21 t/m 30 December 2019

Chess Festival Groningen

Nederlands Nederlands


Dear chess fan. Due to the launch of our new tournament webpage, we have decided to postpone the tournament entries for a few weeks. We'll have the entry form up before the end of September.

Column # 7 - Short story of Anton & Short

The executives of chess have the unanimous opinion that a top GM should appear “suited up” at the chessboard (get suited or get booted!). And absolutely not in shorts. But who appeared in shorts for the first time? None other than the current FIDE vice-president Nigel Short


Column # 6 - Don Juan y las mujeres

Because almost nobody knows my blogs at the Groninger Combinatie, I will tell you all about them. In my blogs I step in the shoes of various characters, to show their specific visions. Here and now as well, as Don Juan Jamon, who puts the female beauties in the spotlight.


But let me show you first of all what other experts have to say on this theme. In 1968 GM Hein Donner wrote an article in the women's magazine Avenue, in which he stated, that women can not play chess. And you know what?

Christmas spirit: seven players share first after round 5

Today saw the fifth round in Groningen, and slowly but surely it's becoming clear who will be fighting for the prize money. On board one GM Tiviakov obtained a small plus out of the opening, which he ended up taking all the way to the endgame. 'Tivi' got some winning chances after his creative 39... g5 thanks to his passed pawn and his bishop pair. The following position arose after 50. Nd7


The Dutch GM played 50... b3?!, which resulted in a drawn ending after 51. Nf6+ Kh8 52. h5. Instead, Tiviakov could have tried 50... Kg7 to avoid the previously mentioned drawn ending.



Board two saw a quick draw between IM Vrolijk and GM Ernst. The men from Rotterdam and Groningen agreed to split the point after move 15. Both were uncertain of the structure and the way the game would continue, so they drew in order to both still keep some chances for the prize money. IM Schoppen got the black pieces against GM Plat. Much like board one, these players also found themselves in an ending with opposite coloured bisshops. They aren't always draws, but today they were.

GM Roeland Pruijssers hasn't quite hit the pace yet. 'A draw last round, today I played extremely badly' as the Dutch grandmaster himself stated. Out of a French opening, Pruissers sacrificed two pawns, which he never saw back. He had to resign the game after 42 moves.


GM Alexey Kislinsky had a great game against GM Gleizerov. 'The Count', as Gleizerov is known, was outplayed in a Dzindhi-Indian in a slow maneuvering game. Not really noteworthy, but nonetheless important: GM Mikhal Krasenkow scored a straightforward win on FM Tobias Kabos

Last but not least: a segment of Joris Kokje's game against Lahayere.


We have already seen that Kokje is capable of doing wonderful things on a chessboard, but sometimes he does go astray. Black has a draw in reach after 55... Ke5 or 55... Kf5. Instead, Kokje went for 55... h5? which was answered by the straightforward 56. Kf4! The black king was eventually forced backwards without being able to achieve the exchange of some pawns. With now seven players on four points, we're seeing a mass brawl for the first place

Of course, the attention of the spectators is often focused on the A-group of the University match starting tomorrow. Which is justified, however the Compact tournament does also have a very strong field this year. Playing in the five round Swiss tournament are not only IM Stefan Beukema, but also FM Arno Bezemer and FM Siem van Dael. Ahead of 132 other players is IM Beukema, who won against Tim Grutter. Second seed Beukema also won against Murk Viersma, however the other FM, Siem van Dael, lost half a point against Edim Salihbegovic. He was lucky to get a draw in this game and will be looking to improve on his play tomorrow. 

In group B, it is becoming more likely that the first prize will go to one of the two favourites on paper: Ruben Slagter and Pieter Tromp. Of course, it is dangerous to predict events ahead of time, but they seem to be playing on a consistently slightly higher level than the other players. 

And finally, tomorrow (Thursday), the University Challenge between Ivan Sokolov and Lucas van Foreest will start, in what is promising to become a tight match with a lot of fireworks on the board. 

