 15,50 1878
2 Rodrigues, Guilherme Luis 4 18 11,00 1482
3 Vergnano, Ricardo 2 23,5 7,50 1376
4 Lanciani, Marcello 2 19,5 2,50 1258
12 Banka Slovenije 12 81,5 28,00 5663
1 Kastelic, Helena 4 22,5 11,00 1644
2 Klanjscek, Jaka 3 22,5 8,50 1491
3 Pevec Tomsic, Stanka 3 17 5,50 1267
4 Cesar, Miha 2 19,5 3,00 1261
13 Eesti Pank 11 85 27,50 5812
1 Metsalu, Mart 3 22 9,25 1518
2 Vaga, Marko 3 20,5 7,00 1459
3 Jürgenson, Väino 2,5 22 6,25 1431
4 Vainre, Innar 2,5 20,5 5,00 1404


Gerd is an avid club player who enjoys competing in tournaments. He has recorded his impressions in many reports on the ChessBase news page.