Smeets & Peng winners peculiar Dutch Championship

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Dutch Ch 2010By drawing his last round game in four moves (or rather three and a half) Jan Smeets won the 2010 Dutch Championship. Zhaoqin Peng secured her 12th (!) Dutch title already one round before the end. This year's event will mainly be remembered for its many peculiarities.

The Dutch Championship took place June 11-20 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The rate of play was 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes to end the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1. Venue was the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, a technology center at the site of the former ‘NatLab’, the Philips Physics Laboratory.

In the women's section, Zhaoqin Peng won her 12th title, as convincingly as always. In the open section Jan Smeets finished first with a 6.5/9 score, ahead of 2009 champ Anish Giri. With a draw against Van Wely in the last round, Sipke Ernst secured third place.

An important game for Smeets was his victory against friend and colleague Erwin l'Ami in the penultimate round. Smeets also defeated Nijboer, Bok and Reinderman. Six times winner Van Wely finished on plus one, but did play an important role by beating Anish Giri in the eighth round.

Dutch Ch 2010

Loek van Wely before the tournament: "I'll do my best to stay ahead of Anish as long as possible"

This year's championship will perhaps mostly be remembered not for the winners, or the games that were played, but for the many peculiarities that had nothing to do with a national championship.

Firstly, there were the different starting times of the rounds. The games started two hours later on the days when the Dutch national football team played a game in South Africa. It might not seem a big thing, but one cannot deny that the federation implies that football is more important than chess. As Hans Ree yesterday pointed out in his Saturday column in the newspaper NRC Handelsblad, 'many may have this opinion, but not the federation'.

Other examples of peculiar happenings were Loek van Wely being allowed to play a blitz tournament in Germany during the second round, or the experiment to test Van Wely's stress levels during a game. At first we didn't think too much of it, but now that the tournament is over, we're not sure if all this really belongs to a national championship.

The players themselves seemed to have been affected by this frivolous virus. As you already read here, Bok and Van Wely repeated the same position no less than thirteen times. And today, in the last round, Van Kampen and Smeets played the very brief sequence of moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 to finish their game in just two minutes, which secured the title for Smeets.

Dutch Ch 2010

Van Kampen and Smeets have already reached their final position

We agree with Hans Ree that, adding it all up, it seems like the federation and some of the players didn't take this year's national championship as seriously as they should have. One may ask: if they don't take it seriously, who will? The result is that chess will only be reaching mainstream media when one of these peculiarities takes place.

We've seen this with Toiletgate, and in fact this was also the case with this year's championship. Dutch newspapers didn't pay much attention to the championship, but suddenly they mentioned the tournament with a few paragraphs of text on Saturday. The reason? Another odd thing had happened in the seventh round on Friday. After he had accidently cut himself with a bottle, Anish Giri had some blood on his hand and one ear (which he had touched) and because of this he almost fainted. Someone with a First Aid Kit helped him, but the reigning champ wasn't motivated to continue playing. Giri offered a draw to Nijboer, who accepted.

Dutch Ch 2010

Giri and Nijboer, analyzing after a bloody fight

Results & standings

Selection of games

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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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