Round 9 LIVE

The prize winners. Photo: Lennart Ootes

There is a lot at stake on the final day. Eight players are still in contention for first place. Jasel Lopez already secured his second IM norm and crossed the 2400 barrier. Felix Meissner needs a draw today for his first IM norm and also crossed the 2400 barrier. Rick Lahaye needs to win today for an IM norm. We have the special prizes for the tiebreak system and there are prizes for best game and best endgame.

Photo by Bas Beekhuizen

Felix Meissner beat David Arutinian 2-0 in the blitz, which probably gives some confidence for the classical game. David showed his ambitions by choosing the Paulsen Sicilian. Felix put up a solid Maroczy Bind, but did lose the bishop pair in the process. The position looks dynamically balanced:

The blitz games between Jasel Lopez and Rick Lahaye were super sharp and entertaining. Jasel ended up winning the armageddon. Since Rick needs to win the classical game for his IM norm, his choice of the Dutch Defence is understandable. Jasel played a thematic exchange sacrifice on h5, but it’s a bad version for White (including c4 is too slow), so Rick managed to complete his development and holds a large advantage:

Arthur Pijpers beat Simon Williams 2-0 in the blitz. The second blitz game looked like a mirrored Dragon, an opening in which Arthur has a lot of experience. In the classical game Simon once more sacrificed a pawn, but since he no longer has his dark-squared bishop, his attack seems to lack some punch:

Max Warmerdam convincingly beat Stefan Kuipers 2-0 in the blitz, but the classical game is a different story. Stefan achieved a superior pawn structure from a positionally complex Italian opening:

John van der Wiel was suffering in the tiebreak against Koen Leenhouts (losing 1.5-0.5), but looks very solid with White in the classical game:

Koen just took on f4 and John is thinking here, but I’m curious what the alternative to recapturing would be.

John indeed recaptured and some further exchanges the rook endgame was drawn.

Rick Lahaye won and scored his second IM norm! After losing in round 7 Rick’s chances for a norm seemed almost disappeared, but his fantastic 2 out of 2 finish did the job! Jasel explained that he mixed up the move order in the opening.

Felix Meissner kept control over the position and even got an advantage, but David Arutinian found a way to escape to an equal endgame, which was drawn. This means that also Felix has scored an IM norm! Three IM norms in one tournament makes it quite a memorable event.

Stefan Kuipers and Max Warmerdam repeated moves and drew. Arthur Pijpers is now favourite to win the tournament, as he has a clear advantage.

Asked about his first impressions of the new tournament format with the blitz tiebreak before the classical game, Lennart Ootes said: “I’m very happy we have been able to test this new format in the Batavia tournament. I enjoyed the combination of blitz and classical and it’s great to see a big turnout of onsite spectators during the blitz. As the tiebreak scoring system was not leading due to FIDE norm regulations, it’s hard to draw an accurate conclusion about the new format itself. I hope it will get a chance in a stronger tournament in the near future.”

Simon Williams defended well. The game was drawn moments ago, which means that Arthur Pijpers has won the tournament!

The prize giving will be at 16:30!


Round 8 LIVE

With two rounds to go, there are no less than seven players still in contention for first place. Tournament leader Jasel Lopez can still score a GM norm (if he wins both games) and Felix Meissner only needs 0.5 out of 2 for an IM norm. Both Jasel and Felix already crossed the 2400 barrier in the course of this tournament.

Unfortunately, we again had problems with the live boards, so the tiebreak wasn’t transmitted live. I’ll quickly give the results:
Jasel Lopez – Koen Leenhouts 1-2
Arthur Pijpers – John van der Wiel 1.5-1.5 (Arthur drew the armageddon with Black)
Simon Williams – Max Warmerdam 0-2
Felix Meissner – Rick Lahaye 0-2
David Arutinian – Stefan Kuipers 0.5-1.5

The live boards were repaired just in time for the classical games. The two norm seekers are having a difficult time. Jasel Lopez didn’t manage to solve his opening problems with Black against Koen Leenhouts and is under pressure in the endgame:

Felix Meissner is suffering from an inferior pawn structure with Black against Rick Lahaye:

Simon Williams got outprepared by Max Warmerdam. This theoretical variation is currently difficult for Black. Simon, true to his style, sacrificed two pawns and now puts everything on a direct kingside attack:

The Leiden derby between Arthur Pijpers and John van der Wiel is a very interesting battle so far. John is inspired by Manuel Bosboom and couldn’t resist pushing his h-pawn. Arthur is now opening the position on the queenside:

Stefan Kuipers tried to solve his opening problems tactically:

Here 16…Nxe4 didn’t have the desired effect, after which David Arutinian went on to win.

