Simul Nick Schilder
The very popular Dutch singer Nick Schilder from the duo Nick & Simon gave a simul this morning against around 30 young players at the McDonald's in Hoogeveen. As expected, a lot of girls turned up to play chess with Nick! Later this afternoon he will open the tournament at the De Tamboer theatre in the Hoogeveen city centre.
Nick had had good fun at the exhibition: 'There was certainly some talent around, and there was a good atmosphere', he said. 'It's great that the owner has already been supporting this event for 22 years.' With so many opponents to face in 1.5 hours, things became hectic. Christine Namaganda (from the movie 'Queen of Katwe') and tournament director Loek van Wely stepped in to help Nick, who is a pretty good chess player, to keep up the pace. There were a few draws and even one young winner.
Round 1 Open has started!
Round 1 of the Open started a little late today. Some of the boards were already occupied...
Here, Nick Schilder is playing an offhand game with Christine Namaganda, who by the way is the actress who played the opponent that the 'Queen of Katwe' had to beat in the movie of the same name.
Tournament director Loek van Wely welcomed all the players. Chief arbiter Frans Peeters announced that all 42 games of the Open group will be transmitted live every day. He asked the players to stop the clocks immediately at the end of their game, so that the last move can be recorded (and no further moves). A bye can be requested, but if a player has taken a bye he can no longer apply for the finales, which will take place after round 7 between the highest 4 players in the ranking.
Drawing of lots for the matches
Sorry, we've been absent for a while due to the fact that the official opening of the Hoogeveen Matches was held elsewhere. You can read more about that later on this site. The drawing of lots had the following result for the first round, which will be played tomorrow:
Sam Shankland-Peter Svidler
Vladimir Fedoseev-Jorden van Foreest
Some bizarre moments
Dutch GM Erik van den Doel was a bit surprised by the strong play of 13-year-old Indian girl Rakshitta Ravi. 'I was worse for a while', Van den Doel admitted. As far as move 30 the young Indian girl - yet another big talent to watch? had some pressure on the seasoned Dutchman's position. Then, as these things go, she went astray with 30.Bb7? and slowly lost control.
Fresh Dutch IM Max Warmerdam also had a hard time against 15-year-old talent Jonas Hilwerda. Then the young player from Groningen suffered from a horrible short-circuit.
Here Jonas played 25... Bxg5, a good move but with the wrong
intention: 'After 26. Bxf8 for some reason I thought my rook was on b8, and I wanted to play a nice trick: 26...Qf7!!. When I saw what was wrong I had already touched my queen.' But it gets worse. After 26...Qc8 (26...Bg6 would have been the 'normal' move) 27.Qg3 Black sacrificed his queen with 27...Qxf8, and eventually lost. However, 27...Qd7 or 27...Qe6 would still have been OK for Black! He just threatens to take on f8 with the rook, and otherwise he will have time to retreat his bishop.
Just a few small surprises
The grandmasters did their job today in the first round - no upsets to speak of. But several young players did quite well today, bridging some big Elo-differences. Feline Waardenburg held Ron Hoffman to a draw, and so did Max van de Pavoordt against Rob Bertholee, as well as Duncan Klaren against IM Migchiel de Jong and William Shakhverdian against seasoned Indian player Ojas Kulkarni, who has played in a lot of Dutch tournaments recently.
Even better did Marcel Winkels, who beat the theoretically much stronger Marijn den Hartog, and the same went for Loek van der Hagen against Irishman David Murray.