- Benno de Jongh & Renze Rietveld -
Translation: Jorik Jonker
Photo: Bart Beijer



Open Groningen Championship Fischer Random

Fed up with preparing long theoretical lines? Well, just play some blitz chess then in the great atmosphere of the chess bar Proeflokaal Hooghoudt. For fun, yes indeed, but with some serious prizes too! Wednesday the 26th, it's time for the first edition of the Open Groningen Championship Fischer Random. Time to sober up a little bit, so no prices in liquor form, but in cash!  

1st price € 75, 2nd price € 50 and 3rd price € 25.
7 minutes per game per person, 9 rounds Swiss
Start at 20:30, free entrance

The positions are only decided a moment before every round. Fischer Random Chess is also often refered at as Chess 960, because of the no less than 960 possible starting positions. For more information about the rules, for example on how to castle, you can check out the wikipedia-page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960

Get there in time, before 20:15, and let the barstaff know you want to play! Or give Maarten Roorda a call or a message on whats'app.

Maarten Roorda: 06 289 79 404 (0031 6 289 79 404)
Proeflokaal Hooghoudt 
Zuiderdiep 61



Column # 5 - God’s punishment: Thy will be done!

On a very hot summer day in 2004 the jumbo-sized BMW of local patron Kees Eldering, was ready to leave for the Jacobijner church in Leeuwarden. In the boot of the car a crate Buxton mineral water. If you race at illegal speed in that direction, the water in the radiator can start boiling and you should not fill it up with any ordinary tap water. The diva-like works of art created the Bayeriische Motor Werke would hate that. So, after a photo shoot with his girlfriend Kees was off to Leeuwarden.

Column # 4 - Terror Jaap and the Grandmasters

Ten years ago De Gouden Kooi (The Golden Cage) appeared on Dutch TV and was by far the most disgusting program ever. Fuck the spiritual and physical welfare of the residents of a luxurious residence in Eemnes, that is what media magnate John de Mol most have thought. The cameras followed the activities of these lawless geezers 24 hours a day. They went for insults, violence and even rape. With only one purpose, to eliminate the other participants and get the big cash prize. Questions were asked by the later Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, in those days only a plush filler and begrudging a welfare mother making some money, because her crying children were shown on tv. The viewing figures reached unprecedented heights, all because Terror Jaap, worst among equals so to speak, was spinning round in his own vomit, and by doing more of that he became the winner.


Column # 3 - Harassed by filthy looks…

Just before the turn of the century (last Millennium indeed) the chess festival was still called “Chess Tournament Groningen.” In the 1999 edition there was also a women’s invitation group. To the great displeasure of the poor German chess player Walther B. (who figured previously in this column), whose irritation was clear when he phoned the competition organizers: Die Damen aus der Invitationsgruppe glotzen mich immer so an. Sollten Sie mich noch einmal auf solche enervierende Weise anstarren, mussen Sie bestraft werden. Ich pladiere fur ein Verlustpunkt! [roughly: the ladies in the invitation group are staring at me the whole time (“Harassed by filthy looks!”). If they do it again, I want them to forfeit their games in accordance with the regulations!

Tough battles in the third round

The third round of the Chess Festival Groningen was a tough one. Some ended in a draw, some in a result, but almost all games were hard fought battles. 

Column # 2 - That guy cannot be trusted…

In 1979 IM Gert Ligterink became chess champion of the Netherlands. He beat all the big guns of the day, GMs like Jan Timman, Hein Donner en Hans Ree, and often in grand style. Big joy over here, front page news in the northern newspapers.


No crazy stuff on first day

The 56th edition of the Chess Festival Groningen is on her way! The first day was a rather quiet one, without many surprises. Remarkable results only really on the first two boards, GM Michal Krasenkow – Ruud van Meegen and FM Simet – GM Tiviakov, both ended in a draw.

