Jan Smeets wins the Dutch Championship 2008

by ChessBase
4/13/2008 – One round before the end Daniël Stellwagen led the Championship, half a point ahead of three GMs. Would all last round games be drawn? Not in these Dutch Championships, where they all ended in decisions, with Jan Smeets dramatically edging out Stellwagen. The women's section was won yet again by Peng Zhaoquin, the Open by 13-year-old Anish Giri. Report with a photo essay by Fred Lucas.

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Dutch Championship 2008

The Dutch Championship is taking place from April 2nd to 13th, 2008, in the TV Studio 2, Media Park, Hilversum. The event is a twelve-player round robin with an average rating of 2536 (= Category XII). First prize is € 10,000. The rate of play is 40 moves in 120 minutes. After that the players get 55 minutes for the rest of the game, with a five-second increment per move starting from move 41.

Final report

After ten of eleven rounds Daniël Stellwagen was in the lead, with 7.0/10 and half a point ahead of a phalanx of three grandmasters: Sipke Ernst, Erwin L'Ami and Jan Smeets. Just the kind of situation in which all games in the last round (with an 11 a.m. start) are destined to be drawn. But not in these Dutch Championships. All six games of round 11 ended in decisions, five in favour of White and one for Black (tail-ender Manuel Bosboom beat title contender Erwin L'Ami). IM Ruud Janssen knocked Sipke Ernst out of contention, while Daniël Stellwagen faced his championship rival Jan Smeets.

Smeets,J (2578) - Stellwagen,D (2621) [B82]
ch-NED Hilversum NED (11), 13.04.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.f4 b5 8.Qf3 Bb7 9.Bd3 Nf6 10.g4 d6 11.0-0-0 Be7 12.Kb1 Nd7 13.g5 0-0 14.h4 Nc5 15.Nce2 Rac8 16.h5 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 f5 18.gxf6 Bxf6 19.Qg4 e5 20.Ne6 Nxe6 21.Qxe6+ Kh8 22.h6 g6 23.Rhf1 Qe7 24.Qb3 exf4 25.Bxf4 Be5 26.Bxe5+ dxe5 27.a4 b4 28.Rxf8+ Rxf8 29.c3 bxc3 30.Qxc3 g5 31.Bc4 Bxe4+ 32.Ka2 Bf5 33.Bxa6 Qe6+ 34.Bc4 Qxh6 35.Qxe5+ Qg7 36.Qd6 g4 37.a5

Black is under pressure, but has a chance to hang on, draw and win the title of Dutch Champion. But in this situation he falters. 37...g3? 38.Rg1 Ra8 39.a6 g2 40.Qd5. Attacking the rook, bishop and pawn. 40...Re8? Bad defence in an essentially hopeless position. 41.Qxf5 Qd4 42.Qf7. Good enough to win, but the tactical solution was 42.Bd3 with deadly effect. 42...Rc8 43.Rxg2 Qxc4+ 44.Qxc4 Rxc4 45.Rg3 and White easily wins this pawn ending. 1-0.

That cost Stellwagen, who turned 21 on March 1st, the title of Dutch Champion and handed it to Jan Smeets, who celebrated his 23rd birthday a week ago.

The winner and Dutch Champion 2008: GM Jan Smeets, 2578

Final standings men

The draw ratio was a very respectable 50%, with 30% of the games ending in favour of White and 20% in favour of Black. The performance of the winner was 2665. Top seed Sergey Tiviakov performed at a disappointing 2560.

Women's Championship

In the women's section, after a slightly shaky start, Peng Zhaoquin took over in familiar style and won the championship a point and a half ahead of the field. This is her eighth or ninth win, we believe in succession (but who can count so many triumphs?).

Addendum: Peng tells us that she has become Dutch Champion for the tenth time – count the fingers

Peng was born in Canton, China, and moved to the Netherlands in 1996, married a Dutchman (they have a 7-year-old child) and has been Holland’s leading women player ever since. She started playing chess at the relatively late age of 12, but steadily progressed to become a Women GM, the eleventh women to achieve the full grandmaster title. Peng plays first board for the Dutch national team in world competitions, where she is known for her strong determination and stamina.

