Good play, good performances, great luck

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog post. In the meantime I did play two tournaments, one at the end of May and one in June. Things went pretty well and although my play was at times a bit uneven, the performances gave me confidence for the upcoming chess summer. In Ghent I won the Flemish Championships and in Hilversum I became second in the HSG Open, raising my rating to 2442. …

Tournament win!

Nothing tastes as good as a tournament win. It has been a long time since I did well in a tournament, so this result was very welcome. Apart from the result, I really liked the tournament. Chania is a great city, the Cretan food is wonderful and the weather was as good as it could be in late April.

Sunny Crete

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post. My last tournament was in Roquetas in early January. Since I am having two weeks off at the end of April/beginning of May, this is the ideal time to combine a holiday with a chess tournament. After some research, I found a tournament in Chania, a city on the beautiful island of Crete, where the weather is great. What more could you wish for? …

Roquetas de Mar: round 4 – 9

The Roquetas tournament is over. My intention was to write more reports during the tournament than I did, but the tournament schedule was tougher than I anticipated and besides playing chess I decided to enjoy Spanish weather which was beautiful compared to the grey and rainy weather back home. I thoroughly enjoyed playing and I thoroughly enjoyed the sunny atmosphere – in addition to the fact that I played quite well, it was a very good experience.

At the end of my previous report my score was 2.5 out of 3. I managed to add 3.5 point to my score, ending with 6 out of 9 winning some rating points in the end. …

First tournament of 2022: Roquetas de Mar (rounds 1-3)

With the sudden surge of the omikron variant in the middle of December, it was very unclear whether I could a play a tournament during the Christmas break and I was already preparing to study chess instead of playing. Fortunately for me, the Roquetas de Mar Open is being held as planned and so I travelled to Spain to play another open, together with my friends Tom Piceu and Steven Geirnaert. It’s nice to play a tournament again and the weather at this time of year is great in Spain: 17 degrees and lots of sun.

Roquetas de Mar is a touristic town in the south of Spain. In winter it seems to be mainly a resort for seniors from the northern part of Europe. Fortunately, we are not yet part of that group! …

How to study chess in lockdowns?

In March 2020 as the world was heading for a lockdown, so was the chess world. Apart from the frustration that playing over the board was no longer possible, I saw it as an opportunity to work on my chess game and to come back very strong when normal life would resume. However, my good intentions did not really materialize and when I was able to play over the board again, more than 17 months later, I was by no means the strong player I would have liked to be. Now that Europe is in lockdown again and the possibility to play chess is seriously limited, it is time to do better. How can you stay in shape during lockdowns?

Open Leuven day 4: shared first (with 11 other players…)

The final day of a tournament is always a bit tense, but in  Leuven the last round was really unpredictable and the outcome was quite surprising.

My goal was to end the tournament with two good games and in the end I think I succeeded. I won in round 6 against tournament surprise Bratuszewski and I drew in round 7 against tournament favourite Dgebuadze to finish on a score of 5.5 out of 7. The results of the other boards were such, that in the end 12 players finished on shared first place with 5.5 out of 7. I have never experienced before that a tournament was won by such a large group. Let’s take a short look at my game in round 6. …

Leuven Open day 2: still on a perfect score

I was looking forward to take a couple of longer walks through the city of Leuven, but the weather is not cooperating yet. The tournament is being held for the 32nd time. The list of winners consists of a mix of International Grandmasters and International Masters. The biggest names on the list of winners are probably the IGM’s Azmaiparashvili, Baklan, Glek, Torre, Chuchelov, Miroshnichenko and Epishin.

In chess circles Leuven got famous for staging two editions of the Grand Chess Tour, in 2017 and 2018. In 2017 Magnus Carlsen was present alongside all the other top players, whereas in 2018 most of the top players competed, but this time without Carlsen.

In this tournament the field is, of course, a lot less impressive. I am seeded 3rd, with 1 Grandmaster participating (Alexandre Dgebuadze), 1 other IM (Steven Geirnaert) and a lot of up and coming 2300s. After 3 rounds I am still on a perfect score. …

Open Leuven Day 1

First rounds are always a bit tough. There usually is a big difference in rating and still the lower rated players often manage to put up a lot of resistance. I arrived in Leuven a few hours before the game after a long ride with a lot of traffic on the road. My hotel is located in the beautiful centre of Leuven and the playing hall is only 700 metres away. Unfortunately, the weather is far from great with lots of rain, which makes strolling through the city a lot less attractive.

I won my first game rather convincingly when my opponent blundered an important pawn away in a position which was already pleasant for me. Today, there are two rounds, so let’s see whether I can keep the pace going. …