Batavia 2016 Round 5

13:47 Today is a crucial round for all players. Not just because tomorrow is the rest day, but also if we have a look at the pairings. First of all, tournament leaders Sabino Brunello and Friso Nijboer are facing eachother. Will they consolidate their lead or try to knock out the other one? The Italian grandmaster is playing white. Then we have Arthur Pijpers and Stef Soors playing eachother, the Dutchman has the white pieces. The winner of this game moves up to plus two (3.5 out of 5) and keeps reasonable chances for a GM norm (6.5 out of 9). Moulthun Ly is playing with White against Lucas van Foreest and also needs a win to stay in the running for a GM norm. Anne Haast desperately needs to get on the scoreboard just before the rest day, but her opponent Danny de Ruiter will try to get back to 50%. The remaining game between Lars Schandorff and Thomas Willemze will see a clash of styles: the theoretician versus the coffeehouse player.

14:24 Brunello-Nijboer is a Dutch Defence, and while in round 3 and 4 Nijboer was the one who had to think first (and ended up being an hour down on the clock), he now made his opponent think with the interesting 5…c6.

14:38 Pijpers-Soors is the main line of the Caro-Kann advance variation, as expected. The timing of 11.Ne1 may not be correct though. My personal notes indicate the novelty 11.c3!? as a good waiting move, strengthening White’s position in the centre.

14:43 Ly-Van Foreest is a Steinitz Deferred (4…d6) of the Ruy Lopez. White’s 5.c4 is a solid positional approach, but Black’s 5…f5 is probably just bad.

14:54 De Ruiter-Haast is the Bayonet Attack of the King’s Indian. White is supposed to play the prophylactic 15.Rb1. After Danny’s direct 15.Ne6, Anne should be doing fine. While I’m typing this, Danny has played 18.Nd5?, but that just leaves the e6 pawn hanging.

15:04 Schandorff-Willemze saw 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5, which is more positional than it may look at first sight. Black is solid so far.

15:20 It is not clear what Danny de Ruiter must have missed, but he doesn’t have compensation for the pawn. Anne Haast is pawn up with good control over the position:

De Ruiter-Haast after 19…Ncd4

15:27 Arthur Pijpers played 12.c3, but that’s not as strong as one move before. Stef Soors has equalized by now:

Pijpers-Soors after 16.Be3

15:34 Thomas Willemze has fully equalized against Lars Schandorff with the help of the elegant b4 pawn break:

Schandorff-Willemze after 12…b4

15:46 Lucas van Foreest’s 5…f5 may not have been good objectively speaking, but it certainly made the game very entertaining. After Moulthun Ly’s anti-developing reaction 8.Ng1 the position became a mess. The straightforward 8.Nfd2 Qg5 9.0-0 Bh3 10.g3 looks very good for White. Further improvements include 11.d5 for White and 11…Qh4 for Black. After the accurate 13.Bb1! White seems to get out on top after all:

Ly-Van Foreest after 13.Bb1

16:02 Friso Nijboer is full of ambition today! With 10…Be6 he initiated a pawn sacrifice against Sabino Brunello, while starting some exchanges with 10…Nxe4 was a viable option. No quick draw at the top board today, as the Amsterdam grandmaster has just burned all bridges behind him:

Brunello-Nijboer after 13…f4

16:37 Pijpers has given up his bishop pair in an attempt to keep control over the postion, but Soors now looks comfortable with his control over the c-file.

16:38 Ly will soon be able to bring his king into safety and then he will be a healthy pawn up.

17:00 Anne Haast kept control over the situation and scored her first full point against Danny de Ruiter.

17:04 Arthur Pijpers has lost control over the position, and Stef Soors is convincingly taking over.

17:06 Thomas Willemze looked perfectly solid for a long time, until he blundered with the careless 23…Ra8.

Schandorff-Willemze after 23…Ra8

Here Lars Schandorff had no problems finding 24.d5 exd5 25.Nxd5 and White is instantly winning. Black resigned a few moves later.

17:14 Moulthun Ly returned his extra pawns and beat Lucas van Foreest in a direct attack.

17:18 At Pijpers-Soors, 28…d3 looked winning for Black, but by now there is still a lot to fight for.

