Dutch Championship started

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Yesterday an already historical Dutch Championship has started. By getting rid of some old furniture (e.g. Sokolov, Van Wely, Nikolic and Timman) we'll be enjoying a 2008 edition that's as fresh as can be.

Let's be honest, do we really want Jan Timman in the national championships? "Without any guarantee, a professional chess player can't make a commitment with any tournament," he stated recently. How does he dare to say so! What has happened to romantic chess? Is there nobody left willing to choose the hard life of a chess professional, full of pain and disaster?

Loek van Wely doesn't play either, but hey, we need him like a hole in the head. Even John van der Wiel, who participated a record number of 28 times, refused to play this year, but that's no problem either. He reached his zenith last year anyway, by drawing all his games.

So much for irony; Dutch chess is in trouble. Except for Sergei Tiviakov, The "big guys" are missing at the national championship, and it's mainly about the money. More accurately: the lack of money.

World title contender and former no. 2 (!) in the world Jan Timman doesn't play in tournaments without starting fee, which happens to be the case at the Dutch Championships, due to lack of sponsorship. Van Wely doesn't play for free either, but he had offered the federation a package deal: the nationals for a very low fee, and the Olympiad for a normal fee. But because the federation couldn't make any promises about the Olympiad yet, Van Wely had to decline. Instead, he's playing the Russian Team Championships right now.

The prize fund of this year's Dutch Ch is ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 34,000 (the winner receives ?¢‚Äö¬¨ 10,000) but this includes VAT, which means the federation indirectly profits from the players. This, and the fact that this year the players' expenses aren't covered either, has made especially Van der Wiel and GM Erik van den Doel quite angry. The latter became a participant after qualifying in three minimatches this year, but refused to play anyway.

But, a Dutch championship is a Dutch championship. And last year the main fight for the title was between Tiviakov and Stellwagen anyway, so perhaps it's not so bad. Unfortunately they were paired against each other already in the first round, but since they drew their game, their mutual fight for the title is still fully open.

Curious to see if Smeets and l'Ami can take a shot at the title, curious to see if a reborn Reinderman can continue his good results, curious to see how many brilliancies Bosboom will create this time. The Dutch championship has begun, and it will be covered here at ChessVibes. Because, well, blood will show, right?


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