NK Open: a 140-year-old tradition

by Alina l'Ami
7/28/2014 – The NK Open, which takes place in Dieren, Holland, between 22 - 31 July dates back 140 years and it has been 46 years since it was held in the current location. It has around 430 players, playing in seven sections; but the GM section gives the opportunity to the Dutch players who place the highest to qualify for the National Dutch championship. A beautiful report by Alina L'Ami.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The pastoral facet of The Netherlands

I just learned a new English word with this occasion: "dragonfly" This insect was so so
unimaginably small! And it opened my interest for macro-photography as well

I had a 10 km walk one of these days and this is the sort of lucious landscape I found along the way

This was the object of my 10km walk: The Middachten castle, which dates from the early Middle Ages

This house is straight out of a Fairy Tale

What is Alina doing when not playing chess nor watching Erwin's game? Chasing the birds!

I personally love to receive trophies and this one is truly beautiful

Anna-Maja Kazarian, the new talent of Holland; she is also the only
woman participant in the NK Open. Below is an example of her play.

[Event "NK Open, Dieren"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.26"] [Round "4"] [White "De Jong, Mighiel"] [Black "Kazarian, Anna-Maja"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2345"] [BlackElo "2025"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2rr2k1/1pq1bpp1/4p2p/p1PnN3/1P6/PQ6/3B1PPP/2R1R1K1 b - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {The following example is not entirely clean but practically speaking and also esthetically wise, it is a masterpiece!} 21... Nxb4 $1 {daring and tactically speaking correct, although there were other alternatives as well} 22. Nxf7 $1 { Counter offer! The knight is the trickiest piece that chess inventors could come up with! Not surprisingly, this mere piece is also the favourite of many top grandmasters and I would mention Judit Polgar, if you would accept my own biases here...} Rxd2 23. Nxh6+ {Again, for the third time! And yet, here it became a bit too much and, indeed, after} Kh7 $1 24. Qxe6 Qf4 {the 14 y.o. Anna-Maja won her game. I should mention that this little beautiful girl is the new chess talent in Holland and I wouldn't be surprised if she will make a big jump in this direction soon. Except for chess, Anna-Maja received recognitions in figure skating, singing and beauty contests! But nothing compares to the beauty and pleasure that chess gives her, as she shared with us.} 0-1

I usually see parents waiting for their children to finish their games;
or maybe wives, patiently waiting for their husbands. This time
though I saw a cute little girl, solving mathematical equations while
supporting her brother.

The Indian GM Deep Sengupta

Second seed: the Russian GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov

[Event "NK Open, Dieren"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.24"] [Round "3"] [White "Stany, G.A."] [Black "Ikonnikov, Vyacheslav"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2399"] [BlackElo "2556"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2k2r1r/1pqb2b1/p1n1p3/4P1B1/1pPpBP2/8/P1N1Q1P1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {White's position was certainly not preferable before the last move played on the board, but after 21.Be4, Black was given a big chance:} 21... Bxe5 $1 {Of course, the Russian GM didn't allow this opportunity to vanish in thin air.} 22. Bxc6 ({Obviously} 22. fxe5 {doesn't save the house from fire either, due to } Qxe5 {with massive threats.}) 22... Bxc6 23. Qxe5 Qh7 $1 {with mating threats, while keeping a vigilent eye on the c2-knight. White was not able to restructure his defences and lost on move 35.} 0-1

The reader will surely hear more from the talented young Dutch player, Jorden van Foreest, who won the European Championship U14 in 2013. Jorden comes from a chess family where everyone plays the game, including all his other four brothers and his little sister!! He just turned 15, started to play chess more seriously when he was 9 and now is making a name of his own while giving quite some tough times to many GMs. In the game against my husband, it looked promising for Erwin but, perhaps, he overestimated his chances, went too far and suddenly found himself in trouble...The last moments of the 4th round were onions to my eyes, especially after the smooth game Erwin had had.

[Event "NK Open, Dieren"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.25"] [Round "4"] [White "Van Foreest, Jorden"] [Black "l'Ami, Erwin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2461"] [BlackElo "2650"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r1k3/7R/8/p1pK3p/P3Pp1P/8/8/8 w - - 0 48"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {To my relief} 48. Rh8+ $2 {was played and soon a perpetual was delivered and the scoresheets signed under the peaceful result. Maybe the fact that Black didn't see either the resource White had and since the trend in the previous parts of the game were not really in White's favour, played an important role in this missed opportunity, which is trully beautiful and I invite you to look further!} (48. Kd6 $1 {the beginning of the end (for Black) but it has to be calculated precisely, as every tempo in the endgame is crucial!} f3 49. Rh8+ Kf7 50. Rxc8 f2 {from afar, it seemed like White didn't achieve anything and actually might even be in muddy waters...thought Jorden. Is it true?} 51. Rxc5 $1 {the point of White's strategy!} f1=Q 52. Rf5+ Qxf5 53. exf5 Kf6 {and now is all about calculation: is White going to queen first and in favourable conditions?} 54. Kc6 Kxf5 55. Kb5 Kg4 56. Kxa5 Kxh4 57. Kb5 Kg3 58. a5 h4 59. a6 h3 60. a7 h2 61. a8=Q {Yes, it does! Had Black's king been on f2, g1, f1, to be closer to the h1-square, it would have been a different story...So this is how Jorden could have had a perfect 4 out of 4 score!}) 48... Kd7 49. Rh7+ Ke8 50. Rh8+ Kd7 51. Rh7+ 1/2-1/2

It was not all missed chances for the young talent, and here is a spectacular one in which you, the dear reader, are also invited to investigate on your own.