Final standings women


During the Dutch Championship the INTOMART GfK 2008 Open was held and won by 13-year-old Anish Giri of Russia, a player about whom we admittedly know very little. But rest assured, we will be tracking his progress and reporting on this bright young talent in the near future.

Winner of the Open: FM Anish Giri, 13, Russia, rated 2401

# Player rating Pts. W-We WP SB Perf.
1 FM Giri, Anish 2401 7.0 +1.92 51.0 38.0 2561
2 GM Mchedlishvili, Mikheil 2635 7.0 +0.21 50.0 37.25 2638
3 GM Van Den Doel, Erik 2582 6.5 +0.56 55.0 39.25 2623
4 GM Fridman, Daniel 2640 6.5 -0.12 55.0 38.5 2614
5 GM Dgebuadze, Alexandre 2523 6.5 +1.04 54.5 37.5 2597
6 GM Chatalbashev, Boris 2605 6.5 -1.08 50.0 35.0 2476
7 GM Van Der Wiel, John T.H. 2493 6.5 +0.25 49.5 33.5 2491
8 IM Ansell, Simon T 2397 6.5 +1.24 48.0 32.75 2489
9 FM Miedema, Roi 2281 6.0 +1.81 49.5 29.75 2429
10 IM Pruijssers, Roeland 2413 6.0 +0.72 47.0 28.0 2466
11 FM Ceko, Jovan 2242 6.0 +1.11 46.0 27.0 2347
12 Ten Hertog, Hugo 2075 6.0 +3.18 45.0 28.5 2391
13 GM De Vreugt, Dennis 2403 5.5 +0.25 49.0 23.25 2415
14 IM Tate, Emory 2378 5.5 -0.41 46.0 25.25 2323
15 FM Rooze, Jan 2316 5.5 -0.15 45.0 25.25 2283
16 Van Kampen, Robin 2246 5.5 +0.01 45.0 24.5 2256
17 FM Lyell, Mark 2237 5.5 +0.07 44.0 25.0 2237
18 IM Hunt, Adam C 2453 5.5 -2.05 44.0 24.75 2243
19 Van Engen, Herman 2153 5.5 +0.54 43.5 22.75 2227
20 Breukelman, Jan 2132 5.5 +0.80 41.5 23.75 2248
21 Bok, Benjamin 2180 5.5 +0.18 41.5 20.5 2199
22 Markus, John Raymond 2200 5.5 -0.59 39.0 21.5 2141

Photo essay by Fred Lucas

Here for your pleasure is a special visual report by Dutch photographer Fred Lucas, whose extraordinary work is well known to our readers.

Did I actually win this one? Jan Smeets close-up

GM Daniel Stellwagen, Netherlands, rated 2621

Daniel Stellwagen in a close-up portrait

GM Yge Visser, 2477

GM Dimitri Reinderman from Amsterdam, rated 2526

GM Friso Nijboer, Amsterdam, 2526

IM Jan-Willem De Jong, NL, 2474

The winner of the women's section: GM Peng Zhaoqin, 2455

WFM Laura Bensdorp, NL, 2085

WIM Marlies Bensdorp, NL, 2268

Martine Middelveld, NL, 2040

Anna Haast, 14, Netherlands, rated 2020

Talitha Munnik, 16, NL, rated 2002

GM Erik van den Doel, NL, 2582

GM Dennis de Vreugt, NL, 2403, with his girlfriend, who is from Peru

IM and WGM Anna Zatonskih, USA, 2458, who finished 23rd in the Open

IM Daan Brandenburg, 20, Netherlands, 2435

All photos and information by courtesy of Fred Lucas, who is specialised in business photography. In addition he occasionally photographs the mind sport chess. He is a member of BFN, the Dutch Association of Professional photographers and also runs a small portrait studio in the center part of Utrecht. Fred's photos have been published in industrial magazines, Dutch newspapers, magazines like Nieuwe Revu and NIC, international magazines and newspapers like Aftenposten, Le Monde and the New York Times. You can browse his web site here.

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