Giri, Haast 2015 Dutch Champions

Giri, Haast 2015 Dutch Champions

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday a quick draw was enough for GM Anish Giri to clinch his 4th Dutch national title. His main rival GM Loek van Wely, who could still force a playoff, lost instead. WGM Anne Haast repeated as Dutch women's champion.

After four rounds Giri and Van Wely were sharing the lead in Amsterdam, and their mutual game had ended in a draw. Anything was still possible in this relatively short national championship that lasted only seven rounds.

After the rest day it was Giri who grabbed sole lead, and he could thank his opponent GM Sipke Ernst for it. After Van Wely had split the point with Tiviakov this game seemed to be heading to a draw as well, until a huge blunder changed everything.


Frans Fritschy's “Chess players”, still pondering over their position.

The next day another colleague was very friendly to Giri. OK, it must be said that GM Erwin l'Ami had been defending for most of the game, but he did a good job at that and when Giri went too far, he got a huge advantage... only to spoil it completely.


A bit of luck there for Giri.

This time Van Wely got a present as well. In a position where some players would have agreed to a draw already, Bok blundered a pawn and never saw it back — a very welcome gift for Van Wely, who thus remained in striking distance of the leader.

In the last round, one of the two crucial games was over in about ten minutes. Playing Black against Van Kampen — who worked for him as a second in the past — Giri drew in 15 moves in a Scotch Four Knights. 

“On 1...e5 I would play this, and against other moves I had prepared a bit,” said Van Kampen. “Anish knows almost all my openings and I know half of what he plays so it's hard to compare. I was ready to play, but if he plays solid, I normally don't win.”

Van Kampen, who will study International Business in Rotterdam starting from
September, had no reason to be unhappy with a draw against the world number six.

“He knows how to prepare and he knows how to play solid,” said Giri. “If I had to beat him, of course I would do something, I would take risk. But in this situation... I remembered the famous games of Ivanchuk and Kramnik, they both lost the final round at the Candidates in London.”

The draw by Giri meant that Van Wely could still force a tiebreak, but for that he needed to beat Ernst as Black. Out of the opening that seemed very much possible, but after a positional exchange sacrifice by Ernst things were unclear.

The ending was getting more complicated by the minute, and eventually it was Ernst who scored the point, not Van Wely.


The post-mortem between Ernst and Van Wely, joined by a much interested Giri.

“I just wanted to play a nice game and avoid losing,” said Ernst. “But after an hour it was clear I was playing for two results: a half point, or a zero.” He admitted that he had played the opening badly. “But it became surprisingly sharp and, for a change, I took my chances.”

Sipke Ernst: “For a change, I took my chances”

Giri scored what was expected beforehand (he won 2.1 Elo points), even though he wasn't in top shape. The reason? He knew his opponents so well.

“Maybe too well,” Giri said. “It's difficult to play them. I know too much about the guys and they know me very well... It's like playing with open cards. And it's not only openings, but also the psychology. We're not really rivals.”

Giri complimented his not-really-rivals on their play. “In previous Dutch championships my opponents collapsed very quickly, but here they were fighting much better.”

The champion said that his wins were decided by “a little bit of extra experience,” meaning his superior general level of chess. “It was not visible that I would outplay them from the start till the end, but it was visible in some details. They were fighting, but at the last moment they would stumble.”

Anish Giri facing Robin van Kampen in the last round.

From experience, Giri knows what it is to play against higher rated players. “When you play a strong opponent you always spend a little more time on taking your decisions and this always costs you a little more energy than for your opponent. In the end it often tells.”

The winner of the national championship still takes away something to improve. In two games, against Bok and Pruijssers, he missed quicker wins because he played too fast in his opponent's timetrouble. “I was paying attention too much to the flow of the game. I thought they were collapsing. I was trying to apply pressure, but it was not needed. But it's always a difficult call to make.”

Giri's next call won't be difficult to make: on July 18th he will say yes too IM Sopiko Guramishvili at their wedding in Georgia. (“Half of the playing field will be there!” — Giri.) After that, the two will move to their own place in The Hague.

2015 Dutch Championship | Final Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Giri,A 2791 2816 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 5.5/7  
2 Van Wely,L 2647 2713 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 0 ½ ½ 1 4.5/7  
3 Van Kampen,R 2609 2666 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/7 11.75
4 Bok,B 2562 2673 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1 1 4.0/7 10.75
5 Ernst,S 2545 2626 0 1 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ 3.5/7  
6 L'Ami,E 2628 2513 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 2.5/7  
7 Tiviakov,S 2639 2454 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 2.0/7 8.00
8 Pruijssers,R 2507 2473 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/7 5.00


In the women's section WGM Anna Haast kept her title after finishing on 5.5/7, half a point more than GM Zhaoqin Peng. The champion defeated her great predecessor (Peng has 13 titles!) in the fifth round after the Chinese-born grandmaster treated a queen ending badly:


2014 and 2015 Dutch Champion Anne Haast.

Also in this tournament many blunders were seen. Especially IM Tea Lanchava had a dramatic last round; she was about to force a playoff but then spoilt a completely winning endgame and even lost it. Incredible.


Former winner GM Dimitri Reinderman, who lives in Amsterdam and reported on the tournament for the Dutch website Schaaksite, didn't think that the rate of mistakes was unusually high. “I didn't really count. Previous tournaments also saw many mistakes. I don't think the level was lower than normal.”


Anne Haast and Anish Giri. 

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.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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