In the right direction

Verslag sluitingceremonie

The closing ceremony started with the prize-giving of the Amateur 1 group. Here are the winners:
1 Albert Vasse 7 out of 9
2 Christiaan Mol, Jord Ypma 6½
4 Jan Lootsma, Marcel Struik, Theo Ebels 6
Rating prize: Tijmen Hofstra 6
Albert Vasse is better known as an arbiter, but he also turns out to be a good chess player. ‘I played much better in the old days, but I’m glad I can still do it’, he said. ‘Next year I hope to participate in the Open’.
Next, tournament director Loek van Wely gave a WIM norm certificate to 13-year-old Indian girl Rakshitta Ravi, who made 5 points in the Open. It is her third norm, so she will receive the title at the next occasion. Three years ago Rakshitta was already World Champion under 10 and she is quite ambitious to get more titles!
In reverse order the highest prizes of the Open were given to:
1 Bassem Amin (winner of the finals)
2 Dmitry Kryakvin
3 Eltaj Safarli
4 Erik van den Doel
and the ‘Best of the rest’ in the Open:
5 Gadir Guseinov
6 Thomas Beerdsen
7 Valentin Buckels
8 Roeland Pruijssers (all 6½)
9 Eelke de Boer
10 P Iniyan
11 Evgeny Romanov
12 P Karthikeyan
13 Nico Zwirs
14 David Miedema
15 Frans Konings
16 Ojas Kulkarni
17 Max Warmerdam
18 Migchiel de Jong (all 6)
Alderman Jan Steenbergen from Hoogeveen said he thought it had been a great tournament. ‘And it is important that there is a lot of attention for youth chess. I’m glad that the organization of the Hoogeveen tournament is talking with all the primary schools in our city to teach children to play chess. Hoogeveen is a city of football, but it’s good to also promote other sports here. I think the organization deserves a fantastic applause, and I hope we will continue for years to come.’
Van Wely conducted some short interviews with the four match players. 
Jorden van Foreest said his match with Fedoseev had been interesting, and ‘unexpected in many ways: six draws... and the blitz was unexpected too’. Now that Jorden has lost a match again, we will see if he will be here next year!
Vladimir Fedoseev had also been surprised by the way the match went: ‘I thought I might have a win in every single game, but however I tried everything ended in a draw. I could even have lost the match in the blitz.’ At Van Wely’s question, Fedoseev confirmed that he too will be playing in the Tata Steel tournament in January, so he will meet Van Foreest again in Wijk aan Zee.
About the other match, Van Wely admitted that he had considered Peter Svidler to be the favourite, but when the Russian was so out of form in recent weeks he’d had second thoughts. Shankland confirmed: ‘With white I had prepared three openings, from boring to interesting. Then, when I saw Peter struggling, I changed the order: from interesting to boring (Sam won the first game). Peter took one chance more than I did. Let me praise him for turning the screws on me. I only regret that I missed a couple of chances to make it closer.’
Peter Svidler agreed that his preparation had not been ideal, ‘and after I lost the first game I thought, here we go again. Then Sam provoked me a bit, certainly in Game 4. To be honest, I never really felt in control in this match, and even when I was leading it was no plain sailing. I’m happy I came through as I hadn’t expected to.’
All the winners were given a nice and easily portable sculpture, and then Shankland came with another announcement: ‘As these two knuckleheads have already told you they’re coming to Tata, I can now say I will be there too.’ So that makes three!
Loek van Wely concluded with the remark that the tournament organization is still looking to improve: ‘It is a process, but I think we have been heading in the right direction this year with our focus on youth chess. And we intend to have the World Champion in Hoogeveen in 2021. Thank you everybody!’