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.

Round 2 LIVE

Yesterday’s winners, David Arutinian and Max Warmerdam, happen to be playing eachother today, to decide who will be the early tournament leader. According to the new tournament format, we first have a blitz tiebreak, before the classical game. It’s very interesting to see what the effect of the tiebreak is on the classical game. A whole new set of dynamics, when it comes to opening choices, level of adrenaline and dealing with disappointing results.

Max Warmerdam beat David Arutinian with amazing ease in the tiebreak, scoring a clean 2-0. In the classical game though, it seems that David is determined to show who’s the grandmaster. With White he quickly grabbed space in the centre with e4 and f4, and we’re having a tense battle ahead.

Simon Williams also won the tiebreak with 2-0, against Jasel Lopez, but this could have easily gone differently:

Here Jasel completely dominated with Black, but Simon managed to swindle his way out. All games (including the tiebreaks) are broadcasted, can be replayed and downloaded from several sites, for instance at the monumental website The Week in Chess. In the classical game, Jasel seems to have quite a nice version of the isolated queen’s pawn with Black, with active pieces.

Felix Meissner is having a rough start in the tournament. Yesterday didn’t go too well and in the tiebreak today Arthur Pijpers won convincingly with 2-0. In the classical game Felix is playing more solidly and the position is equal at this point.

Stefan Kuipers beat Koen Leenhouts in the tiebreak with 1,5-0,5, saving a bad position with Black and winning a good attacking game with White. Interestingly, Koen played his usual Taimanov in the tiebreak, but switched to 1.e4 e5 in the classical game. Stefan went for his pet line in the Italian Game and bravely castled queenside, quite a risky approach.

John van der Wiel also won his tiebreak with 1,5-0,5 against Rick Lahaye, winning with White and saving a bad position with Black. Rick’s creative approach is paying off a bit better in the classical game, since his unusual move order in the opening eventually resulted in strong positional pressure.

Felix Meissner and Arthur Pijpers drew, as the position was liquidated to a completely level rook endgame.

Max Warmerdam got under pressure in the following position:

Interestingly, David Arutinian saw 32.Ng5 with the pretty point 32…Rg4 33.Rf8!!, but he missed the easier 32…Qe7 33.Rf6. Max survived the time trouble and drew.

Rick Lahaye continued very confidently from his promising position and beat John van der Wiel in only 31 moves. Both players are analysing for over an hour now, checking out all the subtleties of the position:

From left to right: Manuel Bosboom, Friso Nijboer, Rick Lahaye, Yuri Eijk, John van der Wiel.

Jasel Lopez displayed the same confidence as Rick, also converting his promising position against grandmaster opposition. An impressive performance by the Amsterdam based Aruban.

By far the most insane game of the tournament so far is between Stefan Kuipers and Koen Leenhouts:

This is just one crazy position from many. What’s more, Black was winning, then White was winning, then Black was winning and eventually White was winning. Total madness, recommended for further study. That’s it for today, see you tomorrow for round 3!

Round 1 LIVE

Welcome at the 11th edition of the Batavia tournament!

As we are trying three new things this year (Hand & Brain, new format, Stadsarchief), it is quite exciting to see how everything will work out. Last night the Hand & Brain tournament at the opening ceremony was well received. The amateur players teaming up with the professionals caused hilarious situations and created a great atmosphere. The winning team was Koen Leenhouts & Jos Teeuwen. A few hours ago we witnessed the first blitz tiebreak, which will be a daily recurring event, before the classical game. The players clearly had to get used to the new format and I’m sure tonight during dinner we’ll discuss this new experience. The classical game started ten minutes later than planned, because we had some minor problems with the live boards, but that is solved now. On Tuesday March 5th, we will play one round at a different venue, at the Stadsarchief, which is a brilliant location. At some point in the next days we will announce the special program we are putting together for the audience on Tuesday at the Stadsarchief.

Some players adapted quicker to the new tiebreak concept than others. Koen Leenhouts continued his winning streak from last night and convincingly beat Simon Williams 2-0. Simon lacked tactical alertness and blundered twice. John van der Wiel also convincingly beat Jasel Lopez with 2-0. John’s rating may be relatively low these days, he’s clearly still very strong. David Arutinian beat Rick Lahaye 1,5-0,5 in two very adventurous games. Max Warmerdam beat Felix Meissner 1,5-0,5 using a rather positional approach. Stefan Kuipers versus Arthur Pijpers was the only match ending 1-1 and thus reaching the armageddon stage. Both players dominated with White. In the armageddon game Arthur came out on top with Black. The tricky thing is that the increment starts only after move 60 in the armageddon game, so Arthur had to finish the game with only seconds on the clock, which he managed to do with amazing accuracy.

