Bilbao, Budapest, Dominican Republic, Hoogeveen

Bilbao, Budapest, Dominican Republic, Hoogeveen


Since my last blog post I've travelled so much, and new trips are on the horizon again! A few days before I'll be travelling to Sochi for the Anand-Carlsen match let me share what I did since the Olympiad.

In September I was happy to return to Bilbao, Spain — or rather, Basque country. It's one of the “chess cities” I really like because of the cominbation of a classical old town and nice, modern architecture (including the Guggenheim, which never ceases to amaze), its pleasant climate and the Spanish food (and language!).

This year not only the Masters Final but also the European Club Cup was organized in Bilbao, and so many top GMs could be found in one big hall again. I did photos and videos there for the official website and

There was one funny episode during the penultimate round, when I was holding my camera and an arbiter thought I was using flash. He became so angry (even tore my accreditation bag and broke the chord) that all spectators and even the players looked up.

Later I discovered that my camera has a small light that lits up when I use autofocus. After a friendly chat the arbiter even got me a new badge. Laughing

Next stop was Budapest, albeit only for one day. I attended the Polgar Chess Festival for the first time, and I can only say it was a wonderful experience. A full day with lots of celebrities (I even interviewed Mr Rubik, of the cube!), simuls, blitz and children activities. 

Judit and Sofia Polgar have created fantastic school material for you kids to learn all kinds of things using chess themed puzzles and exercises. Hungarian chess is lucky to have these wonderful ladies promoting the game for the new generations!

After Budapest I flew back to Amsterdam on Sunday morning the 5th of October, changed suitcases and went back to the airport for two flights, to New York and then Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. There I spent five fantastic days with the for a company meetup with lots of useful meetings, beach sports and nice food.


It ended with some more hectic travelling as I spent about 1.5 hours at home before I was picked up by GM Loek van Wely for the Univé Chess tournament in Hoogeveen. Also there I spent a week taking care of the photos and videos for the official website and

After such a period it's very nice to spend a few weeks at home, but now I'm already looking forward to travelling again. I guess my job is somewhat similar to that of a top GM!