Wijk aan Zee 2015

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
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.
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.

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.
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".

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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

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
Just a concluding photo of the two of us

All photographs courtesy of Michael Negele.

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