The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Robin van Kampen

Full name
Robin van Kampen
Born
Nov 14, 1994 (age 26)‎
Place of birth
Blaricum, Netherlands
Federation
Netherlands
Retired
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Bio

Robin van Kampen is a Dutch grandmaster. After a wildly successful youth career, he has become one of the 100 best chess players in the world.

Early Life And Youth Career

Van Kampen was born in Blaricum, in the Amsterdam metropolitan area just east of the city, in November 1994. He began playing chess around the age of eight.

Van Kampen had little to no competition as the best young player in the Netherlands in the latter half of the 2000s decade. In 2006, he was the national youth champion for the under-12 age division. In 2007, he achieved the same success in the under-14 group. The next year, he won in the under-16 bracket, and the year after that van Kampen skipped the under-18 group entirely to play in the under-20 division.

Robin van Kampen, 2010
Van Kampen in 2010. Photo: Wikipedia/De Pion, CC BY-SA 2.0

His 2009 jump into the under-20 division had no adverse effect as it resulted in yet another victory. In the process he became the youngest Dutch under-20 champion since GM Jan Timman in 1966. Timman and van Kampen also played a four-game match in 2009; van Kampen won a game against the player more than 40 years his senior and then rated more than 100 points higher. Timman won two and the overall match, however.

With van Kampen’s championships came titles. He made FIDE master in 2008 and international master in 2009. He was the youngest IM in Dutch history.

Becoming GM

Well on the way to a GM title, Van Kampen’s path there continued in 2010. He played in Group C of the Corus tournament at Wijk aan Zee about a 45-minute drive west of his town of birth and finished in a tie for third. He also made his first of several appearances at the Dutch National Championship, although it did not go very well. And late in 2010 came van Kampen’s first two GM norms, at tournaments in Haarlem and Groningen in his home country.

In July 2011 came the final norm in the 10-player Helmut Kohl tournament in Dortmund, Germany. With an undefeated +4 =5 score, van Kampen won the tournament outright. At the time he was the youngest Dutch GM in history, even younger than Timman, although GM Jorden van Foreest later broke van Kampen’s record.

As GM

One of van Kampen’s first events as a GM was the 2012 London Chess Classic Open, and he won a share of first with +6 =3. The next year in 2013 he had his best Dutch Championship performance ever with a third-place finish.

The year 2014 brought his first Chess Olympiad appearance on the fifth board for the 12th-place Dutch team and a second-place finish at the Reykjavik Open. In 2015, he finished fourth at the Tata Steel Challengers tournament at Wijk and tied for third at the Dutch Championship, his final one to date.

In 2016, van Kampen moved up to the Netherlands’ fourth board at the Chess Olympiad, where he posted a +3 =5 score despite the national squad’s fall to a 36th-place finish.

Recent Years

Starting around 2017, van Kampen began participating less in FIDE-sanctioned events and shifted his focus to his education and career. He stayed in the chess world as a member of the ChessBrahs and played in the PRO Chess League in 2018. 

Despite his sporadic chess play in recent years, van Kampen remains a top-100 player. His FIDE rating of 2658, achieved in June 2018 and still there today, ranks 95th as of July 2020. As Kempsy on Chess.com, he holds a 2798 blitz rating and 2738 in bullet as of July 14, 2020. If he becomes an active over-the-board player again, he would still be a dangerous opponent.

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