[Event "NK Open, Dieren"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.24"] [Round "3"] [White "Kolbus, Dietmar"] [Black "Van Foreest, Jorden"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2303"] [BlackElo "2461"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2b4r/1p3kb1/3p1nq1/P1pPp1p1/P1P1PpPn/1NN2P2/2KBB3/5RQ1 b - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {What would you play with Black?} 30... Nxf3 $3 {I gave two exclamation marks to this daring and honestly speaking, extraordinary positional sacrifice, since I believe it simple deserves it. It is not the first time I am mentioning the refreshing chess the young Jorden is playing; the point he received in this game is the guerdon of his no-half-measure treatments. And of course, of his excellent play. In the game} 31. Bxf3 {followed, which was answered with} Rh3 32. Qg2 Rg3 33. Qh1 Nxg4 {where Black grabbed a pawn, then another and after 30 more moves, the game.} 0-1

Since analyzing in depth this position would require a lot of time and it still might be far from the truth, I invite you dear reader to dig further and find the ultimate conclusion. Besides, the game itself is absolutely amazing, Black had at some point two queens on the board and the finishing touch deserves attention as well...a nice game to replay and investigate. Good luck!

One of his little brothers is playing as well: Lucas van Foreest

The Indian IM Arghyadip Das who just won the Leiden Open held
right before this tournament

Yochanan Afek, also playing in the NK Open, has a special study which he composed especially
for this tournament, and two-move mates each day, for chess lovers to solve

White to play and win! The study was composed especially for this tournament by the already very much known in his field of expertise, Yochanan Afek, who is playing in the NK Open as well. During the closing ceremony, on 31st of July, there will be a drawing of lots where three correct solutions will be rewarded with a special prize. So don't hesitate and send in your answers via this link: http://onk.schaakbond.nl/activiteiten/studie Good luck!

The best friend of Dutch people: the bicycle. On it is GM Erwin L'Ami,
the tournament's top seed.

[Event "NK Open, Dieren"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.23"] [Round "?"] [White "Von Meijenfeldt, Bart"] [Black "l'Ami, Erwin"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2331"] [BlackElo "2650"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4k2/p1Rp1pp1/1p5p/1B6/8/8/PP1K1PbP/8 b - - 0 22"] [PlyCount "4"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {Question time for you! If you were Black, how would you continue? Is is obvious you would have to play for a win, but your pieces are tied up, the two extra pawns might not be two anymore, as the d-little fellow is endangered; so how to organize our forces? I'll give you three alternatives: 22...Bh3; 22... d6; 22...Bc6 Which one should be? I will start with the move that was played in the game by my husband, Erwin l'Ami, against Bart von Meijenfeldt:} 22... Bc6 {a natural and sensible move, as the d-pawn will fall sooner or later anyway and the rook from a8 should be released from its own cage, even if sacrifices have to be paid...but after} (22... Bh3 {Was another option but has been discarded by Erwin during the game and rightly so, as after} 23. Be2 Be6 24. Bf3 d5 25. Kd3 {again White's pieces are centralized, mobilized and ready to oppose fierce defense}) (22... d6 {seems logical as well but doesn't promise a smooth and headache free winning sail either} 23. Bc4 d5 24. Bb5 Bh3 25. Bc6 {Black's pieces are far from being overly thrilled with their lookouts} ) 23. Bxc6 dxc6 24. Kc3 {aiming to still keep under lock and key the black rook; Black is of course better but there was a lot of skills and efforts required for Erwin to win this technical rook endgame. OK, I cheated a bit:) I gave you three options which, in my opinion, are not the best ones:) But there is another hidden resource in the position which can easily be overlooked during a game, since nobody would warn you there is something, so you should dig further! When we were checking with the computer, our Houdini immediately shouted: 22...Ke8!! This is such a surprising move, a tactical one, which is rather unexpected for endgames. Yet, this wins on the spot, as White cannot take the d-pawn anymore; 23.Rxd7 fails to 23...a6, while 23.Bxd7 would run into 23...Kd8. Elegant and subtle resource which would have promised Black an easier life than what happened in the game.} 0-1

Many activities are happening around the tournament: blitz, simul, live commentary etc.

"Work is for people who can't fish"

Photos by Alina L'Ami

Standings after six rounds

GM Sengupta, Deep
GM Ikonnikov, Vyacheslav
IM Das, Arghyadip
GM L'Ami, Erwin
FM Van Foreest, Jorden
IM Wiersma, Eelke
FM Sowray, Peter J
GM Ernst, Sipke
GM Horvath, Csaba
GM Hausrath, Daniel
GM Pruijssers, Roeland
IM Afek, Yochanan
Zwirs, Nico
IM Stany, George Anthony
Pijpers, Arthur
IM Saravanan, Venkatachalam
IM Kolbus, Dietmar
Struik, Tjapko
FM Mostertman, Milan
Maris, Ivo


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register