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After a few years of absence I had decided to come to Wijk aan Zee once more to attend our informal gathering and to visit the other places of interest in connection with the chess celeb-studded tournament. 

On Saturday morning, 24 January, I was happy that chess friend Michael Negele picked me up in Meerbusch, as just that morning an onset of winter made for quite a lot of snow and also ice on the autobahn, so that at least the first part of our ride proved to be a little critical. Nevertheless we arrived still duly at the Hotel Artemis in Amsterdam and - within a short walking distance - at Winifred and Bob van de Velde's new home where the customary yearly cash audit was scheduled to be held.

 

The cash audit - this time with our second auditor Michael Negele
(cp. the other photo in our short preview). 

 

I was a little surprised to see that apart from our chairman Guy Van Habberney and the two cash auditors (Henri Serruys and Michael Negele) also some further members were on the spot as well, so we could welcome Geurt Gijssen, Bert Corneth, Tony Gillam and Jurgen Stigter, and "poor" Winifred had to entertain the whole group of 10 people to the subsequent lunch - many thanks to her and Bob for their kind and generous hospitality and the good time at their home. 

 

 

Arrived in Wijk aan Zee - steelworks in the background.

 

After lunch we all left for Wijk aan Zee which we reached easily within hardly half an hour. Our informal meeting in the Hotel Zeeduin could start punctually at ca 3 pm, below we give a few photos of this gathering.

 

 

Guy Van Habberney has opened the meeting

 



Tony Gillam and Joop Jansen



Ron Bleeker, Ton de Vreede, Bob van de Velde and yours truly


 

Peter de Jong, Geurt Gijssen and Tony Gillam

 

 


There were only few issues up for discussion, I will give a short résumé:

- Cash audit: According to the handout, the balance 2014 seemed to be OK on the whole, but the auditors still questioned that some details were still missing to give a concluding evaluation.
Certainly too much money was spent for the meeting room in the last year (Wijk 2014), so we should find a more favorable room in 2016. Concerning this matter, we could indeed find another appropriate and much more reasonable facility nearby in Wijk, please see below.

- BoC project: Per Skjoldager has created a database, based on all former catalogues of the auction house Klittich-Pfankuch. Currently the database is still a beta version, so still some optimizing work seems to be required. I had no chance to have a look at the database yet, but we were told that our members should send an e-mail request to Per Skjoldager to receive the access / log in data.

- Book projects: No KWA book projects are expected to be finished this year. Michael Negele reported that he would again take up the project of the tournament book on Duisburg 1929 (authored by Peter Anderberg, Hans-Jürgen Fresen and Lothar Nikolaiczuk), with cautious optimism he gives a publication date of autumn 2016. As to Michael Negele's own (private) book projects, I will only mention here the Emanuel Lasker monograph (English 3-volume edition) where he will focus on from the middle of 2015, as well as a biography of the Estonian-born chess master Paul Schmidt (1916-1984), a project  which he is going to realize together with Tony Gillam.

- The recruitment of new young members is an issue, and it is hard to make the KWF&A attractive for younger people. (Obviously this is more or less a problem for all chess clubs.) Guy proposed to offer a kind of coaching in book collecting for prospective collectors. Tony Gillam would be willing to include KWF&A adverts in all his publications, a proposal as well welcomed by the board and the other attendees.
Anyway, we know that there are many collectors worldwide who are still not organized in a club, so there is a latent potential of collectors which is waiting to be activated!

 

 

Tony Gillam and Michael Negele have exchanged
their thoughts on the Paul Schmidt book.

 

Subsequently the Dutch chess historian Peter J. Monté, meanwhile well-known in the chess world for his 2014 published work The Classical Era of Modern Chess, delivered a speech in which he highlighted some interesting themes out of that book, focusing mainly on the subject of its last chapter "From the King's Leap to Castling". Peter Monté kindly agreed to publish the text of his lecture in one of our coming CSQ issues, so all members will be able to enjoy it later this year.  
Our chairman expressed his sincere thanks to Mr. Monté who also received a copy of the brand-new volume "C.S.Q. I - IV".


 

Guest speaker Peter Monté gives his lecture

 

 

Attentive listeners: Jurgen Stigter, Bert Corneth,
Guy Van Habberney and Michael Negele


 


Our chairman hands over the CSQ volume to Mr. Monté.

 

 

After Mr. Monté's talk the traditional private book market was held in the same room, but my impression was that the sales were generally not so brisk this time.

 

 


 

Before the evening dinner we still had time to pay a short visit to the tournament hall at De Moriaan, but at this relatively late hour most games of the "Tata Steel Masters" and "Challengers" were already over. So at least we got to see the results and Michael could still take some snapshots. In the Open we also spotted another KWF&A member: Alain Fayard was still fighting in a game which he could actually win later on, as we got to know only the next day.

