End report HZ Tournament

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Because of a wedding and more family business it took a while before I could start with this final report of the Hogeschool Zeeland Tournament. Saterday afternoon I had won my own last round game very quickly and at 16.15 I was already in Utrecht, right in time to hear two lovers say the famous "yes, I do". Later that evening my mobile told me that it was Fabiano Caruana after all who had won the 11th edition of the tournament on tiebreak.

A magnificent result for the soon youngest grandmaster of all. I had written before that he's fourteen but this was a mistake; on July 30th he turned fifteen. Clinching a title before the league of strong gentlemen such as Krasenkow (who won in Vlissingen last year), Kasimdzhanov (former FIDE champ) and Tiviakov (in good form these days), is simply very impressive. For a moment things seemed to be going the wrong way when he lost to Tiviakov in round 7, but then he just beat Barua and fought hard for his half point against Kasimdzhanov, with which he secured (on tiebreak but still) his well-deserved name inscription on the tournament cup.

Caruana had come to Vlissingen with his American father; his Italian mother didn't join them. And although it was a little Italian flag on his name tag, Fabiano only speaks a few words of Italian. The young New Yorker is now a Budapester, where he moved to train and to play the First Saturday tournaments. That turned out to be a strong "move" and to end all possible doubts about his First Saturday GM title he just won his next strong open tournament! It wouldn't surprise me if he'd find an email in his inbox by Corus organizer Jeroen van den Berg on one of the coming days...

Of the other players who collected 7,5 points, we first mention FM (!) Migchiel de Jong, who after beating IM Leenhouts and IM Van Riemsdijk also won against GM Fernando Peralta but unfortunately still missed an IM-because he didn't play against five titled players. Also unlucky was IM Ralf Appel, despite his last-round victory over WGM Marie Sebag. After his quick draw in the 8th round against IM Jop Delemarre, because of his pairing against Tiviakov, Delemarre was already sure of his first GM norm (congrats again, Jop!) but Appel himself missed the norm, "even if I had beaten Sebag 3-0. I needed one more GM," he told me. Just like Delemarre, Sebag returned home with a GM norm, her second.

Finally, our Dutch champ Tivi also had 7,5 out of 9, while during the tournament he was walking (and playing) as the clear favorite, right after his succes in Canada. Perhaps it was his confidence that cost him the tournament victory. For example, in the third round he sat behind his board very bored, with White against Roi Miedema (2271), and without any interest or emotion he played his king's attack on autopilot. Immediately after Roi had resigned and the forms were signed, Sergei dashed away, back to his hotel.

I'm quite satisfied about my own tournament. My performance rating was 2380 and I won 21 points, by beating my five lower-rated opponents, drawing a 2420 and a 2384 and loosing against a 2560 and a 2660. For the first time I didn't stay in Vlissingen but in Middelburg, which I secretly prefer by the way. Especially jazz (diner) caf?ɬ© Desafinado is one I can recommend!

Now ChessVibes on tour is almost over. Wednesday till Sunday I'll be in Mainz, where the organizers invited me to make videos of the huge rapid chess spectacle. For sure this will be special again!

Finals standings:

The venue

Piece of art before the playing hall

This way

The top boards during the final round, with Kasim watching his position from a distance

Tiviakov and Ikonnikov talking

It was often sunny in Vlissingen

The trophy

Last round, board one

Krasenkow and Tiviakov

The two Argentinian participants, Flores (l.) and Peralta

The next photos are in order of the final standings:

IM Fabiano Caruana, convincing GM-to be!

GM Sergei Tiviakov, another solid (shared) first spot

IM Ralf Appel

FM Migchiel de Jong, who had chosen to wear his lucky Smashing Pumpkins shirt. And it helped. According to the expert their new album, Zeitgeist, is "just very good, despite the inevitabe criticism".

GM Michael Krasenkow, needs no introduction

GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, needs even less

GM Dibyendu Barua, who for a long time was India's only GM besides Anand

GM Oleg Romanishin, still a legendary name, appeared to be another friendly gent

WGM Marie Sebag, strong tourney!

GM Dani?ɬ´l Stellwagen, who most probably had hoped for a bit more

GM Fernando Peralta

IM Koen Leenhouts

IM Jop Delemarre, on his way to GM!?

IM Herman Grooten

FM Migchiel de Jong chatting with IM Herman van Riemsdijk (r.)

IM Diego Flores

GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov

IM Edwin van Haastert

IM Deep Sengupta, shared winner of the Dutch Open 2007

ChessVibes-editor IM Yochanan Afek

Joop Piket, the father of Marcel and Jeroen
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