Banikas and Ernst lead in Groningen

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
"Nothing goes above Groningen" is the literal translation of a well-known saying in The Netherlands. The capital of the most northern Dutch province is also called Groningen, where this year the traditional december tournament is organised for the 44th time. Nothing goes above Banikas and Ernst, who will be leading the Christmas rest day with 3.5 out of 4. The level of the tournament is higher than in recent years and the organisers managed to bring together an interesting field: world junior champion (and national champion) Adly from Egypt, Dutch GMs Ernst, Nijboer and Reinderman and almost the complete Olympiad team from Greece: GMs Banikas, Halkias and Mastrovasilis. A photo report.

After beating the Greek player Halkias today, Dutch GM Sipke Ernst is now leading, together with another Greek: Hristos Banikas, who beat Shilong Li from China. Nijboer and Hoffmann drew very quickly today because both liked to get home in time on Christmas eve! And we also have to mention another episode of the telephone variation, which appeared at this tournament: in round 2, the African top player Simotuwe lost after he hadn't switched off his mobile and somebody called him during the game.

Current standings:

1-2. GM Banikas, GM Ernst              3,5
3-9. GM Li, GM Nijboer, GM Adly, 
     GM Mastrovasilis, GM Reinderman,
     IM Hoffmann, IM Lobzhanidze, 
     IM Simutowe, IM Spoelman          3,0
10-  ... (50 players)

At the moment of writing round 1, round 2 and round 3 are available for replay.

Christmas in Groningen: ice skating on the big square in the centre of town (the "Grote Markt")

The venue: the Harmony Building

A piece of art within the complex

The playing hall

Sipke Ernst

Hristos Banikas

Stelios Halkias


Li Shilong

Amon Simutowe


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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