17-Year-Old Wins Dutch Championship

17-Year-Old Wins Dutch Championship

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

Besides GM Anish Giri, there's a new and bright Dutch chess star: GM Jorden van Foreest. The eldest in a big chess family won his first Dutch Championship on Sunday.

Shortly before the UEFA Euro 1992 football championship, Yugoslavia was disqualified as a result of breakup and warfare in the country. Denmark became the substitute.

The story goes that the Danish football players had already started their holidays and had to be picked up from beaches around the world to play in the tournament. The rest is history: Denmark ended up winning the tournament!

The 2016 Dutch Championship had a similar story. GM Sergei Tiviakov withdrew from the tournament shortly before the start. His pupil, 17-year-old GM Jorden van Foreest (also from Groningen) got the replacement spot. With fresh and fearless chess, Van Foreest emerged the winner.

This year the Dutch Championships (open and women's) were held August 22-28 in the theater of the ethnographic Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Tropics), one of the largest museums in Amsterdam. Both the open and the women's group consisted of eight players who played a single round robin.

A giant chess set in front of the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.

Van Foreest grabbed an early lead as he profited fully from having pairing number one which granted two whites in the starting rounds. He defeated both GMs Erwin l'Ami and Erik van den Doel using the Scotch. Here's the tactical scrimmage from the first round.

After another win as Black against GM Benjamin Bok, a sensation was in the air. Was this young boy really going to win this thing? Well, maybe not. In the next round, he lost to GM Dimitri Reinderman, after a similar exchange sacrifice to the one offered against l'Ami backfired.

The open and women's group played together on the theater's stage.

The very next day Van Foreest got back on track with a fine win against GM Sipke Ernst. Yes, this game involved another exchange sacrifice! Lots of complications followed, but in the end, Ernst could not save himself.

The penultimate round, on Saturday, featured the key game between Van Foreest and GM Loek van Wely. The opening went horribly wrong for the 17 year old. Everyone expected King Loek to slowly grind down his opponent and take over the lead in the tournament. However, Van Foreest managed to hang on. Thus he kept his half-point lead over his 43-year-old rival and six-time Dutch champion.

Surviving that game versus Van Wely was crucial for Van Foreest.

Van Wely delivered when he had to in the final round and easily won against Van den Doel. But Van Foreest completed the Cinderella story with another black victory in another King's Indian Defense (KID). The game included a provocative bishop maneuver in the opening, which GM Jan Werle failed to refute. His 7.Nh4 isn't known as the most critical move, but funnily enough, one of the two players who had played it before was Van Foreest's closest rival, Van Wely!

2016 Dutch Championship | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Van Foreest, Jorden 2601 2814 ½ 1 1 0 1 1 1 5.5/7
2 Van Wely, Loek 2657 2740 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 5.0/7
3 L'Ami, Erwin 2606 2589 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.5/7 10.75
4 Van den Doel, Erik 2575 2592 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 3.5/7 9.50
5 Reinderman, Dimitri 2584 2542 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 3.0/7 11.50
6 Bok, Benjamin 2599 2540 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 3.0/7 9.00
7 Werle, Jan 2567 2492 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2.5/7
8 Ernst, Sipke 2535 2440 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 2.0/7

This reporter noticed similarities between Van Foreest and the late-60s and early 70s GM Jan Timman. The latter's good friend IM Hans Böhm noted the same. "He has variety of chess styles; positional, strategical ... He played three exchange sacrifices in this tournament. And he's tactically very strong. A promising player."

A day after winning the championship, school resumed for Van Foreest. He is in his last year in high school. After graduating, he plans to focus fully on chess for a year or two. Predecessors like Daniel Stellwagen and Jan Smeets eventually went for a career away from the chess world. Time will tell if Van Foreest can become a professional player.

Chess is part of Van Foreest's DNA. More than a century ago, Jorden's great-great-grandfather Arnold and his brother Dirk van Foreest clinched three Dutch Championship titles between 1885 and 1902. Jorden's own brother Lucas is getting close to achieving his IM title, and their sister Machteld became Dutch Girls U10 Champion in 2014. You'll also find more family members with a FIDE rating...

For the third year in a row, the "Chess Players" by Frans Fritschy graced the playing hall.

In the women's tournament, WGM Anne Haast won her third national
title in a row after beating WGM Iozefina Paulet in a playoff.

Again the tournament included an extensive cultural program, for which the organizers, led by Paul Rump, cannot be praised enough. There was a different "side Dutch Championship" each day. For instance, there were pastors', problem solvers', hands & brains, and café championships.

Also each day, the commentary was briefly substituted for a small lecture. For example, one was about chess in the old Arabic world. In another, a professor spoke on how human brains "work" in relation to chess and music.

An old Arabic saying went: "He went towards his wine following the path of a rook, but came back following the path of a queen." In those days, a queen could only go diagonally, and one square only.

Another lecture was by Peter de Wit, a cartoonist.

The first panel says: "When a football match is boring, the commentator says: It's like watching a game of chess.
The second panel says: "But chess is extremely exciting!"
The final panel (not in the photo) says: "But this game looks like a football game. Draw?" "OK!"

Another giant chess set in the back garden of the museum.

The Dutch café chess championship. You might recognize blitz legend
IM Manuel Bosboom and chess jack-of-all-trades, Lennart Ootes.

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