Groningen Festival won by Jorden van Foreest

by Albert Silver
1/4/2016 – The traditional Groningen Chess Festival, now in its 53rd edition, was won by 16-year-old IM Jorden van Foreest, a Dutch player on the rise. He and Indian GM Shyam Sundar both finished with 7.5/9, but as van Foreest had won their individual encounter, he took the title. With plenty of activities, and plenty of chess, it was very enjoyable event. Report, pictures, and video.

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Photos by Harry Gielen

Though both top-finishers took first ahead of the pack, they reached it via different routes. IM Jorden van Foreest came to the tournament as the top seed at 2547 FIDE, and the young player has been gaining a steady 100 Elo each year for the last few years. He started with an imperial 6.5/7, storming to sole first, when he suffered his first and only setback: a loss to rival Avital Boruchovsky (2540 FIDE) in round eight. Suddenly gold was open to all, and three players were tied for first with 6.5/8, and three more with 6.0/8. Had the young player stumbled fatally near the finish? Hardly, and he showed his determination as he defeated GM Sergey Kasparov with black in the final round.

It was a stellar performance by the young Dutch player, Jorden van Foreest, who stormed
to first, and held on even after thing threatened to become shaky in round eight

A crucial game was his last round win against GM Sergey Kasparov

There still remained the crucial game between fellow co-leaders Israeli GM Avital Boruchovsky and Indian GM Sundar Shyam, also tied for first entering the final round, and whose game would decide the title. A tie obviously mean van Foreest would end sole first, but a decisive victory could change everything. The foremost tiebreak criteria was the direct encounter, and while van Foreest had defeated the Indian in round four, he had lost to the Israeli in round eight. Thus if Boruchovsky won the last game, he would take the title on tiebreak, not Jorden.

It all depended on Avital Boruchovsky's result. A draw or a loss would give Jorden the title,
but if he won, Avital would take first.

Avital Boruchovsky - Sundar Shyam

[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"] [Site "Groningen NED"] [Date "2015.12.30"] [Round "9.1"] [White "Boruchovsky, Avital"] [Black "Shyam, Sundar M"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2540"] [BlackElo "2485"] [PlyCount "120"] [EventDate "2015.12.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nbd7 6. Nbd2 b5 7. Ne5 Nxe5 8. Bxa8 {Robert Huebner was the first player to employ this exchange sacrifice.} Qxd4 9. O-O Bc5 (9... Qb6 10. Nf3 Qb8 11. Bf4 Qxa8 12. Bxe5 Bc5 13. a4 b4 14. Bd4 Be7 15. Rc1 Ba6 16. Qc2 O-O 17. Rfd1 Nd5 18. e4 b3 19. Qe2 Nb4 20. Bc3 Nd3 21. Ra1 Bc5 22. Rf1 Qc6 23. Nd2 f5 24. exf5 Bb7 {0-1 (24) Vukic,M-Huebner,R Sombor 1970}) 10. Nf3 Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 Ke7 {Black is not afraid to play this queenless middlegame. He is down the exchange, but those 4 vs 2 on the queenside combined with the bishop pair promise to give him full compensation as well as a lasting initiative.} 13. Bf4 Bd6 14. Bc6 Bd7 15. Bxd7 Nxd7 16. a4 Rb8 17. axb5 Rxb5 18. Rxa7 Rxb2 19. Kf1 e5 20. Bd2 Ke6 21. Be3 $2 { A mistake that allows Black to advance his pawn and take the upper hand.} c3 22. Rc1 Rb3 23. Ra4 Ba3 24. Re1 Nb6 25. Ra7 Nd5 26. Ra6+ Ke7 27. Bc1 Bb2 28. Ra5 Ke6 29. Rd1 Nb4 30. Bxb2 cxb2 31. Rb1 Kd6 32. Ra8 Kd7 33. Ra5 Kd6 34. Ra8 Kd5 {Things have gone all wrong for White, and now he must give back the exchange and enter a very bad rook endgame a pawn down.} 35. Ke1 Nc2+ 36. Kd2 Na3 37. Rxa3 Rxa3 38. Rxb2 Ra7 39. h4 c5 40. f3 f5 41. Rb8 Ra2+ 42. Ke3 f4+ 43. gxf4 exf4+ 44. Kf2 c4 45. Rb7 c3 46. Rxg7 Ra6 47. e4+ Kc4 48. Rc7+ Kb3 49. Rb7+ Ka3 50. Ke2 Rd6 51. Rxh7 c2 52. Rc7 Kb2 53. Rb7+ Kc1 54. h5 Rd2+ 55. Ke1 Rd1+ 56. Ke2 Rh1 57. Rb5 Rh3 58. Rc5 Rh2+ 59. Kf1 Kd2 60. Kg1 Rxh5 0-1

GM Sundar Shyam fought his way to the top, including a courageous last-round win

A valiant game by both players, and a bold win by Sundar Shyam, who employed an exchange sacrifice first seen by none other than GM Robert Hubner. Jorden van Foreest came first on tiebreak, edging out Sundar Shyam in second, while Avital Boruchovsky came in third.

The top finishers of Open A

Players of all ages came to enjoy the chess festival

"Meet Machteld van Foreest, the younger sister of Lucas and Jorden. She had an 1857 performance.
Not bad for an eight year old!" (thanks Dimir!)

Many families came

Even top players such as Anne Haast

GM Ernst Sipke playing in a match, gave a simul that was much appreciated

van Foreest - Sipke match

FM Lucas van Foreest faced...

...GM Ernst Sipke in match.

There was also a six-game match organized between Lucas van Foreest, Jorden’s younger brother, and GM Ernst Sipke. The grandmaster had a 200 Elo advantage, and that plus his experience took him to a decisive 5-1 win.


A nice short video showing the event and activities

Final standings of Open A

Rk Name Pts Fed Rtg Perf TB
1 IM Van Foreest, Jorden 7.5 NED 2547 2690 51.5
2 GM Shyam, Sundar M. 7.5 IND 2485 2682 53.5
3 GM Boruchovsky, Avital 6.5 ISR 2540 2564 53.0
4 IM Golubov, Saveliy 6.5 RUS 2452 2506 49.0
5 Brink, Barry 6.5 NED 2360 2448 46.0
6 FM Maris, Ivo 6.5 NED 2352 2404 45.5
7 IM Kuipers, Stefan 6.5 NED 2398 2434 42.0
8 IM Petrov, Nikita 6.0 RUS 2456 2513 53.0
9 GM Kasparov, Sergey 6.0 BLR 2485 2473 47.5
10 FM Baskin, Robert 6.0 GER 2351 2442 44.0
11 GM Werle, Jan 5.5 NED 2542 2499 56.0
12 IM Lobzhanidze, Davit 5.5 GEO 2425 2398 48.0
13 IM De Jong, Migchiel 5.5 NED 2336 2392 45.0
14 Maatman, Nick 5.5 NED 2258 2369 43.5
15 FM Chen, Pengyu 5.5 AUS 2289 2344 43.0
16 FM Warmerdam, Max 5.5 NED 2335 2227 38.5
17 IM Soors, Stef 5.0 BEL 2398 2322 48.0
18 Amesz, Jaap 5.0 NED 2166 2348 47.0
19 FM Von Meijenfeldt, Bart 5.0 NED 2283 2346 46.0
20 FM Beerdsen, Thomas 5.0 NED 2323 2326 45.5

Click for complete standings


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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