First edition: February 2009

The first Batavia Chess Tournament was held February 11th-20th, 2009. The Batavia 1920 Tournament took place February 11th-20th in Cafe Batavia, in the heart of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It was a small dream of cafe owner Peter Tames to organize a chess tournament one time, and this month he succeeded. With the help of photographer Bas Beekhuizen and a bit of Corus (now Tata) tournament director Jeroen van den Berg as well, he got together a group of ten players in the elo range 2214-2490, enough to make an IM norm possible.

The old cafe that dates from 1920, and for this first edition some redecoration was needed to get everything ready in time. Peter Tames: “At first we wanted to stage it downstairs, where we have even more space, but then we decided to hold in the room upstairs, where it would be more quiet.”

This place was not 100% ready yet when the tournament started, but photos of famous chess players were already hanging on the walls. “We’re planning too keep the chessy atmosphere also after the tournament. You will be able to play chess in our cafe, even with clocks!”

And yes, during the tournament there was certainly a very nice, chessy and cosy (not an ideal translation of the Dutch word “gezellig”, but there’s not much better to our knowledge to describe it) atmosphere in the cafe. Many local players, like GMs Reinderman, Ree and Seirawan and IMs Thomas Willemze and Manuel Bosboom, to name just a few, welcomed the “newcomer” on the calendar and paid the tournament a visit.

And what more can an organizer of an IM round-robin wish for, than an IM norm scored by a Dutch talent? Together with GM Ilan Manor (Israel), Robin van Kampen finished on 6/9, exactly the number of points needed to score his first norm. (More at ChessVibes.)