After a 15 minute break the players started their classical game. Koen Leenhouts and Simon Williams drew their game. Simon started with the funky Chigorin Defence, sacrificed a pawn and got rather vague compensation. “I tried to play it as safely as possible, but probably a bit too safe”, as Koen stated after the game.

Felix Meissner tried a very risky variation of the French Defence against Max Warmerdam, probably in order to avoid hardcore preparation, but this completely backfired. Max soon dominated on the dark squares and went on to win.

Stefan Kuipers also played the French Defence against Arthur Pijpers, but a much safer line, and gradually equalised. The queens came off and the moves were repeated. It was clear that both players were ready for battle, but this was the most natural outcome.

The game between David Arutinian and Rick Lahaye was not unlike their blitz tiebreak: very complicated and adventurous. “I certainly had the feeling that I had decent chances at various moments in the game, but at some point I lost control” is what Rick said, when I asked him about the game.

Jasel Lopez and John van der Wiel were the last ones to finish their game today. Jasel recovered very well from the tiebreak and managed to keep the grandmaster under pressure for the entire afternoon. John defended well and saved half a point in the endgame.

That’s it for today, tomorrow we’ll be back for round 2, pictures by Bas Beekhuizen and more. Follow Simon Williams and Jeroen van den Berg on Twitter for more impressions of the Batavia tournament.

Opening event: Hand & Brain

Tonight at 19:30 we all gather in Café Batavia for the official opening of the tournament at 20:00. After everyone has been introduced and the drawing of lots has taken place, we’ll play a Hand and Brain tournament. Eight of the Batavia participants are paired with eight sponsors/chess fans:

Hand & Brain teams
GM David Arutinian – Karel van Delft
IM Arthur Pijpers – Alexander Vos de Wael
IM Stefan Kuipers – Ichelle Dekker
IM Koen Leenhouts – Jos Teeuwen
Rick Lahaye – Jasper Dekker
GM John van der Wiel – Rob de Melker
FM Jasel Lopez – Bram van den Berg
FM Felix Meissner – John Wesselink

We play three rounds KO, after which we should have a winning team! We plan to be finished at 22:00, since the players will have to focus on the first round tomorrow.

11th dMP Batavia Chess Tournament info

The 11th dMP Batavia Chess Tournament takes place from Thursday, February 28nd to Sunday, March 10th, 2019 in Café Batavia 1920, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 10-player all-play-all tournament features a new playing format (more info below: updated February 26th!).

The blitz games will start at 13:00 hrs and the classical starts at 14.00 hrs, except for rounds 5 and 9, when the blitz games start at 12.00 hrs and the classical at 13.00 hrs. On Tuesday, March 5th the games will be played in the Stadsarchief Amsterdam. Wednesday, March 6th 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 of the St. Nicholas church, at Prins Hendrikkade 85.

The blitz games and classical games are FIDE rated and gives players the opportunity to earn Grandmaster and International master norms.


1 GM David Arutinian (GEO) 2555
2 IM Arthur Pijpers 2482
3 GM Simon Williams (ENG) 2471
4 IM Stefan Kuipers 2455
5 IM Max Warmerdam 2448
6 IM Koen Leenhouts 2447
7 Rick Lahaye 2414
8 FM Felix Meissner (GER) 2397
9 GM John van der Wiel 2391
10 FM Jasel Lopez (ARU) 2390

Prize Fund

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

Combined score according to the new playing format:
1st place: €150
2nd place: €100
3rd place: €50

There is a brilliancy prize of €150 for the best game and a best endgame prize of €150.

New playing format

After 10 editions with a classical Round Robin tournament, the 11th Batavia Chess Tournament will try a new innovative tournament format. In the past few years there has been quite some discussion about the super strong Round Robin events (Sinquefield Cup, Norway Chess etc), which feature a high drawing percentage and sometimes a lack of fighting chess. Although the Batavia Tournament has never faced these issues, we are excited to try a new format that might inspire other Round Robin tournaments.

Instead of one classical game per day, we will play a blitz tiebreak first followed by a classical game. The classical games will of course be most important, determining our tournament winner and the distribution of the main prize fund (1st €500, 2nd €300 and 3rd €200). Furthermore, the classical score will count for IM and GM norms (with special permission of the FIDE Qualification Commission for a one time experiment with this format).

However, we will have extra prizes (1st €150, 2nd €100 and 3rd €50) for the combined scores of the classical games and tiebreaks, based on the below score format:
– The winner of the classical game will get 2 points.
– The loser of the classical game will get 0 points.
– Only in case of a draw in the classical game, we will look at the tiebreak.
— The winner of the tiebreak will get 1 point (which is still half of a classical win).
— The loser of the tiebreak will get only 0.5 point.

