Hans Ree: A veteran turns 75

by André Schulz
9/15/2019 – Hans Ree was the fourth chess player born in the Netherlands to receive the Grandmaster title from FIDE after Max Euwe, Jan Hein Donner and Jan Timman. Following his active years as a player, he became one of the most important chess journalists. Today Ree celebrates his 75th birthday. | Photo: Dutch National Archive

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A Grandmaster turned writer

Hans Ree was born on September 15, 1944 in Amsterdam, and celebrates his 75th birthday today.

As a teenager in the mid-1960s, Ree was able to qualify several times for the European Youth Championships, which were much smaller and more select events than they are today. Ree was first Dutch National Champion in 1967 and was able to repeat this success in 1969, 1971 and again in 1982. Between 1965 and 1993 Ree took part in 21 Dutch Championships.

He was awarded the International Master title in 1968.

Between 1966 and 1984 he represented the Netherlands ten times in Chess Olympiads. In his first such outing in 1966, as the 1st reserve player he score 11 points from 15 games, making the third best reserve player result. In 1976, he won the silver medal with the team. Overall, he played 119 games in chess Olympiads and scored 61%.

Hans Ree (right) with Max Euwe | Photo: Dutch National Archive 

Among his biggest personal tournament successes is the shared first place, together with then-World Champion Boris Spassky, at the Canadian Open Championships in Vancouver in 1971.

In 1980, FIDE awarded him the Grandmaster title. Until 2011, Hans Ree was active in team competition for in the Dutch Premier League, and he played an Open tournament in rapid chess as recently as this year.

At his peak, Ree beat some very strong players and had an excellent record especially against Antony Miles.


Ree in 2018

Ree with White in 2018 has just forked a pair of rooks | Photo: Frans Peeters

In addition to his career as a player, Hans Ree gained great popularity as a chess journalist, especially, but not only in his homeland. Starting in 1969 he authored a weekly chess column for the Haagse Post. Later, he also took over the chess column for the NRC Handelsblad, which continues to this day. 

Over the years, Hans Ree has published the following books:

  • In the first stoot pat, 1979
  • Een man noticed nooit iets, 1985
  • Wat een kracht! Wat een gratie !, 1986
  • Een blind reus, 1989. 
  • Rode dagen en zwarte dagen, 1993. Verzamde columns uit NRC Handelsblad.
  • Schaakstukjes, 1993
  • Schitterend Schaak, 1997
  • Holland loses, 1998
  • The Human Comedy Of Chess. A Grandmaster's Chronicles, 2000. Essays, Willem Tissot
  • God is not kneaded, 2002. Verzamde columns uit NRC Handelsblad
  • Mijn Schaken, 2010


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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