Herman Grooten wrote a nice article about the tournament on Schaaksite
Karel van Delft also covered the tournament in his Schaakacademie Apeldoorn newsletter

I was just reminded that we still have a third norm seeker: Rick Lahaye needs 2 out of 2 for an IM norm. Not easy, but certainly possible. And it certainly adds tension to the pairing Lahaye-Meissner.

Jasel managed to save half a point in the rook endgame. Rick beat Felix, so they are both still playing for the IM norm tomorrow. Arthur squeezed the position until the end and impressively beat John. Max beat Simon. As Max pointed out, seven players can still share first place tomorrow, in which case three IM norms would be scored. Remember we start at 12:00 tomorrow, see you then!

Round 7 LIVE

The weekend is about to start, the sun is shining and we are having a singing bartender here in Café Batavia. With three rounds to go we have several contenders for a GM or IM norm, but let’s not talk about that yet and first see what happens today in round 7.

Today’s top pairing is Jasel Lopez versus Arthur Pijpers. In the first blitz game Jasel played a long theoretical line of the French Defence that is actually refuted. Arthur is the wrong guy to test though, as he duly played all the theoretical moves and had no problems crowning the attack. In the second blitz game Jasel was initially better, but Arthur took over at some point and in the end secured a draw.

It turned out that all this was just a warming up for more action to happen. In the classical game Jasel as White entered the sharp classical main line of the King’s Indian and seems to be going all in:

White is playing on the queenside and Black on the kingside, as we know from the good old Kasparov days.

The grandmaster clash between Simon Williams and David Arutinian is also razor sharp. After many complications Simon won the blitz match 1.5-0.5. In the classical game Simon played a gambit that I’ve never seen before. The position looks very interesting, so entertainment is guaranteed:

Max Warmerdam beat John van der Wiel with 2-0 in the tiebreak, playing confident active chess. Exercise: What do you think Max played here with Black?

In the classical game John is White and Max went for the Classical Sicilian, once more resulting in a sharp position:

The way Stefan Kuipers managed to not win the armageddon game against Felix Meissner from a completely winning position visibly hurt. In the classical game Felix went for a risky modern defence and Stefan will be eager to take revanche:

Rick Lahaye lost on time in a completely winning rook endgame in the first blitz game against Koen Leenhouts, but did win the second game and the armageddon. In the classical game Koen, just like Simon, played in gambit style from a 1.d4 opening:

So to summarize: all players are going all out for the win today. What’s more, we have one of those days where the audience is stronger than the tournament field: Yasser Seirawan and Jan Smeets are playing a blitz match in the bar. Enough reaons to pay a Café Batavia a visit today!

Arthur Pijpers was doing quite well, until he lost track with 27…f3, which paradoxically leads to closing files instead of opening them. Jasel Lopez now has every chance to win (if he succeeds, he needs 1.5 points from his remaining 2 games for a GM norm).

Update: Arthur Pijpers managed to escape with a perpetual. That means that Jasel Lopez scored an IM norm with two rounds to spare, which is very impressive, congratulations! For the GM norm, he will need to win his remaining two games.

John van der Wiel seemed to have an advantage against Max Warmerdam with three connected pawns for the piece, but didn’t see a clear continuation and went for the perpetual.

Rick Lahaye explained after the game: “I took a calculated risk in the opening by grabbing the pawn. Koen played it very accurately though, scoring a deserved win”.

David Arutinian defended well and the drew the endgame against Simon Williams.

Stefan Kuipers lost track in the early middlegame. Felix Meissner took over the initiative, got a winning attack and then played it safe to secure the win. Felix now needs 0.5 out of 2 for the IM norm, and is still in the running for tournament victory.

See you tomorrow for round 8!

Round 6 LIVE

Welcome back at the second half of the 11th edition of the dMP Batavia Amsterdam Chess Tournament! Today we started with a slight delay again. Some minor things keep going wrong, but everything is solved now. Our apologies for the inconvenience, thanks for your patience!

After five rounds the surprising tournament leader is Jasel Lopez with 3.5 out of 5. David Arutinian, Arthur Pijpers and Felix Meissner are following on 3 out of 5. Simon Williams, Max Warmerdam and Rick Lahaye are on 50%. Stefan Kuipers and Koen Leenhouts are on 2 points, while John van der Wiel is on 1. Usually, everyone can beat everyone at the Batavia tournament, so anything can still happen in the second half of the tournament.

