Photo: Peter Doggers


Closing ceremony

Photo: Peter Doggers

Tex de Wit, a comedian and a chess commentator, presented the closing ceremony smoothly. His first ‘guest’ was alderman Gert Vos of Hoogeveen, who had been impressed throughout the week by the ‘noble spirit’ of chess: ‘I’ve played soccer and volleyball, but there’s always noise there. A chess tournament has a respectful, concentrated atmosphere.’

He called it a great honour to host this chess event in the Hoogeveen town hall, and said that, as far as he knew, the tournament would be welcome again next year. Then he asked for a round of applause for the tournament secretary, the very versatile Jeroen Bottema, and for the new tournament director Loek van Wely, who had done a great job in his opinion: ‘I’ve seen nothing but satisfied faces here.’

Gert Vos | Photo: Peter Doggers

The tournament treasurer, Teun Boersma, addressed Loek van Wely especially: ‘You’ve made something very special of this event, and I am convinced that you will become a good “horseman”.’ Then he presented the ruling Dutch champion with a beautiful book called ‘The Beauty of the Horse’.

​To the question repeated by Tex de Wit, what was actually worse: losing a tournament or leading one, Van Wely still didn’t give a clear-cut answer: ‘I haven’t really been myself this week… next week I’ll be a player again, and chess gives me less stress for sure. Do I have more respect for organizers now? Well, I may have been nasty to some of them in the past… now I’ll think again before I do that.’ In any case many people have come to respect the leading capabilities of the top chess player from Tilburg.

Loek van Wely | Photo: Peter Doggers
The Prize Giving
Wouter Slump got a prize for the best performance in Nick Maatman’s simultaneous display at McDonald’s. In Amateur Group 2 (the morning group), Tinus Fleur was the champion. A few decades ago he’d had a winning position against Loek van Wely in the town of Gorredijk. Had he converted that position, who knows he might have been standing on the stage in another capacity today. The main prize in Amateur Group 1 (afternoon) went to Johan Mostertman.

Van Wely said that he thought the new set-up of the tournament, with two matches instead of a four-player double round robin, was a success: ‘We had four great fighters. I was hoping for many decisions, and uncompromising play, and I am happy. Only Baadur Jobava let me down: he played a few “normal” games here. That wasn’t the deal.”

Jan Timman was of course disappointed with his result, but he said he had enjoyed playing such an interesting opponent. When Jobava was asked whether he was happy, he simply said: ‘Yes!’

Jobava thanks Timman | Photo: Peter Doggers

De Wit, who is a fan of Shirov’s Fire on Board books, asked the author if we could expect a third volume soon. ‘Maybe’, Shirov answered, still a little shaken. ‘But then the title may be “Smoke after Fire...”

Like Baadur Jobava, Anish Giri was about to travel to Tashkent to play the Grand Prix tournament. ‘Here things worked out well, let’s see if they also work out well there. I may be one of the favourites now, but I still have the feeling that my rating is a bit too high.’ We’ll see in the coming days.

Anish Giri with his trophy | Photo: Peter Doggers

Finally Van Wely handed a prize to Mees van Osch, who had achieved his first IM-norm in the Open. And so there were many satisfied faces, Saturday night in Hoogeveen.

Many thanks to everyone involved in the tournament, and hopefully till next year!