Norms Galore At Batavia Tournament

| 16 | Chess Event Coverage

No less than three norms we scored at this year's Batavia Tournament in Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Grandmaster results for winner IM Bobby Cheng and IM Lucas van Foreest, and an IM norm for FM Barry Brink.

Players analyzing and playing blitz in Cafe Batavia, the venue of the tournament, after one of the rounds. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

It was already the 9th edition of the Batavia Chess Tournament. As always, the annual GM norm tournament was held in Café Batavia 1920 opposite of Central Station in Amsterdam. It took place from Thursday 23 February to Sunday 5 March, 2017.

The one photo that begs to be taken each year,  clearly showing in
which city the tournament is taking place.  | Photo Lennart Ootes.

The event is specially designed for Dutch talents to score norms, and the tournament was more successful than ever, in this respect.

In 2009 Robin van Kampen scored his first IM norm. In 2010, then Christov Klein passed the 2400 rating border to become an IM. In 2012 Achim Illner won the tournament and scored a GM norm. In 2014 Alina l'Ami and Jorden van Foreest scored IM norms.

The 2017 edition saw three norms.

This year the field of players had GM Alexandr Fier (BRA, 2581), GM Tal Baron (ISR, 2544), GM Eric Lobron (GER, 2528), IM Koen Leenhouts (NED, 2487), IM Bobby Cheng (AUS, 2453), Lucas van Foreest (NED, 2453), FM Thomas Beerdsen (NED, 2422), IM Mark Timmermans (NED, 2415), FM Hing Ting Lai (NED, 2392), and FM Barry Brink (2309).

GM Eric Lobron played his first tournament since 2004.

There was a €1500 ($1590) prize fund in total, which included a brilliancy prize for the best game, a best endgame prize and prizes for the preliminary blitz tournament that determined the colors.

The lowest seed, Barry Brink, clearly needed to warm up as he scored a disastrous 0/9 in that blitz tournament. Who would have guessed that he would end up scoring an IM norm with two rounds to spare?

He started the first round by holding top seed Alexandr Fier to a draw as Black. He then beat Hing Ting Lai, and then Mark Timmermans with even less effort:

Brink then drew Tal Baron, lost to Lucas van Foreest, won against Koen Leenhouts and scored the necessary draw to Bobby Cheng for his norm (which was set at 4.5/9). He lost to Eric Lobron, who played his first tournament in over a decade, after reaching a winning position. Brink then also lost the final game to Thomas Beerdsen (who, by the way, got his IM title officially approved by FIDE during the tournament.)

41-year-old FM Barry Brink scored his first IM norm. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

More importantly, the tournament saw not one but two GM norms! Lucas van Foreest, the younger brother of GM Jorden (who was playing at Aeroflot), achieved it with a round to spare. He finished on the necessary 6.5/9, and so did tournament winner Bobby Cheng of Australia.

Van Foreest was playing the tournament as an untitled player, which kind of emphasises the speed at which these Van Foreest youngsters are making progress. 

Lucas has already met all requirements for the IM title, so isn't even bothering about the FM title. With a GM norm already in the pocket, theoretically he could even skip that IM title too, like e.g. Vladimir Kramnik once did.

Here's the game that got Van Foreest the best endgame prize, but the jury added that they were also impressed by his endgames with Lobron and Fier.

Soon IM (or GM?) Lucas van Foreest. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

Cheng had to win his last game for the GM norm, and had black against one of the GM participants. That sounds like a fairly difficult situation, but the game wasn't. Baron played badly, and resigned rather early, but in fact he can't avoid material losses in the final position.

Here's the winning game for the best game prize, won by Alexander Fier. Also in this case, the prize was "supported" by other games by Fier, who e.g. played a positional rook sacrifice against Beerdsen, and generally speaking played creatively in just about every game.

Top seed Alexander Fier won the best game prize, and came fourth in the tournament. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

2017 Batavia Tournament | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Cheng,Bobby 2453 2624 1 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 6.5/9 24.75
2 Van Foreest,Lucas 2453 2624 0 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 6.5/9 24.25
3 Beerdsen,Thomas 2422 2582 1 0 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 6.0/9
4 Fier,Alexandr 2581 2524 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 5.5/9
5 Leenhouts,Koen 2487 2493 0 1 ½ 0 0 1 1 ½ 1 5.0/9
6 Brink,Barry 2309 2475 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 4.5/9
7 Baron,Tal 2544 2411 0 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/9
8 Lobron,Eric 2528 2331 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 3.0/9
9 Lai,Hing Ting 2392 2300 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 2.5/9
10 Timmermans,Mark 2415 2184 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 0 1.5/9

Tournament winner IM Bobby Cheng won his GM norm, the €400 for

shared first and this beautiful Max Euwe Trophy. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

IM Yochanan Afek showing a endgame study, with Tal Baron, tournament organizer
IM Merijn van Delft and IM Manuel Bosboom watching. | Photo Lennart Ootes.

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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