GM Ladva grabs Groningen

by Klaus Besenthal
1/2/2019 – "There is always a chess tournament somewhere in the world", they say, and even over the Christmas holiday one could indulge in the 64-squares at the Chess Festival in Groningen, Netherlands. The participants of the annual nine-round open play on December 24th and 26th and wrap up before New Year's Eve. This year, victory went to Estonian Grandmaster Ottomar Ladva (left) in front of the young Dutch IM Liam Vrolijk — both players with 7 points. | Photo: Harry Gielen

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Chess Festival Groningen

The city of Groningen in the northeast corner of the Netherlands is home to 200,000 residents, including around 30,000 students from the University of Groningen. Located a few kilometres from the German border it was once an independent city-state and a regional powerhouse still known as the "metropolis of the North". The chess festival was first held in 1963 so it, like the city, has a long tradition. This year, in addition to the main tournament, there were half a dozen other tournaments — a suitable event for every taste was on offer.

Once again in 2018, a significant number of titled players could be found on the starting list of the main tournament, including GMs Michal Krasenkow (2630), Sergey Tiviakov (2613) and Sipke Ernst (2539). Krasenkow was upset in the fourth round by IM Casper Schoppen, and suffered a further defeat in the eighth round at the hands of FM Nick Maatman, which knocked the Elo-favourite out of the running for first place. 

Tiviakov made it to the top table in the final round but his ten-move draw against Schoppen left a clear opening for Estonian Grandmaster Ottomar Ladva.

Sergey Tiviakov (in red) was uninspired against Caspar Schoppen | Photo: Harry Gielen

The 21-year-old Ladva took down the Dutchman Maatman after a long endgame. Ladva had compensation for a pawn, but not more, until his opponent suddenly tried to get active and ended up giving up material, leaving Ladva with connected passed pawns and only the problem of activating his king. 


Ladva liberated his monarch with 66.Rf5 Rb1 67.Ra5+ Kb6 68.Rb5+ Kc6 69.Kf3 and went on to win, thus securing tournament victory.

Ottomar Ladva (left) showed a great will to win in the last-round against Nick Maatman | Photo: Harry Gielen

He was joined by 16-year-old Dutch IM Liam Vrolijk who also had two pawns more in his endgame against GM Roeland Pruijssers, after Pruijssers jettisoned his h-pawn in hopes of winning the b-pawn: 


Vrolijk was not deterred: 63.Ng7+ Ke7 64.Nxh5 Nh6+ 65.Ke4 Rb1 66.Rd4. It took 20 moves of manoeuvring before White could begin advancing his pawns, and until the 111th move before he finally overcame the resistance of his GM opponent.


Vrolijk (left) against Pruijssers | Photo: Harry Gielen

Results of the final round

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 IM Schoppen, Casper 6.0 2431 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 6.0 2613 ½-½
2 GM Ladva, Ottomar 6.0 2497 FM Maatman, Nick 6.0 2363 1-0
3 IM Vrolijk, Liam 6.0 2440 GM Pruijssers, Roeland 5.5 2520 1-0
4 GM Plat, Vojtech 5.5 2550 IM De Jong, Migchiel 5.5 2323 ½-½
5 GM Krasenkow, Michal 5.0 2630 IM Warmerdam, Max 5.5 2433 ½-½
6 GM Ernst, Sipke 5.0 2539 IM Cerveny, Martin 5.0 2347 ½-½
7 Lahaye, Rick 5.0 2404 FM Jedlicka, Ales 5.0 2226 1-0
8 FM Maris, Ivo 5.0 2351 WIM Krasenkova, Ilena 5.0 2144 1-0
9 GM Gleizerov, Evgeny 4.5 2504 Schippers, Maurice 4.5 2270 1-0
10 FM Simet, Martin 4.5 2229 GM Ulybin, Mikhail 4.5 2482 ½-½

Final standings

Rank Name   Score Fed.   Rating
1 GM Ladva, Ottomar   7.0 EST   2497
2 IM Vrolijk, Liam   7.0 NED   2440
3 IM Schoppen, Casper   6.5 NED   2431
4 GM Tiviakov, Sergei   6.5 NED   2613
5 IM Warmerdam, Max   6.0 NED   2433
6 GM Plat, Vojtech   6.0 CZE   2550
7 FM Maatman, Nick   6.0 NED   2363
8 IM De Jong, Migchiel   6.0 NED   2323
9 Lahaye, Rick   6.0 NED   2404
10 FM Maris, Ivo   6.0 NED   2351
11 GM Ernst, Sipke   5.5 NED   2539
12 GM Pruijssers, Roeland   5.5 NED   2520
13 GM Krasenkow, Michal   5.5 POL   2630
14 GM Kislinsky, Alexey   5.5 CZE   2425
15 IM Cerveny, Martin   5.5 CZE   2347
16 IM Beerdsen, Thomas   5.5 NED   2477
17 GM Gleizerov, Evgeny   5.5 RUS   2504

... 59 players

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Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson


Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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