Regional KWA Meeting in Wijk aan Zee

Once again the traditional January meeting in Wijk aan Zee was well-attended by our members. This time, besides Michael Negele also Tony Gillam and Guy Van Habberney have contributed to our pictorial report.

Michael Negele:

I had started for the meeting in Wijk already on Friday, 11th of January as I intended to do some research work beforehand in The Hague Royal Library. Having arrived there not until 3.45 pm I was very pressed for time – at least I could still sift through the Feenstra Kuiper scrapbooks and the fifties with respect to Niemeijer. A further complication in the Special Collection is the fact that books can be ordered only at certain times, so I nearly would have gone away empty-handed (best you announce your wishes two days in advance …).

Here are three of my findings:

… and 3 impressions from the shelves:

I then continued my trip to Leidschendam where the cash audit was planned for Saturday morning. After a fine dinner with the Corneth family – I had "board and lodging" there – I was allowed to view the wonderful library of my host, and I discovered items never seen before.

The next morning after breakfast the viewing was continued only shortly as our two Belgian friends were more than punctually. Therefore the cash audit, meanwhile already a matter of routine, could successfully be finished at about 12 o’clock; the cash balance was OK, and only a few formal changes and additions were necessary for the documents.

After a short lunch break - Regina Corneth was again so kind to fortify us with filled rolls and plenty of coffee - we went the 60 km eastwards to Wijk aan Zee. In glorious weather we first met Jurgen Stigter, soon afterwards a whole pack of KWA members.

The cash auditors and the chairman on the way to the pavilion.
The cash auditors and the chairman on the way to the pavilion.

But against our expectations the Tata organization had put "table and chairs" literally outside, i.e. in the entrance area of the pavilion – impossible to hold there a meeting with nearly 20 members and guests. So our exodus to the beach started, only the guests (Walter Mooij and Abraham van der Tak) were not willing to come along with us. But the 18 KWA members followed the call of the chairman and marched through the village and the dunes to "Het Strandhuis" – a little handicapped were only the three "book market suppliers" Raemakers, Erdélyi and Negele as the last 300 m from the parking to the beach were not accessible by vehicle.

Cold but sunny afternoon
Cold but sunny afternoon

But soon the anger about this strange "rebuff" really blew over as the new pub was beautiful – especially at this glorious winter day. Obviously the guilty conscience of Tata was substantial as the first round was shouted by the organization, arguably Ron Bleeker and Guy Van Habberney had arranged for that. The KWA treasurer then didn’t splash out and turned to pay the second round.

Guy Van Habberney provided a short and witty summary on the meeting:

Wijk organizers claimed that the KWA meeting last year was too noisy, and contrary to earlier written promises denied us our traditional meeting room. The rowdy group, led by such notorious hooligans as Geurt Gijsen and Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam subsequently trekked thru the cold dunes of Wijk, only to find a beautiful location on the beach which will serve us well in the coming years. (A most rowdy character, a tall German subject claiming "feenschach" as the one and only real chess addiction also strolled around ...) With 18 members in attendance, the chairman and the treasurer quickly went thru some statistics: 182 members, 23 seniors, one junior member, 9 institutional members. A very healthy balance sheet, a revamped website, an ever improving CSQ plus interesting book projects. Furthermore, the KWA will soon also get an appropriate legal status which will facilitate many of its official dealings. A regional meeting is planned in Cracow in May and the annual meeting will hopefully be held in Belfort later in the year. For 2014, Saint Louis is on the agenda. In order to celebrate our 10 years of existence, the board is considering a special publication for KWA members only. After the meeting was concluded, all attendants eagerly attacked the chess books that were on offer. No arrests were made.

The report written by Tony Gillam (and already sent to the British members) will be reproduced here as well:

A few words to bring you up to date with the regional meeting of the KWA held last Saturday in a restaurant on the beach at Wijk aan Zee! It was very cold outside. There was also a book market at which at least 4 members sold their duplicates.
About 18 members were present, mainly from the Netherlands and Belgium. Several topics came up about possible future publications which were interesting:

1: should there be a paper version of Chess Stalker Quarterly?

2: someone had suggested asking all the members what their 3 favourite library items were and writing a book about the answers. I don’t really have favourites but I do have some unusual items: one would be a miniature version of a complete issue of L’Echiquier magazine which I assume was produced for advertising purposes. At the dinner afterwards, I sat opposite a Dutch member who told me that his favourite item was a chessboard (I assume paper) which had a "panel" on the right hand side on which appeared a handwritten complete simul game with Alekhine’s signature. It seems the Dutch Federation decided to raise money by charging players 2.50 guilders (in about 1935-36) to play in simuls against top players. Everyone who played received one of these special boards on which to record the game and which the simul giver would sign. An interesting idea. The player in this case had a lost position after about 11 moves but played on till move 32.

3: the Dutch are searching for the games of Beverwijk 1954. This is the only post-war Beverwijk tournament not to be published, which is strange as a Dutchman, Bouwmeester, won! So far they have 27 of the 45 games. Bouwmeester will be 85 next year and I think that has something to do with the search. They have all his games. There are 24 games on the Beverwijk cd.

4: The Belgians have discovered a manuscript with all the games of the first Belgian Championship of 1921 (Colle won).

5: the KWA is going to publish Ken Whyld’s booklet called "Simpson’s, Headquarters of the Chess World" (which I supplied them with) to mark the 10th anniversary of the KWA, next year.

6: the editor already has 3 articles for the next CSQ. He remarked that he was very pleased at the way material comes in without him having to try hard to get it. There is another little booklet by Ken Whyld which can be included, on the world’s first international all-play-all tournament in London 1851. It was chaotically organised and only some of the games are known – a small pamphlet with about 8pp A5 size. I have it.

7: the next regional meeting will be in Krakow in the first weekend of May. Details of hotels will be sent out to all members.

8: the 2014 AGM will be in St Louis, USA, at the same place at the Susan Polgar school.

Of course the 2013 Tata Steel Chess Tournament was taking place at Wijk aan Zee at the same time. Round 1 was also on Saturday – Anand, Aronian, Carlsen, Giri, Harikrishna, Nakamura, Loek van Wely, Sokolov, etc. 14 players. Entry is free. There is a separate marquee (literally!) 100 metres down the road where 2 top Dutch players comment upon 4 of the games each day (only in Dutch unfortunately). Lots of people are around + the odd TV crew. It’s very civilised and well organised. You can follow the games in the tournament hall on TV sets. I daresay it is also on the web.

We should have more British members and a bigger British attendance at the regional meetings.

[Again Michael Negele now:]

At the subsequent book market I had quite a lot of customers which considerably supplemented my vacation fund.

Book market in Het Strandhuis
Book market in Het Strandhuis

From a short visit to the tournament hall:

A fine conclusion was the joint dinner which (unfortunately) everybody had to pay for himself.

Photographs by Michael Negele.

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