Jasel Lopez is facing Max Warmerdam with the black pieces today, which is quite a test for the Aruban. Max somewhat luckily won the tiebreak with 1.5-0.5. In the classical game the exchange variation of the Caro-Kann was played, and Max just played the interesting pawn break 14.c4:

While the position is difficult to judge, Max is now almost one hour up on the clock.

Felix Meissner said that he was quite lucky in winning the armageddon against Simon Williams, but fact is, that he won his first tiebreak. In the classical game Simon went for a King’s Indian with Nbd7. Felix tried a modern setup involving g4, but didn’t manage to keep the position under control. With a temporary pawn sacrifice Simon grabbed the initiative:

Arthur Pijpers won the armageddon, after an early blunder by Koen Leenhouts. In the classical game a main line Ruy Lopez resulted in a tense Benoni structure. Arthur managed to take the sting out of Black’s play and now enjoys a positional advantage:

John van der Wiel equalised the score in the second blitz game against his grandmaster colleague David Arutinian, by playing an inspired classical King’s Indian. In the armageddon David was just too solid in his trusted Caro-Kann, keeping the draw with Black. Anyway, good to see John van der Wiel fighting his way back in the tournament. In the classical game John replaced his King’s Indian by a more classical setup. As most pieces are exchanged at this point, a draw is the most likely outcome.

Also fighting his way back in the tournament is Stefan Kuipers, by beating Rick Lahaye in the tiebreak. The current position in the classical game seems to be balanced:

David’s position with the minor pieces versus rook and pawn turned out to be more tricky than we thought. John made the most out of his chances and is now technically winning:

At the game between Max Warmerdam versus Jasel Lopez, the situation both on the board and on the clock is equal by now.

Koen Leenhouts accomplished a houdini act by sacrificing three pieces in a row, enough to confuse Arthur Pijpers. When the smoke cleared, the moves were repeated. The guys are analysing in the bar now:

Simon Williams’ initiative was soon decisive. Felix Meissner most likely had an advantage at some point in the early middlegame, but Black always keeps practical chances.

In Warmerdam-Lopez and Lahaye-Kuipers nothing dramatic happened in the second half of the game, both ending in a draw.

John van der Wiel had no problems converting the endgame against the number one seed. An important win for John, closing the gap with the rest of the field. Jasel is still leading the tournament with 4 out of 6 now. The rest of the field is on 3.5/3/2.5/2. That’s it for today, see you tomorrow at round 7!

Round 5 LIVE

It’s super exciting to be in the Stadsarchief and present chess to a new audience! The lunch took a bit longer than planned and therefore the chess started somewhat later, but everyone seems enthousiastic about this new addition to our tournament.

John van der Wiel convincingly beat Felix Meissner 2-0 in the blitz, but the classical game was a different story. John blundered badly right in the opening. He calculated the moves, but miscounted the pieces. Felix had no problems converting and thus made a great comeback in the tournament, just before the rest day.

David Arutinian also scored a clean 2-0 against Jasel Lopez, but again the classical was quite different. Jasel had a mild initiative based on the semi-open g-file, but David remained solid and in the end the moves were repeated.

Simon Williams and Stefan Kuipers are both very strong players, once they have the initiative, so the question was: who is going to force his will upon his opponent. Today it was Simon, winning 1.5-0.5 in the blitz and eventually dominating in the classical game as well.

Koen Leenhouts had no chance in the blitz against Max Warmerdam, losing 2-0, but made this result not count by winning the classical game. The commentators spent a lot of time analysing all knight manoeuvres and so did the players after the game.

Arthur Pijpers beat Rick Lahaye in the armageddon and went on to win the classical game as well. After Arthur sacrificed a piece on e6 in the Sicilian, Rick’s king was kept in the centre and didn’t survive the direct attack.

Announcement Round 5 in the Stadsarchief

Round 5 on Tuesday March 5th will be played in the Stadsarchief, which is 20 minutes walking from Café Batavia (or 10 minutes by public transport):

The address is Vijzelstraat 32. You enter the Stadsarchief through the main entrance and then you have two options:

  • The games are played at the second floor (called Bodeplein, you will immediately see it when you arrive at the second floor, so please be silent when you are about to arrive there!)
  • The special program for the audience (live commentary on the games and the opportunity to meet and greet chess friends) will be downstairs in the bar (called De Bazel). The players will join after they finish their games.

We have the following time table tomorrow:

11:30 Arrival of the players
11:45 Group photo of the players
12:00 Start of the tiebreak
13:00/13:15 Start of the classical game, commentary by IM Merijn van Delft
14:00-16:00 Commentary by IM Yochanan Afek & GM Justin Tan
16:00-18:00 Commentary by IM Manuel Bosboom & Arne Moll
19:00 Finish, the players will go back to Café Batavia for dinner
21:00 Watching Real Madrid-Ajax on a huge screen at Q-Factory (address: Atlantisplein 1), we will gather there with many chess players

Everyone is very welcome to join at any point during the day!

