Halkias and Berelovich win in Haarlem

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Last weekend ChessVibes on tour made a pit stop in Haarlem, The Netherlands, where the 6th Nova College Chess Tournament was held. The grandmasters Stelios Halkias from Greece and Aleksandar Berelovich (Ukraine) ended shared first with 5?Ǭ? out of 6. The cup and the title went to Halkias on tiebreak. Having finished their Dutch championship only one day before the tournament, GMs Friso Nijboer and Zhao Qin Peng were vulnerable in Haarlem.

Organiser Frits Welling in his press release:

"It wasn't easy for the 27 year-old Greek. Already in the first round he had some difficulties to win his game from a worse position and in the 4th round he had left just one second on the clock when his opponent Leon Pliester lost on time in a drawn position. Berelovich had less narrow escapes but also had to work hard in his games. In the final round Berelovich put aside Robert Ris, who at that moment was also one of the leaders, in a complicated game, while Halkias tactically outplayed Piet Peelen. A round before Peelen had beaten the big favorite Friso Nijboer. Nijboer now ended shared 3rd with 5 points together with the Russian GM Igor Glek, IM Yochanan Afek from Israel and the surprising non-titled Dutchmen Ton Timman and Xander Schouwerwou."

Schouwerwou had beaten Dutch women champion Zhao Qin Peng in the last round. This game, together with many other boards and my own games, reminded me of the fact that there are always so many strong young players in my country. And at the Haarlem weekender usually many of these talents are playing. The just 12-year-old talent Ilias van der Lende really impressed me, and especially the way he was sitting behind the board, concentrated like an experienced grandmaster. I was told this boy already skipped two years at school and it won't surprise me when he will be very successful in chess as well.

The Haarlem weekender remains somewhat special to me because of the 1996 edition where I beat both an IM and a GM. So it was great to hear the news, already during the opening speech, that sponsor Nova College already committed themselves to the 2008 edition. The player field will then be divided in two groups, by the way, as the organisers announced.

The last round was very exciting and saw many fascinating games. The organisers are still busy entering the games but I was allowed to put two score sheets under the copy machine.

The venue:

The ROC Nova College

ChessVibes contributor IM Yochanan Afek

IM Leon Pliester

The thrilling game Afek - Pliester

GM Aleksandar Berelovich

GM Dennis de Vreugt

GM Igor Glek

GM Stelios Halkias

IM Piet Peelen

The last round game on board 1: Halkias-Peelen

GM and Dutch national women champion for ages, Zhao Qin Peng...

...beaten by Xander Schouwerwou in the last round.

GM Friso Nijboer

Mark Helder

Nijboer-Helder, where especially the GM was inspired by the beer

IM Robert Ris

IM Edwin van Haastert

"The other Timman" (his brother Ton)
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