After Chess, lots of chess and lots of fun!

Chess Festival Groningen already had it's kick-off! And because we also believe in having fun, we organize the now traditional After Chess Program in chess bar Proeflokaal Hooghoudt, Zuiderdiep 61, Groningen. If you want to join one of the events of the After Chess Program, come to the bar (before 20:15), or you can also call Maarten Roorda: 06 289 79 404 (0031 6 289 79 404), preferably before 20:00.

Saturday the 22th
At 20:30 we start with Ultimate Moves. Two teams will take place. They both get 5 minutes with 10 seconds increment. Every 5 moves another team member takes place at the board. Trashtalk is very much appreciated! Everyone can join the game! Kees Eldering en Mika (bartender) will start the game! These people are assured of a place in a team: Few places free. Please join! Get in on time and let the barstaff know you want to play!

Immediately afterwards we play Dutch Bughouse. You play in duos. It's like normal bughouse, only a bit different. Wikipedia has a good game manual. Maximum of 20 players, prices in liqorform.

Because there are two rounds to play on the chessfestival coming sunday, the cafe won’t organize any particular games. But of course, feel free to pop in, drink a beer, analyze your games, play blitz or sing silent night.

Monday the 24th
We’ll play Hands & Brains. Again played in duos. Just come along, preferably before eight, and let us know you want to play, also when you don’t have a partner. There'll be plenty of others on the search! Starts at 20:30, maximum of 30 players. Prices in liqorform.

25th of december. Merry Xmas! Sorry, cafe is closed.

Wednesday the 26th 
Fisher Random. The first edition of the Open Groningen Championship Fischer Random, to be precise.  Time to sober up a little bit, so no prices in liquor form, but in cash! 1st price € 75, 2nd price € 50 and 3rd price € 25. 7 minutes per person. Get in on time, before 20:00, and let the barstaff know you want to play! Or give Maarten Roorda a call or a whats'app. 

Column # 1 - Dead Smokers Society

The days when cigarette advertisements constantly appeared in the cinema -- and smoking was allowed -- are long gone. Where is the Marlboro man, who lit his cigarette with a glowing branding iron? Where are the globe-trotters, who understood that Peter Stuyvesant is the international passport to smoking pleasure? Banished to Siberia?


That happened to Viktor Korchnoi in 1974 in Odessa, when he won a candidates match against Tigran Petrosian? He did not leave Odessa in a plane. In those days the steward lit your cigarette for you. No, not at all, Viktor the Terrible had to make do with the train, like ordinary mortals

Meet the players - Michal Krasenkow

Michal Krasenkow is a Polish Grandmaster, who's active in quite some chess related fields: coaching, writing and of course as a player. The Russian born Krasenkow also is a master in applied mathematics. As a trainer he worked for youth prodigies, countries as Poland and Turkey, and even Viswanathan Anand. He is a prolific chess author and an opening expert of e.g. the King's Indian, the Sveshnikov, and the Open Spanish. Fun fact: another of his main contributions to theory is a line in the English Opening that has no universally accepted name, but is most of the time referred at as the Groningen Attack: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.g4!?. Krasenkow also insists on the name Groningen Attack, because it was first played at the FIDE World Championship in Groningen (1997), first in the play-off (rapid) game Zviagintsev-Benjamin, and on the next day in Krasenkow's classical game against Gildardo Garcia. It's a line that's adopted by many of the world's elite ever since, e.g. Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen. Krasenkow won many tournaments, a list too long to mention here, mostly in the aggressive, attacking style his chess is known for. However, he calls his best result the 5th round in the already mentioned, extremely strong World Championship in Groningen. Ever since he often competes here in Groningen, together with his wife Ilena Krasenkova.


If you wouldn't play chess, in what sport you would (want to) be a professional? And of all professions?
I can't imagine myself a professional in any other sport :-). Of other professions - perhaps I could be a historian.