What does each round look like?
– 13.00: blitz game 1 – Player B vs Player A (5 minutes + 3 seconds increment)
– 13.15: blitz game 2 – Player A vs Player B (5 minutes + 3 seconds increment)
– 13.30: (in case of a tie) armageddon – Player B vs Player A. White has 5 minutes, black has 4 minutes, with a 3 second increment after move 60. Black has draw odds.
– 14.00: classical game –  Player A vs Player B (40 moves in 90 minutes plus 30 minutes for all remaining moves with 30 seconds per move from move 1)

Rounds 5 and 9 will start one hour earlier.

The classical games and blitz games will be rated for FIDE ratings. Only the classical score will count for IM and GM norms.

Title norms

The requirement for a GM norm is 6½ points in the classical games. An IM-norm is probably 5 points for Rick Lahaye and 4.5 points for Jasel Lopez and Felix Meissner.

Opening Ceremony: Hand and Brain

On Thursday February 28th at 20.00 hrs the participants of the Batavia Chess Tournament will team up with amateurs in a Hand and Brain Tournament. Three amateurs will be invited, but the other five spots are open for auction. The money raised with the auction will support the Batavia Chess Tournament. Do you want to participate in the Hand and Brain? Send your bid to Merijn van Delft ( and state if you want to bid publicly or anonymous. The five highest bids will be published on this website.

The drawing of lots for the main tournament will also take place during the opening ceremony.


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

Bas de Melker (58) overleden

Het verdrietige nieuws heeft ons bereikt dat Bas de Melker afgelopen vrijdag (16 november) is overleden. Hij was al geruime tijd ziek, maar hij bleef actief en zijn overlijden kwam als een schok. Bas was een groot schaakliefhebber en heeft jarenlang het schaken in de regio Amsterdam op allerlei manieren ondersteund. Bijna vanzelfsprekend raakte hij betrokken bij het Batavia toernooi. Zijn bedrijf ( werd sponsor van het toernooi, maar het begon destijds met zijn vraag: waarom hebben we eigenlijk geen prijs voor de beste partij? Mede dankzij Bas draait het bij het Batavia toernooi niet alleen om ratingpunten en titelnormen, maar staat de inhoud centraal. Passie voor de sport en kansen bieden aan jonge mensen is wat ons verbond. We hielden elkaar via korte berichtjes op de hoogte en waren het altijd snel eens. Een paar weken geleden schreef Bas nog een lange mail om dingen te regelen voor het toernooi. We zijn Bas dankbaar voor alles wat hij voor het schaken heeft betekend en bewaren warme herinneringen aan de man die oog had voor zijn medemens.

Merijn van Delft, namens de toernooiorganisatie

Round 9 LIVE

The Dutch talents: Robby Kevlishvili, Thomas Beerdsen and Liam Vrolijk Photo: Harry Gielen

Welcome at the last round of the tenth edition of the dMP Batavia Amsterdam Chess Tournament! Grandmaster norms are no longer possible, but there is still a lot at stake. Alexandr Fier and Ivan Sokolov are playing for tournament victory. Miguel Santos Ruiz, Thomas Beerdsen and Robby Kevlishvili are fighting for third place. Last but not least, everyone is still battling for the best game and best endgame prizes. Loek van Wely, Zhaoqin Peng and yours truly are keeping a close eye on the games. The tournament standings before the last round:

Alexandr Fier went for the sideline 4.g3 against the Nimzo-Indian, but Miguel Santos Ruiz wasn’t impressed and replied with the very solid 7…c6 and 8…b6.

Here 10.cxd5 was a positional mistake (keeping the tension with 10.Nd2 looks better, since Black cannot really take on c4). After that Black was comfortable at least, and the players agreed to a draw a few moves later.

At least shared first: Alexandr Fier Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

Ivan Sokolov’s 5…Ba5 in the opening is a rare move, that he played once before in 2011. Alina Kashlinskaya reacted well initially, but instead of the calm 9.Nf3, the immediate 9.c4 looks like White’s best try for an edge. Black could have equalized with 12…dxc4 13.Bxc4 Be6, but it seems that the grandmaster is looking for ways to keep as much tension in the position as possible, since he needs a win to share first place in the tournament.

Alina is now thinking in this position. The tactics after the sharp 17.Bd4 seem to favour White, after all other moves the position is about equal.

Friso Nijboer played the Pirc Defence against Anna Zatonskih:

Here Anna should have played the natural 11.Bh6 with the idea 11…Nxd3 12.cxd3 and White’s position looks somewhat easier to play. Her 11.Be2 allowed 11…c5 and now Black’s position is easier to play.

