HSG retains Dutch team championship title

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
DucksAfter winning the Dutch team championship for the first time in its long club history last year, HSG (Hilversum) retained their title this season. Again with a round to spare the team that includes almost all of the Dutch top players was already unreachable. A photo report of the joint last round played last Sunday.

For years it was De Variant from Breda preventing success for HSG and in more recent years, the final standings had sponsor names such as Ordina, ZZICT and even U-Boat Worx topping the list. Two years ago, Share Dimension from Groningen had enough pocket money to be able to include Kramnik and Ivanchuk in their team, and they won the championship one point ahead of HSG. But last season HSG, founded September 28th, 1887, finally won the Dutch team championship, for the first in its long history.

This season there was never any serious doubt about a new success after its main rival (Groningen) already dropped two points in their very first match against ESGOO (Enschede). The Groningen team did finish second but it's unlikely that they will be able to repeat their strong performances since they have lost their sponsor. (This led to an emotional monologue by GM Yge Visser during dinner after the last round, who blamed the team members, including himself.)

HSG took the Dutch team title by winning all of their matches. They finished on 18/9, no less than six points ahead of (Groningen), HMC Calder (Den Bosch) and Utrecht.

The Dutch champions in the 21st century:

2008-2009 HSG 2007-2008 HSG 2006-2007 Share Dimension Groningen 2005-2006 U-Boat Worx (after playoffs) 2004-2005 ZZICT (after playoffs) 2003-2004 ZZICT (after playoffs) 2002-2003 ZZICT (after playoffs) 2001-2002 Ordina (after playoffs) 2000-2001 Ordina

Hilversums Schaak Genootschap (Hilversum Chess Society) is one of the oldest clubs in The Netherlands. In the eighties of the last century, HSG became a very strong club pretty fast because of Joop van Oosterom, who back then played in the first team himself. The generous millionaire started to sponsor his club long before the Amber tournament existed.

HSG’s team was enrichted by strong players, e.g. the three Polgar sisters, Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Lev Polugaevsky, Ian Rogers, Yasser Seirawan and Predrag Nikolic. The latter two still play for HSG regularly.

Loek van Wely had always been ZZICT’s top player but started to play for HSG at the start of the season 2004-2005. This way he stimulated the new generation, consisting of Spoelman, Smeets, l’Ami and Stellwagen, in their progress. IM Wouter Spoelman scored his third GM norm this season and can apply for the title. (The same counts for IM Robin Swinkels who plays for Utrecht.)


Team captain Jan Stomphorst always kept faith to his strategy to include mostly Dutch players or players living in The Netherlands in his team, instead of flying in strong players. This has its charm, and has resulted in a team of friends, but for years in a row they finished on second place. Now, HSG has won the title twice in a row. Now, in what's not the best time for Dutch chess, when tournaments and teams are having trouble finding sponsors, HSG's patron sponsorship and top line-up is clearly unbeatable.


The last round of the top league (called Meesterklasse) was played last Sunday, with all teams together in the same playing hall. The venue was the Raadhuis (town hall) in Hilversum.

Despite the fact that they had already clinched the title, HSG played with its strongest line-up and beat Schrijvers Rotterdam 3-7. The situation at the bottom of the table was more exciting, where several teams could still relegate. In the end, both teams that last year promoted from the first league (yes, the second league is called that way) had to say goodbye to the Meesterklasse again: BSG (Bussum) and Voerendaal.

Next year SMB (Nijmegen) and HWP (Sas van Gent) will take their places. In a nail-biting finish of the season, SMB escaped with a 5-5 tie against the club of yours truly and co-editor Arne Moll, NSI de Eenhoorn (Hoorn). We needed to beat SMB, the big favourite for the title, 5.5-4.5 or more. We managed to reach a 5-4 lead and suddenly we were half a point away from the Meesterklasse! Unfortunately we lost our last game which shattered our dreams, but at least we put up a good fight and managed to keep it exciting till the very end.

All games round 9

Raadhuis, Hilversum

The Raadhuis in Hilversum, designed by architect Willem Dudok (1884-1974)


A duck family in the pond in front of the Raadhuis enjoying the lovely spring weather


Inside, one hundred chess players are fighting out the last round of the Meesterklasse


GM Yasser Seirawan, playing board one for HSG...


...and winning his game against Belgian GM Luc Winants


HSG team captain Jan Stomphorst watching


After drawing his game quickly, GM Loek van Wely plays some blitz games with IM Ruud Janssen


GM Daniel Stellwagen concentrating, GM Erwin l'Ami watching


GM and reigning Dutch champion Jan Smeets


GM Friso Nijboer vs GM Karel van der Weide


GM Erwin l'Ami lost against SOS author IM Jeroen Bosch


The crowd gathers for a time scramble...


...with GM Vladimir Chuchelov...


...beating GM and reigning Dutch champion Zhao Qin Peng


Another spectator: GM Hans Ree, who relegated with his team BSG


GM Jan Werle


GM Erik van den Doel (2567), topscorer of the season with 7.5/9 for HMC Calder - the same number of points as Jan Smeets but with a higher performance rating (2696)


"Doel" together with team captain Ren?© Olthof, editor of the New in Chess Yearbooks


GM Karel van der Weide who now considers himself foremost an author and who only plays for his team and one or two tournaments a year now


GM Felix Levin couldn't prevent the relegation of his team Voerendaal


The GM with arguably the most difficult name in the league: Vyacheslav Ikonnikov


IM Edwin van Haastert beats IM Arthur van de Oudeweetering

Ris and Van Delft

The ChessVibes Openings editorial team: IM Robert Ris (playing for Groningen) and IM Merijn van Delft (playing for Apeldoorn)


IM Wouter Spoelman, soon HSG's new GM


IM Robin Swinkels, another happy guy clinching the GM title


HSG from left to right: Loek van Wely, Yasser Seirawan, Predrag Nikolic, Jan Stomphorst, Jan Smeets, Vladimir Chuchelov, Ruud Janssen, Daniel Stellwagen, Wouter Spoelman, Jop Delemarre, Erwin l'Ami, Robin van Kampen


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