17:22 Sabino Brunello has convincingly refuted the pawn sacrifice by Friso Nijboer, and after castling queenside the issue is decided:

Brunello-Nijboer after 22.0-0-0


Batavia 2016 Round 4

Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

14:34 After three rounds the grandmasters are dominating the Batavia tournament. Nijboer and Brunello are on 2.5 points and Schandorff is on 2 points. Only Ly from Australia and Soors from Belgium managed to get a plus one score, but they are probably not happy with their somewhat shaky play so far. Arthur Pijpers plays solid chess, but didn’t get to full speed yet. The other Dutchmen (and woman) have been suffering up to this point. Let’s see what today brings!

15:00 Nijboer-Schandorff is the first pairing between grandmasters this week and they are having a long theoretical discussion in the Keres variation of the Ruy Lopez. With 24…Nxh3+ Lars played the first new move, which led by force to the diagram position:

Nijboer-Schandorff after 26…Nxg5

Materially speaking, Black is fine with two pawns for the exchange, but of course the white rooks are quite active. Some explorative analysis suggests that White remains better, but Black has good drawing chances with his compact position.

15:22 Soors and Brunello are following a long theoretical line as well, in the Spanish Four Knights. This line ends in a perpetual check though, which was first played in Vallejo-Dominguez, Cuernavaca 2006.

Soors-Brunello after 22.Ka2

15:38 In Willemze-Ly, the Dutch IM unfavourably changed the pawn structure with 10.e5?! (normal is to keep manoeuvring with 10.Nf1), since now he is stuck with a backward pawn on d3.

Willemze-Ly after 15…Rad8

15:44 Nijboer decided to offer a draw, since he was getting very low on time. Schandorff had no reason to decline. Soors-Brunello indeed ended in a perpetual.

15:51 Anne Haast did not feel like long theoretical 1.e4 lines today and played 1.b3 against Arthur Pijpers. An interesting position appeared on the board, but just like Willemze, with 10.d4?! she unfavourably transformed her pawn structure and now Black seems to be on top:

Haast-Pijpers after 16.Bc3

White’s minor pieces lack scope, whereas the black pieces are become active.

16:07 In the fifth game of today, Lucas van Foreest didn’t play a very convincing Alapin Sicilian, but Danny de Ruiter also hesitated somewhat in his play. After 20.a5 a critical position arose:

Van Foreest-De Ruiter after 20.a5

Here Black should stay calm with something like 20…Bc7 21.axb6 axb6. Danny’s 20…bxa5 21.Rxa5 is also playable, if he finds the powerful 21…e5. Instead, he played 21…Bb4 22.Ra6 which leaves White with a positional advantage.

16:32 It seems that Moulthun Ly missed a chance for a large advantage, since he could have played 23…Rd2. Black is still better, but at least Thomas Willemze got rid of his weak d-pawn.

16:35 Van Foreest has cashed in too early on Black’s weak a-pawn. 27.Rxf7 was a fancy move, but the sober 27…Bf6 neutralises everything.

16:40 Pijpers is clearly on top by now, but the position remains very sharp. Let’s see what Haast will still come up with.

16:57 The picture remains unchanged: De Ruiter en Willemze have repaired their positions, while Pijpers has a winning position:

Haast-Pijpers after 30…dxe5

17:50 Arthur Pijpers indeed beat Anne Haast. The other two games are still balanced.

Batavia 2016 Round 3

Photo: Bas Beekhuizen.

15:24 The top pairing of the third round is Moulthun Ly versus Friso Nijboer. Friso is playing his favourite Classical Sicilian, but he seems unfamiliar with 16.Bc4!, a powerful relatively new move first played by Georgiadis and later played by Grischuk and Ganguly.

Ly-Nijboer after 16.Bc4

Moulthun already played a model attacking game against Dubov’s Classical Sicilian in Qatar, so he can be considered a true expert for White in this opening. By now the Australian candidate grandmaster is almost an hour up in time.

15:48 Lars Schandorff knows his openings well, and he did get a positional edge with White against Stef Soors’ Bogo-Indian.

Schandorff-Soors after 17…Nf8

18.Qd3 may have been a bit too careful though, whereas the straightforward 18.b5 looks nice for White. Black possibly should have tried 18…g6 (to get the bishop to f5) instead of 18…Re8.

16:33 Danny de Ruiter decided to go for the endgame that is known from a notorious Carlsen-Anand World Championship game.