Alina found the right moves and possibly could have gotten something significant with 22.d5. After 22.Rab1 b6, as played in the game, the position looks about balanced:

The youngsters are getting inspired by Manuel Bosboom:

Here Thomas Beerdsen went for the exchange sacrifice 16…Rxf3 against Liam Vrolijk, which was far from forced, but certainly entertaining. The position is very tense right now.

Robby Kevlishvili has clearly adopted to the way Manuel Bosboom is playing. He played a very clever waiting strategy leading to the following position:

Here Manuel’s attacking move 26.h4 is a positional mistake, allowing 26…h5! and now Robby is clearly better.

The tournament is spoiled with prominent visitors today: John van der Wiel, Hans Ree and Yasser Seirawan all just arrived to enjoy their Sunday afternoon at Café Batavia.

Apart from 32…Bxf4 allowing the intermediate 33.Nxf7, which was missed by both players, Robby Kevlishvili won a convincing game against Manuel Bosboom. That means a 0 out of 4 finish against the four youngsters for Manuel, but the local chess artist still is the main candidate for the special game prizes.

Manuel Bosboom Photo: Harry Gielen

Liam Vrolijk was better in the final position against Thomas Beerdsen, but the situation on the clock worried him, therefore a draw was agreed. That means Miguel Santos Ruiz and Robby Kevlishvili are sharing third and fourth place.

Alina Kashlinskaya and Ivan Sokolov agreed to a draw in the rook endgame, which means that Alexandr Fier is the sole tournament winner!

Guess what Friso Nijboer played in the following position with Black against Anna Zatonskih:

The position is about equal by now, they are battling it out until the very end. I’m going to close the blog now and start preparing the prize giving. I hope everyone enjoyed the event, see you next year!

Round 8 LIVE

Keizersgracht Amsterdam 2018 Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

While many people are ice skating on the canals in Amsterdam, the dMP Batavia tournament is entering the final stage. The standings at the top are:
1 Fier 5.5
2 Sokolov 5
3 Santos Ruiz 4
All other players are on 3 or 2.5, so the field is very tight. Only Miguel Santos Ruiz still has chances for a GM norm and needs to score 2 out of 2.

The first action of today is taking place in the game between Robby Kevlishvili and Alina Kashlinskaya. The game started as sharp Anti-Berlin with White castling kingside and Black castling queenside:

Here Robby played the testing 11.g4 and Alina replied with the equally critical piece sacrifice 11…Nxg4. Objectively this may favour White, but the position is so complicated that anything can happen in a practical game.

A few moves later the following position was reached:

Here Black can get enough play for the piece with 16…Qe6 or 16…g5, but instead Alina went for 16…Rd6, which looks equally dangerous, but is tactically flawed. Robby has been thinking for 20 minutes now, trying to find his way through the complications.

Two beautiful quotes from the Dutch newspapers (google translate has reasonable translations):
“In café Batavia Amsterdam schaken ze zonder vrees en met oplossingen die gewone stervelingen niet snel zien” (Gert Ligterink in De Volkskrant, March 2)
“Schaken in een café moet je vergelijken met schaatsen op natuurijs: de omstandigheden zijn misschien niet ideaal, maar eigenlijk is er niets mooiers” (Max Pam in Het Parool, March 3)

Friso Nijboer versus Alexandr Fier was a positional version of the Caro-Kann Advance Variation, in which White tends to be a bit better, but Black is very solid:

Here 23.Nb3 Rc8 24.Qf2 was probably the way to keep some pressure. In the game the knights were exchanged and a draw was agreed.

Grandmaster alert: Jorden van Foreest has arrived and is now blitzing in the bar. Another grandmaster just remarked: “Only Bosboom can have a knight on b2”:

Robby Kevlishvili calculated everything correctly until the end and won.

Anna Zatonskih played an impressive game today:

Playing with Black against Ivan Sokolov really isn’t a joke, but in this position Anna has equalized and she managed to keep the balance until the end, so the players agreed to a draw a few moments ago.

Miguel Santos Ruiz managed to keep the bishop pair from the opening against Liam Vrolijk and is now nursing his edge in the endgame:

Miguel Santos Ruiz Photo: Bas Beekhuizen

Thomas Beerdsen won against Manuel Bosboom. We just checked the game, Black should have played 18…b4 first and only then g5. The immediate 18…g5 left White on top and the young IM from Apeldoorn converted his advantage convincingly.

Liam Vrolijk managed to keep a draw against Miguel Santos Ruiz, so no grandmaster norms this year. But Café Batavia is packed with chess players right now, all having a great time. See you tomorrow, for the last round, which starts at 12:00!