 

 

A view of the Open

 

 

Alain Fayard is still optimistic to win the endgame

 

 

In the Masters, only Anish Giri (vs Wesley So who lost his first game in this round)
and Ivan Saric (who won against Radoslaw Wojtaszek) were still playing.



At the late-night dinner in the Hotel Zeeduin the remaining company was small, only 7 members as well as Peter Monté were present. Obviously most Dutch members preferred to stay at home, though the price for the three-course menu was really decent.



At the evening dinner:  Jurgen Stigter, Henri Serruys and Guy Van Habberney

 

 

Michael Negele with Peter Monté, the latter leafing through
Schauspiel des Geistes

 

After dinner we went back to our Amsterdam hotel where we could still check in and move into our rooms before midnight.


On Sunday morning we (Michael Negele and yours truly) were again at Winifred and Bob van de Velde, they had invited us for a breakfast and afterwards Michael had time to talk with Bob about the Lasker book project. Bob will be co-editor of the second volume and he is also in contact with the Baudet family - good expectations for the chapter "Lasker's connections to the Netherlands"!



Certainly Emanuel Lasker will still keep us busy for many years.

 


We left Amsterdam early enough for Wijk aan Zee in order not to miss the start of the last round at 12 o'clock this time. Michael's first concern was to get a press card, so he disappeared for some time in the "tournament's sanctum"; having received his card without any problems, he took a lot of photos of the press room and naturally of the players after the last round had been started by the stroke of the gong.

 

 

Our member Matthias Limberg appeared as well in the crowd of onlookers -
in spite of the indoor temperature (IMHO much too warm to feel comfortable)
many people had gathered particularly in front of the Masters & Challengers.

 

 

The time for the reporters and photographers is short, a few minutes
after the start of the games they have to quit the field again.

 




 

 

 

 

Masters and Challengers

 

 

Spanish chess journalist Leontxo Garcia

 

 

Yochanan Afek meets chess legend Jan Timman

 

 

Naturally Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam (on the left) is busy in the press room.

 

 


Additional 37 photos of the press room, the players, etc. are gathered in this gallery!

 

Also Tony Gillam had again joined us, and after Michael's recurrence we went for a walk through Wijk to visit some other side events and objects of interest.

 

 

Rob Spaans offered chess literature
in an adjoining room of the café de Zon.

 

 

The chess shop De Beste Zet is run by WGM Erika Sziva - an "old" acquaintance of us,
as she has always been in Wijk when the tournament was up and running
(formerly with a book stand at De Moriaan).

 

 

We also met Matthias Limberg there, on the right Erika Sziva.

 

 

Just a group of costumed young people started out to give a chess related
performance on the adjacent market place - see the next photo.

 

 

 


 

 

The "Koninginnenmarkt" on Julianaplein was full of chess sets, stands and activities ...
(information in Dutch at www.tipwijkaanzee.nl/wp-content/uploads/Jutter-1-2015-internet.pdf)

 

 

This man will form a chess piece (king?)
from a block of ice with the help of an electric saw.

 

 

We also paid a visit to the tournament chess shop Raindroptime (De Zwaanstraat 16) which is run by Leo Hovestadt (our member!) and Jozias Hillenkamp. The shop possesses spacious facilities to hold a meeting even of a larger group, so it seems also very suitable for our meeting in 2016. And the owners already agreed to host our next gathering on most favorable terms and conditions.

 

The Raindroptime Chess Shop looks very inviting for chess fans!

 

 

 

... and your webmaster seems to be taken
with the shop as well.

 

 

The commentator's room had moved to the Heliomare College which was within walking distance as well.

 

 

The Heliomare College

 

 

The room is filled with visitors, Hans Böhm comments
the games of the current round (in Dutch only).

 

 

We also met there again Jurgen Stigter as well as Nico Pos (right),
and at least there was a chance to have a frugal snack.

 

 

Finally Wesley So appeared to comment on his
just won game against Loek van Wely.

 

 

We had also a short conversation with Leo Hovestadt (on the left) who had
a book stand there, due to his business he had found no time to attend our
meeting the previous day. But on 12 January he had given a lecture in Wijk
- "The secret history of chess", see this ChessBase page.

 



There's also delight
in a nice backside!
(A placard nearby the college)

 

 

Towards evening, our small group still had a final drink in the café de Zon before we left Wijk - maybe until next year!

 

 

Just a concluding photo of the two of us 

 

 

All photographs courtesy of Michael Negele.