Pijpers-De Ruiter after 21…e5

Here Arthur went for 22.Bd3 followed by Be4, but without bishop pair White is no longer better. 22.Re2! followed by Rb2 would have been pretty manoeuvre.

17:34 Thomas Willemze beat Lucas van Foreest in a pretty attacking game. Lucas probably should have closed the position with 13…d4, since 13…dxe4 gave White the central stability he needed.

Willemze-Van Foreest na 19…Kh7

Here Willemze found the key move 20.f4!, after which his attack crashes through.

17:49 Sabino Brunello beat Anne Haast in a theoretical discussion in the 3.e4 b5 variation. Not an easy start of the tournament for the Dutch lady, but she always fights back.

17:55 All games have finished now and Café Batavia is still packed with chess players. The three remaining games were all drawn. A final quiz question: how could Nijboer (who solved his problems impressively) have won in the following position?

Ly-Nijboer after 29.Rd8+


Batavia 2016 Round 2

Thomas Willemze - photo by Lennart Ootes

Thomas Willemze – photo by Lennart Ootes

14:36 The second round of the Batavia tournament is underway, with the following pairings:

De Ruiter-Brunello
Van Foreest-Pijpers

14:44 Grandmaster Friso Nijboer won his first game with White yesterday and will try to double his score with another white game today. Thomas Willemze completely ruined his fantastic position yesterday, so today he will try everything to get on the scoreboard. On the menu is a relatively quiet French Defence with dxe4. But things can become sharp, should White decide to castle queenside.

15:25 Stef Soors from Belgium and Moulthun Ly from Australia both won their games yesterday. They are having a classical Spanish Four Knights on the board, in which Black equalized without problems. The critical move seems to be 10.Bh4. With 14.Rb7 it may look as if White gets the initiative, but Black can defend his pawns comfortably.

16:09 Danny de Ruiter and Sabino Brunello played a topical line from the Queen’s Indian (known from games by L’Ami and interestingly, Schandorff). The first new move was 15…Ra6 and a few moves later Black has equalized. A tough positional battle lies ahead.

16:39 The game between Anne Haast and Lars Schandorff has a somewhat mysterious course. In a sideline of the classical Ruy Lopez, 14.d5 would have been the thematic move. Instead, Black got the initiative with 17…d5. But in the next few moves Black hesitated for too long with his dxe4, so now the game is unclear again.

17:07 Lucas van Foreest and Arthur Pijpers had the same French line as Nijboer and Willemze, but with 5…Be7. The most critical line seems to be 8.Nc3, but Lucas preferred going for the endgame. With 19…f4 Arthur got himself in some trouble, since the white rook became active. A natural improvement seems to be 19…a5 20.Ne2 h5. In the current position White is still enjoying his endgame edge.

17:16 Nijboer didn’t need to castle queenside to create problems for his opponent. Willemze failed to find 15…0-0 16.Qe2 Bd4! with a reasonable position. Instead, he castled queenside himself, but that’s more than his position could handle. So Nijboer now on 2 out of 2.

18:23 Danny de Ruiter had excellent chances against Sabino Brunello today. After 24.h3 (see diagram) the grandmaster playing Black was living from his increment.

De Ruiter-Brunello after 24.h3

Here Brunello blundered a piece with 24…Ne5 25.Qxe4 Qxh3, since here White can simply go 26.Qb7 Ng4 27.Nf3. The remainder of the game was pretty random, with De Ruiter making the final mistake. The Dutchman got a bit too distracted by his opponent’s time trouble.

18:43 Arthur Pijpers managed to hold his endgame versus Lucas van Foreest to a draw. White could not go 28.hxg3 because of 28…Rg6 29.Rxh7 f5. Therefore, strong would have been a waiting move like 27.b3 with the idea 27…Bd8 28.g3.

18:54 De Ruiter-Brunello was not the only chaotic game of the round. Moulthun Ly was winning for quite a while against Stef Soors, but at some point lost track and was even lost for a few moves. Of course the game was eventually drawn.

19:10 Danish grandmaster Lars Schandorff beat Anne Haast in the last game to finish today. The critical position arose after 25 moves:

Haast-Schandorff after 25…Rae8

Here Anne should have taken on d6 to eliminate Black’s strong dark squared bishop. When she failed to do so, Black quickly got the upper hand.