Round 4 LIVE

The first concrete results of the tournament are a fact: yesterday both Jasel Lopez and Felix Meissner crossed the important 2400 rating barrier, which is a requirement for the IM title. Congratulations to both! Today they play eachother. Felix won the first blitz game with confident play, but halfway the second blitz game, the tables started to turn. Jasel took over the initiative and brought the score to 1-1. In the armageddon Jasel quickly got the initiave again and Felix had his queen trapped. The classical game has a more positional character, starting from the 2.d3 French.

Max Warmerdam was doing very well in the blitz so far, but today he lost the tiebreak against Arthur Pijpers with 1.5-0.5. Actually Max was doing quite well in the first game, but in blitz anything can happen, which makes it very spectacular to watch. In the main game they played a theoretical line from the Slow Slav that leads straight to an endgame. It may be a bit easier for White, but Black is very solid.

Koen Leenhouts and David Arutinian drew their first two blitz games and then had a spectacular showdown in the armageddon. While Koen was trying to break down David’s fortress, he suddenly blundered a full queen. The position they have right now in the classical game could also have arrived at from a Sicilian Alapin and looks perfectly balanced.

Simon Williams and Rick Lahaye played three exciting blitz games full of tactical motives. After the dust had settled, Rick came out as the winner of the armageddon. In the classical game, Simon’s 8…Be6 looks ill-timed, as after 9.Qb3 Black was pretty much forced to sacrifice the b7 pawn and fish in troubled waters.

Stefan Kuipers won both blitz games against John van der Wiel following the same pattern: a somewhat shaky start in the game, but then sacrificing material to grab the initiative and win in a direct attack against the king. In the classical game John went for the Kalashnikov Variation (a name invented by Rini Kuijf during an Olympiad back in the day). As this point the position looks equal.

Stefan Kuipers and John van der Wiel drew their game. There are certainly many subtilities, judging from the fact that they are still analying, but the actual game remained balanced and the moves were repeated.

David Arutinian and Koen Leenhouts also drew. Eventually, the game was positionally balanced again, but halfway both players missed a crucial tactical point:

Here White could have played 33.Rd2! winning.

Simon Williams tried everything he could, creating a lot of complications, but Rick Lahaye kept a cool head and eventually converted in a sharp endgame. Rick now has 2.5 out of 4 and already played all grandmasters.

Felix Meissner was on his way to create model game with the bishop pair against Jasel Lopez, but played it a bit too safe:

Here 47.g4 was too static, whereas the more straightforward 47.f4 gives White a winning advantage.

Finally, Max Warmerdam and Arthur Pijpers battled it out until the very end, with a pretty final position:

See you all tomorrow at the Stadsarchief!

Round 3

Today we had so many visitors in Café Batavia, that I decided to skip the live reporting and socialize with everyone instead. My apologies to those who waited for an update in vain, hope this summary will do.

At the chess board we also had a brutal amount of action today. It is almost like the madness of yesterday’s thriller Leenhouts-Kuipers carried over to today, judging from what happened at several boards.

Jasel Lopez and Stefan Kuipers were both on 1.5 out of 2, so there was a lot at stake today. After two tense blitz games it was 1-1, and then Jasel kept a drew with Black in the armageddon. Stefan had trouble switching from blitz to classical and quickly messed up the opening. Jasel grabbed the initiative, sacrificed a piece, won in the attack and is now the proud tournament leader!

Koen Leenhouts and Felix Meissner were also on 1-1 after the first two blitz games, and then Koen drew the armageddon with Black. The strange thing was that Felix accidentally played his main preparation in the blitz. He decided to repeat his surprising use of the Chigorin Defence in the classical game and got away with it. Koen was mentally not really prepared for a messy game, got confused and lost track. Felix grabbed his chance, took over and finished with a direct kingside attack.

Simon Williams was on fire today, beating John van der Wiel 2-0 in blitz and his confident play carried over to the classical game. John played his pet line against the Modern Defence, but Simon reacted very accurately, got an advantage and had no problems converting.

David Arutinian beat Arthur Pijpers 2-0 in the blitz and also got the upper hand in the classical game, but Arthur kept a cool head a drew the rook endgame a pawn down.

Max Warmerdam beat Rick Lahaye 1.5-0.5 in the blitz. Their classical game seemed correct from both sides and ended in a move repetition.