Three-round event at Wijk aan Zee
Pictorial report by Michael Negele
Certainly the second tournament weekend is the ideal time for members of the KWA to visit the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Till then the events have already stabilized and particularly the chess antiquarian bookseller from Zutphen www.boekenvreugd.nl/ is present with a wide variety of books. If you then fancy playing a game yourself, it would make sense to participate in the rapid tournament.
But 2010 all was different as our friend John Donaldson, coming from the team world championship at Bursa in Turkey, had announced himself for a flying visit at the beginning of the tournament. For me of course it was finally the opportunity to take part in one of the legendary three-round events in Wijk aan Zee.
So I arrived on Friday evening after a somewhat stressful journey at the tournament hall and on schedule at 6.30 pm I could make the first move (together with nearly 500 further chess friends) in my "group of four" 2C. I was not aware that my opponent, WIM Lorena Zepeda (ELO 2156, from El Salvador, more precisely Cuidad Merliot) seemed to be quite prominent in the Netherlands and my game even attracted attention of several grandmasters (and of the photographers). Certainly this was not attributed to my fine play but rather to my attractive counterpart. Moreover Lorena’s sister Sonia who started in group 2B was seated next to me.
From a French Opening a complicated game developed where I could exploit small errors of my opponent and start in her time trouble the decisive attack at the queenside.
Shortly after 10 pm I had won my game and went tired but satisfied to my hotel in Haarlem.
Next morning I picked up John Donaldson at the station in Beverwijk and we went to the Pavillon to wait there for the other KWA guests. John proudly presented his "silver medal" which the US team had quite surprisingly won under his team leadership at Bursa. Of course he was also happy to receive the 3.5 kg volume of the Lasker "bible" which however worried him somewhat because of the weight at the return journey.
For me it was especially pleasing that John had quite a lot of small presents in his luggage, among other things a brand-new biography of GM Suat Atalik (in Turkish).
Unfortunately the Pavillon was then prepared for a reception and was not available for the planned book market of the KWA. Therefore we switched to the trendy pub De Moriaan at the venue which gradually filled up about noon. There John provided me with some insights into my game and my opponent who arguably is the present girlfriend of King Loek van Wely – which explains the above interest.
In the meantime Ton de Vreede and Gerard Welling had appeared and after all Bob van de Velde, Jurgen Stigter as well as the constant Wijk aan Zee visitors Calle Erlandsson and Per Skjoldager, the latter in company of his son Mikael, arrived. Unfortunately we had to improvise more or less the book market, everyone could just take a look at my two boxes. Later on we still met Peter de Jong, so some additional autographs were eternalized in the Lasker book.
Then to the second game which was started together with the grandmaster tournaments at 1.30 pm. This time my opponent was Han Schut (ELO 2104) from Waterloo, a Dutchman living in Belgium who had also been successful with Black in the first round. As I thought to have again Black with number 4, I was surprised to have the first move.
Black totally refused to accept my early pawn sacrifice which however supplied me with a very strong position. At the expense of a pawn I played for an attack on the king to post subsequently my queen on a3 (to John’s amazement). This all would have been OK if I had called back again the "strongest piece" via c1. But I had another idea which however had a big "hole". But as on many other occasions the time trouble of my opponent brought me the "fortune of the brave" and my certainly incorrect piece sacrifice on f7 was rewarded. That I then missed a nice mate should be forgiven in the "flurry of excitement" at the end.
The two pretty daughters of Mr Schut, Donna and Lisa could certainly comfort their father a little, after all both won their groups 2D and 2G. Sometimes I think to have started 30 years too early with chess …
Thus I had gained 2 full points and at the following KWA dinner in the "Horse-Club" together with Calle Erlandsson’s guests GM Kjetil Lie (Norway) and GM Nils Grandelius (Sweden) as well as the Swedish sponsor Johan Sigeman the experts deliberated on my "strategy". I announced a "French Defence" whereupon an "exchange variation" was to hope for. It was a pleasing turn for the third round that my opponent Reinier Jaquet from Tilburg (ELO 1975) really proceeded this way and that we could agree on a draw after nine moves. With it my group was won and I had plenty of time to watch the grandmasters. In addition I had to gather some impressions of the chess obsessed and in the afternoon even sunny Wijk aan Zee and had to hold extensive conservations with the chess friends to be met this Sunday.
So I became acquainted with our new KWA member Rob Spaans who took care of the New in Chess bookstall, met the vice president of the German Chess Federation, Dr. Hans-Jürgen Weyer and finally, to my pleasure once more again Bert Corneth. Of course there were some sales at the book tables, among other things I could acquire the book which had been so impressively presented by the young author Daniel Naroditsky at the KWA meeting in San Francisco.
I especially enjoyed the conservation with Yasser Seirawan who has lived for years in Amsterdam with his wife Ivette Nagel. John Donaldson was a guest of the likable grandmaster, so I addressed him with regard to his memories of Ken Whyld. To my surprise Yasser has pointed to just this early chess contact at Nottingham in his new book coming out in May. Later on in Seattle Ken Whyld had visited the Seirawan family once again.
After the phase of time trouble in the grandmaster tournament was over and the furnace bleeder of the steel plant flared over Wijk aan Zee, I started contentedly back for home. Maybe I will play sometime a nine-round event...