Luke McShane wins 3rd Remco Heite Tournament

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Luke McShane wins 3rd Remco Heite Chess TournamentThings weren't decided until the very last minute, but eventually it was Luke McShane who proved to have the strongest nerves. The English grandmaster won the 3rd Remco Heite Chess Tournament in Wolvega, The Netherlands with a score of 3.5/5 and finished ahead of Anish Giri, Erwin l'Ami, Bartlomiej Macieja, Loek van Wely and Peter Heine Nielsen.

Luke McShane wins in Wolvega | Photo Lenus van der Broek

The 3rd Remco Heite Chess Tournament took place November 26-28 in 'Hotel Wolvega' Van der Valk in Wolvega, The Netherlands. It consisted of a main group (a 6-player, single round robin with McShane, Giri, l'Ami, Macieja, Van Wely and Nielsen), an open tournament and a school chess event for children.

When Remco Heite quit as mayor of the municipality of Weststellingwerf (of which Wolvega is a part) in 2005, he received a most original present: a chess tournament. It saw its first edition in 2006 and is sometimes described as 'the tournament with the horse because the winner gets one.


Well, that was the plan during the first edition, when Loek van Wely finished first. He was supposed to be given a horse, but the General Inspection Service found out about it (giving someone a horse as a gift is illegal in The Netherlands) and did not want to make an exception. The organizers came up with a nice solution: to the regular first prize a bonus was added exactly as high as the horse’s countervalue, with the option of buying the horse. This way, all offical rules were obliged to and KingLoek could meet his new purchase.

Two years later (the tournament takes place every second year), in November 2008, winner GM Bartlomiej Macieja didn't take his horse to Poland; instead the grandmaster decided to leave it in Friesland, as a gift to a local organization for handicapped children, who will take care of it. This seems to have become a tradition as this year's winner, Luke McShane, opted for the same construction.

The horse story is easier to understand when you realize that the area of Stellingwerf is deeply connected with horses and actually the most modern Dutch trotting racetrack is located in Wolvega. The connection between horses and chess is easily made, and this way the (only local) sponsors would agree that the Remco Heite tournament is very much a local, Stellingwerf tournament.

And quite a strong tournament it was, this third edition. Erwin l'Ami, who qualified for the main group two years ago by winning the open tournament, was the lowest rated player at 2626 while Anish Giri (2682) was the favourite for this short event. With all players in a rating range of just sixty points, it was clear from the start that it was going to be an exciting affair. In the end only six of the fifteen games had ended in draw.

The tournament was decided in the very last round, when McShane defeated Van Wely with the black pieces in what may be described as a model Hedgehog game. The Englishman manoeuvred skillfully and was at least equal after the thematical 38...b5 break. The ending should have been a draw, but was always tough for White.


GM Luke McShane | Photo René Olthof

Afterwards McShane said: "With such a close field I always thought: why whouldn't I have a chance to win? The first two rounds were not easy. Macieja blundered against me, but before that I had blundered, so a draw was more or less correct. It was quite tough against Nielsen and when you save such a game, it can only get better."

Remco Heite Chess Tournament 2010 | Final Standings
Remco Heite Chess Tournament 2010 | Final Standings

The open tournament was a group of 90 players who played 9 rounds Swiss in two days. The time control was 45 minutes per person for the whole game. Local hero GM Sipke Ernst qualified for the main group in 2012 after finishing shared first with GM Friso Nijboer. Ernst had won their mutual game.

Below are all fifteen games from the main group - highly recommened, with many spectacular fights!

Game viewer

Game viewer by ChessTempo


Venue and accommodation at the same time: Van der Valk 'Hotel Wolvega' | Photo René Olthof


A giant horse in front of the hotel | Photo René Olthof


Erwin l'Ami vs Loek van Wely | Photo Lenus van der Broek


Bartlomiej Macieja vs Anish Giri | Photo Lenus van der Broek


Peter Heine Nielsen vs Luke McShane | Lenus van der Broek


Winner Luke McShane at the prize giving | Photo Lenus van der Broek


The traditional 'family picture' | Photo Lenus van der Broek

school chess

Every year a school chess tournament is held in Wolvega which every second year coincides with the Remco Heite tournament - this weekend there were 170 children from 34 schools | Photo Lenus van der Broek

open tournament

From the open tournament: winner GM Sipke Ernst (r.) vs GM John van der Wiel | Photo René Olthof


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