According to you, how big is the factor luck in chess?
I think as big as in the life as a whole.

Announcements from the arbiters

Considering the low number of entries in the C-group, the arbiters and tournament organizers have decided to merge the B- and C-group. We'll keep a separate prize fund for the C-participants.

If you have any questions concerning entry, pairings or bye's, please contact arbiter.chessfestival@gmail.com

Meet the Players - Ivan Sokolov

Ivan Sokolov is one of those flamboyant characters that tournaments are happy to welcome. He likes to stir things up, both on and off the board. Yes indeed, he still loves the game very much and still likes to be active as a player. But he has no real ambitions anymore on the board, he says. Some 30 to 40 games and several rapid tournaments a year will hunger the needs of one of the true attacking players of the game. Off the board, it's a different story. Sokolov just started as the vice-president of the European Chess Union. He has various clear plans on how to improve chess on the 'old continent'. He also works as a publishing program advisor and a writer at Thinkers Publishing and owns a video- and e-books publishing company named chesscastle.eu. In the last couple of years Sokolov wrote three middlegame books and two e-books. And he's done a lot of commentary, amonst others for the Olympiad and Tata Steel Chess. Last but not least the Dutchman with a Bosnian background is active as a trainer, moslty youth. Amongst his students was Lucas van Foreest, his opponent in his next big chess match, the University Challenge here in Groningen, a city he knows very well.


If you wouldn't play chess, in what sport you would (want to) be a professional? And of all professions? ​
​I like ​football, basketball, and boxing... But liking it and having the ability/talent to do it is not quite the same thing. ​If we suppose I was not a chess player (and also not in sports), I probably have had interest in financial markets.

According to you, how big is the factor luck in chess?
In chess, sports or life - you create your luck!

We present our new columnist!

We proudly present our new columnist: Jacques Jambon is not only a chessplayer but also erstwhile reporter for the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (a northern newspaper), anarchistic enemy of the state, goal- and, barkeeper, poet,-fashion icon, (the list goes on). He neither denies nor confirms (at very possible opportunity) being responsible for the smoke bomb on 10th of March 1966, thrown to the golden coach at the wedding of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus. As Jaciommo Prociutto he is a photographer of chessplayers and beautiful girls. And what he does under his nickname Jack Spam, nobody knows.


Jambon will produce an image column on a daily basis during the Chess Festival, where text and pictures will give you a surprising vision of the chess world, in his own words and through the eyes of a person who has seen it all (and may make you feel the same). He does not sit on the fence, run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. What he will do is talk endlessly about the past, like smoking when it was allowed, even at the chessboard… And things to come, such as why tournament director Koen Lambrechts will quit. Icons like Karpov, Tal, Korchnoi and many others will be reviewed. He manages to combine a romantic style with an eye for the painful truth about that twilight world, where grandmasters and patzers meet.

Important to know: the reflections of Jambon are not automatically shared by the tournament organization. The organizers tried their very best to contact the photographers and ask permission for using their pictures. If necessary, please contact us.

Everyday we present a column of Jambon in Dutch and English, 11.30 AM on this website. 

The organisation of the Chess Festival Groningen

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Playing Venue

Sportcentrum RUG & Hanze
Blauwborgje 16, 9747 AC Groningen


There is no official tournament hotel. Of course the organizers are more than willing to give advice or answer questions about accommodation. Our sponsor has varying offers and actions and can be found via www.hotels.nl.

Tournament Entry

Opens on September 1st.

Tournament Regulations

Download the Tournament Regulations.


Bankwire the entry fee, including name(s) of participant(s) to:
NL26 INGB 0007 1113 01 attn. Stichting Schaakfestival Groningen.


