The Amsterdam Chess Tournament revisited

by ChessBase
7/30/2005 – A few days ago we brought you a photo report of the ACT by Fred Lucas. Well, the Dutch have more than one superb chess photographer. Today Frits Agterdenbos, who has contributed pictures and portraits to many chess books and magazines, gives us his own unique impressions of the event.

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The Second Amsterdam Chess Tournament (ACT) was held from July 16 to 24, 2005. It was won by Ukrainian GM Pavel Eljanov, who defeated Ivan Sokolov in the final round. A few days ago we brought you photographic impressions by Fred Lucas. Today another well-known Dutch photographer, Frits presents his works on the Amsterdam event.

Dutch GM and chess legend Jan Timman. In 1982 Timman held the second place on the world ranking after Anatoly Karpov, which gave him the name “best of the west”. In “64 Schaakportretten” I wrote: “Maybe he lived too much the life of an artist life to become world champion”, and that is still my view. Jan Timman was one of the first chess players I photographed. It was in 1977, before I seriously entered the chess world in 1979. At the ACT closing ceremony the organisers said that Timman was worth 50% of the media attention. Media attractor Timman slipped temporarily out of the world top 100, but now with a July rating of 2625, and a shared 78 ranking, he is on his way back to a fine position in the world chess elite.

Artyom Timofeev, 20-year-old GM from Russia, who is currently number four amongst the best juniors in the world.

Ivan Cheparinov is 2005 Bulgarian champion and also the second of Topalov

Final round of the ACT: Vladimir Akopian vs Boris Avrukh, which ended in a draw. The Gulf state of Qatar used the ACT as a kind of training tournament. The ACT organisers happily saw the entry of Akopian, who is trainer of the Qatari players.

Top seed Vladimir Akopian from Armenia, who constantly covers part of his face, making him a difficult target for photographers. But one day I will show the audience how photogenic he truly is.

The winner: Pavel Eljanov, Ukraine. Eljanov was a member of the golden Ukrainian team which won the first prize at the Chess Olympiad 2004 in Calvia, with a TPR of 2766

GM Andrei Kharlov from Russia

GM Sergey Erenburg, 22, originally Russia, now Israel. In Warsaw-Zegrze Poludniowe he qualified for the next world championship race by winning a tie break.

GM Mohamad Al Modiahki, the best player from Qatar

Former world champion Zhu Chen (married to Al-Modiahki) and Dutch GM Peng Zhaoqin

Akopian watching Eljanov vs Sokolov in the final round

Dutch conference: Ivan Sokolov in a characteristic pose, coffee to drink and Jan Timman to talk to. Sokolov and Timman are part of the Dutch team in Goteborg ECTC.

Congratulations! IM Erwin L'Ami has beaten Mohamed Al-Modiahki to become Holland's 18th GM

The future of Dutch chess: GMs Erwin L'Ami (20 years), Jan Smeets (20) and Daniel Stellwagen (18). The trio is often referred to as “Jong Oranje” (in English literally “Young Orange”, the top Dutch Juniors). In April 2005 they, together with Magnus Carlsen, played a double Round Robin Rapid in Schagen. It was won by Smeets. Stellwagen recently beat compatriot Loek van Wely in Maastricht in the second Complete Chess match. In September 2005 the three will participate in the Dutch championship, l’Ami because of his result in the championship of 2004, Smeets and Stellwagen because of their results in the semi finals this year. Erwin l’Ami and Jan Smeets are born on the exactly same day: 5th April 1985. It gives the feeling they are twins, also because they work together, see for instance their contribution to the New in Chess Yearbook 75.

The new GM Erwin l'Ami, minutes after completing the norm. His family name l’Ami is French for “the friend”, so who could dislike him? Erwin l’Ami made his first GM norm in Amsterdam, ACT 2004, his second in Gausdal 2004 and his third in ACT 2005. He is a succesful weekend tournament player, recently winning Utrecht June 2005 and sharing first prize in Haarlem July 2005.

I got my check! Eljanov at the end or the tournament

Frits Agterdenbos, 45, lives in Heemstede, not far from Amsterdam, and was one of the leading chess photographers in the eighties. From 1979–1991 his pictures appeared in several magazins, including New in Chess, Schakend Nederland, Inside Chess, BCM, Chess, Europe Echecs and Schach. In 1984 his Dutch book “64 Schaakportretten” (in English “64 Chess Portraits”) was published. In 1991 he “retired” as a chess photographer to finish his studies and in 1997 he received a diploma as an insurance mathematician (actuary). Since 1998 he has been a self-employed, working under the company name “Acturix”, which is his actuarial consultancy firm.

Now Frits is back as a chess photographer! In January 2005 he picked up his old passion, and publications show he still knows how to handle his camera. He combines his insurance job and chess photography with being a husband and a father of the beautiful Elena (almost three years old). You will find his photos on,, and, and many more websites and magazines. You can contact him under f.agterdenbos(at) (insert "@" at the appropriate place).


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