Batavia 2016 Round 1

Photo: Lennart Ootes

Photo: Lennart Ootes

12:16 The 8th Batavia chess tournament was opened last night with a blitz tournament, which gives us following first round pairings:

Nijboer-Van Foreest
Schandorff-De Ruiter

14:09 The first round has started! We have some cool openings, including two King’s Indians, a Sicilian Taimanov and a Caro-Kann. Interestingly, Friso Nijboer repeats the 1.f4 he played against Lucas van Foreest in the blitz last night. Yesterday Lucas played 1…Nh6, today he opts for 1…b6.

14:51 Today’s top pairing is Brunello-Pijpers. Sabino convincingly won the blitz tournament last night with 8 out of 9 and is of course the number one seed. Arthur is the highest rated Dutchman playing for a GM norm. His blitz tournament didn’t go well at all, so this first round encounter is a very serious test. Fortunately for the Dutch fans, Arthur did his homework and seems to have a reasonable position from a King’s Indian Averbakh variation. Black has exchanged two pair of minor pieces, which should ease his task. Still some accuracy is needed though.

15:08 Nijboer-Van Foreest reached a funny symmetrical position after 7 moves, with all pieces and pawns still on the board. Friso played the first new move with 8.a3. Lucas has just played the central pawn thrust 8…d5, the position is becoming sharp now.

15:17 Danny de Ruiter did not play the optimal line for Black in the King’s Indian, versus Lars Schandorff’s double fianchetto variation, and is now under pressure. All grandmasters are playing White today and their opponents will surely feel this.

15:48 Stef Soors managed to equalize with his solid Caro-Kann, but knowing Thomas Willemze, the game is only just starting.

16:07 Moulthun Ly and Anne Haast took the game from a Sicilian Taimanov to a Classical Scheveningen. Whereas the main line runs 11…Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5, Anne went for 11…Na5. In the next few moves White managed to get the initiative.

16:32 It looks like Arthur Pijpers has found a concrete way to equalize the game versus Sabino Brunello. His 17…Ne5 may not have been necessary, but he found some good moves later on. A good job by the Dutchman so far.

16:38 Lucas van Foreest won the opening battle versus Friso Nijboer, since with 12…Ng4! he could have grabbed the initiative. In the current position after 17.Bxf1, White seems to be more comfortable, but with Nijboer’s time trouble looming, it’s anyone’s game.

16:48 The third player taking on a GM with Black today, Danny de Ruiter, is also still fully in the game. Lars Schandorff must have disliked some of the complications following 15.Qe3, but after the exchange of queens the game was level. Black could have just exchanged the final pair of rooks with 21…Rxd1. The current position is very equal, and while I’m typing this, the players have agreed to a draw.

17:24 From the equal position after the opening, Thomas Willemze managed to get a powerful attack against Stef Soors. It seems that White’s position was a bit easier to play anyway. Apparently, the best way for Black was 19…g5 20.h6 Re6. After 25 moves White was winning:

Willemze-Soors after 25…Kh8

Here White has many ways to win (e.g. 26.Nh6), although none of them is very trivial. With 26.Rxd7? bxa3 Willemze spoiled the win, but after 27.Qd2? axb2 he is actually mated himself and had to resign. What a dramatic finish.

17:33 Friso Nijboer managed to survive his time trouble and beat Lucas van Foreest. The young Dutchman played an inspired double positional pawn sacrifice, leading to the following position:

Nijboer-Van Foreest after 20.dxe6

Here the immediate 20…Bd5!, preventing the white rook from coming to a2, would have given Black full compensation. Judging from the time used, it seems that Lucas was a bit too eager to profit from Friso being low on time. With a temporary piece sacrifice the Amsterdam grandmaster neutralised Black’s activity and got his central pawns rolling.

17:42 Arthur Pijpers skillfully kept the draw against Sabino Brunello. The game was drawn with only two kings left on the board.

18:04 That leaves us with the final game today: Ly-Haast. The Dutch women champion has been under pressure for most of the game, but fought hard and had a reasonable position at some point. After 33…Bxe2 34.Qxe2 Ng6 Black seems to have enough compensation for the pawn. The current endgame position is most likely winning for the candidate grandmaster from Australia.