ING Bank N.V.
Foreign Operations
PO Box 1800
1000 BV Amsterdam


Tournament director: Koen Lambrechts
Tel: +31 (0)6 17650767

Questions about the pairings? Email: arbiter.chessfestival@gmail.com

Chess Festival Groningen 2019
DateOpen Tournament A, B, C4-person TounamentCompactStudent TournamentYouth Grand PrixUniversity ChallengeCommentaryAfter Chess
21-12-2019Round 1
22-12-2019Round 2Round 1
23-12-2019Round 3Round 2Will follow
24-12-2019Round 4Round 3
25-12-2019Merry Christmas!
26-12-2019Round 5Round 1
27-12-2019Round 6Round 2
28-12-2019Round 7Round 3Will follow
29-12-2019Round 8Round 4
30-12-2019Round 9Round 5

Open A (>2000)

Prize fund: > € 6000,-
First prize: € 1800,-
First prize women: € 400,-
Entry fee before 15th of December: € 64,-
Entry fee after 15th of December (Only in cash on registration): €70,-
GM's, IM's and WGM's free.

Open B (<2100 en >1600)

Prize fund: € 1500,-
Entry fee before 15th of December: € 64,-
Entry fee after 15th of December (Only in cash on registration): €70,-

Open C (<1700)

Prize fund: € 750,-
Entry fee before 15th of December: € 64,-
Entry fee after 15th of December (Only in cash on registration): €70,-

The Open A, B and C will play a 9 round Swiss tournament.
In case of insufficient participation we reserve the right to merge groups B and C.


In Open A a bye (half a point) is possible in one of the rounds 1, 2, 3. In Open B and Open C a bye (half a point) is possible in one of the rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Please request this bye on your entry form under 'Questions'. Absence in a later round scores 0 points, but is allowed if noted before the pairing.

Playing schedule

21 December 11.00 – 12.00 hrs Registration
21 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 1
22 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 2
23 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 3
24 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 4
25 December   Rest day
26 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 5
27 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 6
28 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 7
29 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 8
30 December 11.00 – 17.00 hrs Round 9
30 December ± 18.00 hrs Prizegiving ceremony

Time control: 40 moves in 90 minutes + 30 minutes for the remainder of the game + an increment of 30 seconds per move from move 1.

Groups of 4, based on rating. Requests not to be play in the same group can be send to info@chessfestival.nl

Prize fund each group: € 45,-
Entry fee: € 15,-

Playing schedule

22 December 11.00 – 12.00 hrs Registration
22 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 1
23 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 2
24 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 3
  Followed by prizegiving ceremony

Time control: 40 moves in 90 minutes + 30 minutes for the remainder of the game + an increment of 30 seconds per move from move 1.

Groningen Compact

A five round Swiss tournament in groups of about 40 players, split up according to playing strength.
First prize in each group: € 200,-
prize fund per group: € 600,-.
Entry fee before 15th of December: € 35,-
Entry fee after 15th of December (Only in cash on registration): €40,-


A bye (half a point) is possible only in round 1 and must be requested as well as confirmed by e-mail before December 24th.

Playing schedule

26 December 11.00 – 12.00 hrs Registration
26 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Ronde 1
27 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Ronde 2
28 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Ronde 3
29 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Ronde 4
30 December 11.00 – 17.00 hrs Ronde 5
30 December ± 18.00 hrs Prizegiving ceremony

Time control: 40 moves in 90 minutes + 30 minutes for the remainder of the game + an increment of 30 seconds per move from move 1.


Youth Grand Prix

In the North of the Netherlands each year a Grand Prix cyclus is organized for younger youth players.
One of these tournaments will take place during the Chess Festival Groningen. More information: here


After Chess

Like previous editions there will be After Chess during the tournament, organized in chess cafe Proeflokaal Hooghoudt. The address: Gedempte Zuiderdiep 61, 9711 HC Groningen. You can find the program in the Tournament Schedule. For more information, go to the Facebook page of the cafe: Proeflokaal Hooghoudt.



Our Chess Festival is situated in the student sports complex. This offers a perfect opportunity to exercise both mind and body. During the Chess Festival there will be opportunity to play squash or football.


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