Batavia Challengers – selected by Yochanan Afek

Endgame composition GM Yochanan Afek, who is based in Amsterdam, has selected ten endgame studies to solve, for the fans of the Batavia tournament. You can try to solve them all weekend long. On Monday evening, at 18:00 local time, Yochanan will visit Café Batavia and present the ten solutions. Feel free to stop by, have a drink and enjoy the beauty of these studies. And of course you’ll be able to have a look at the grandmasters playing.

More on Yochanan:


White to draw



White to win



White to draw



White to win



White to win



White to win



White to draw



White to win



White to draw



White to draw


8th Batavia Chess Tournament: February 18th – 28th

Batavia-Amsterdam-Schaaktoernooi-2016 afficheThe 8th Batavia Chess Tournament takes place from Thursday, February 18th to Sunday, February 28th, 2016 in Café Batavia 1920, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The games will start each day at 14:00 hrs. The final round starts at 12.00 hrs. Wednesday, February 24th is a rest day.

Admission to the playing hall in Cafe Batavia is free.
The cafe is located opposite the Amsterdam Central Station, in the direction of Zeedijk, left to the St. Nicholas church, at Prins Hendrikkade 85.

The Batavia Chess Tournament is a 10-player all-play-all event. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 30 minutes for all remaining moves with 30 seconds per move added from the start.
The games are FIDE rated and gives players the opportunity to earn grandmaster and international master norms.


1. GM Sabino Brunello (2562) ITA
2. GM Friso Nijboer (2545) NED
3. GM Lars Schandorff (2500) DEN
4. IM Moulthun Ly (2480) AUS
5. IM Arthur Pijpers (2476) NED
6. IM Thomas Willemze (2418) NED
7. IM Stef Soors (2390) BEL
8. WGM Anne Haast (2381) NED
9. Lucas van Foreest (2350) NED
10. FM Danny de Ruiter (2312) NED

Prize Fund

1st place: €500
2nd place: €300
3rd place: €200

Blitz – 1st place: €100

The brilliancy prize of €150 for the best game and the best endgame prize of €150 are made possible by de Melker & Partners (dMP). The jury consists of IMs Manuel Bosboom and Merijn van Delft.





Title norms

The requirement for a GM norm is 6½ points. An IM-norm is 4½ points.
(WGM Anne Haast needs 5 points for an IM-norm, however she has already obtained the necessary norm results.)

Batavia Blitz & Opening

On Thursday February 18th at 20.00 hrs the participants of the Batavia Chess Tournament will play a blitz tournament to determine the color distribution for the main event. The Blitz event is open for audience in Café Batavia, while the games can be followed live via this website as well.

Format: 10-player single round robin.
Rate of play: 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move.
First prize: €100.
Tiebreak: 1. Mutual games; 2. SB points; 3. Most blacks; 4. Most wins; 5. Most wins with black; 6. Drawing of lots.
The final ranking of the Blitz determines the starting numbers of the main event. Which means, the winner of the Blitz has starting number 5 in the main event, number 2 has starting number 4, etc. and number 6 gets starting number 10, number 7 starting number 9, etc.

The opening of the 8th Batavia Chess Tournament will also take place on Thursday February 18th, at 19.00 hrs.


Tournament director: Merijn van Delft
Cafe Batavia: Peter Tames
Chief Arbiter: Arno Eliëns

Brilliancy prize won by Etienne Goudriaan

The jury had a tough time deciding on who gets the brilliancy prize, since there were several nice candidates. Lars Ootes was close to winning it in the last round, but failed to crown his attack.

Eventually, Anish Giri voted for Robby Kevlishvili’s brilliant defence against Jorden van Foreest. Manuel Bosboom and I voted for Etienne Goudriaan’s creative counterattack against Roland Schmaltz. So 2-1 in favour of Etienne Goudriaan, with a honorary mention for Robby Kevlishvili.

Here you find the analyses by the winner:


Roland Schmaltz and Etienne Goudriaan analysing their fascinating game

Report: Merijn van Delft


4th IM norm for Lars Ootes

With a score of 4.5 out of 9 Lars Ootes scored his 4th IM norm. Since one only needs three norms for the title, it wasn’t mentioned in the report yesterday, but let me congratulate Lars on a good tournament with entertaining chess! He only needs to get his rating over 2400 for the IM title, but that is most likely only a matter of time.

Lars Ootes 3e ronde

Lars Ootes