Hey everyone! Two weeks ago, Max and Jitze played in the Noord-Brabant Championship for school pupils and students. It was a wild but fun tournament full of blunders, unexpected turns of events, and of course plenty of brilliant moves. In this article, Max and Jitze discuss their general experiences of participating in this tournament, along with some of the chess games that they played.
After the almost one hour drive, we parked the car just outside of the Wapen van Zundert café, in which the tournament was to be held, and we went inside. However, upon registering for entry in the tournament, we quickly found out that we were supposed to bring €5 in cash (rookie mistake apparently, after all this experience was quite new to us!) and we didn’t have the option to pay by card. We were forced to go back outside and locate an ATM close by. After walking the wrong way, we find one that works when we are quickly approached by an older lady, who complained to us that she had been waiting in line for half an hour. Apparently, an older couple had been occupying the ATM for so long, she got annoyed and then she just gave up and left.
However, right as she turned her back on us, the couple finished using the ATM, meaning that we could actually quickly get the cash required for tournament entry. We hurried back to the café thinking that we were going to be late, but luckily the director was kind enough to wait for our return, so that we could enter the first round in a relaxed way. After registering, we each get a drink and find our board for the first round. To our surprise, we found that we had to play each other immediately in the first round! Max played with the white pieces and Jitze played with the black pieces. The game, which ended up being quite a rollercoaster, started in the Benko gambit. You can check out the game using the chess board plugin down below.
We played a couple more games on Saturday after which Jitze was left with a score of 2/4 and Max had 3,5/4, leading the tournament. We went back to Eindhoven, ate some pizza, let Stockfish cringe over our moves, and rested for the night. On Sunday we returned to the small town of Zundert and reunited with our competitors. On this day, the organization already presented the trophies for the tournament on a table next to the chess boards. To our surprise, it appeared that they had three trophies for both the students and school pupils, even though the groups were merged. As there were only three school pupils, each of them would go home with a trophy no matter where they ended up. So at the end, the person who ended up in last place with only 1 point, still got a trophy to take home. And oh, how delighted he was when receiving the trophy.
Speaking of prizes, Max had quite the good chance to take 1st place after his phenomenal performance on the first day. However, he choked a bit on the second day and the final game would decide all. His hopes relied on Jitze, who had to play against the other title contender. Jitze played an alright opening in the Alekhine defense. However, he threw the game away with 14. …Qd7?? Which blundered Nf6+, allowing the queen to come in with the threat of the dark squared bishop coming to h6 and mating.
After this devastating blow Jitze walked over to Max and disappointedly signaled him with a thumbs down and a sad face that he had lost the game. The dream of Max becoming first had faded and Max decided to add a bit of spice to his game by sacrificing his bishop on h2. He was convinced that there were interesting tactics, but it appeared to be a brilliant blunder?! It only ended up working out because of a counter blunder from his opponent with f3, which gave the opportunity for check and create threats with tempo. Astonished by Max’s brilliance, his opponent almost made an illegal move as well. But after some moves, Max delivered the final blow with Qh4#. With the final moves still ringing in our heads, the prize ceremony started. Max still managed to win the second prize with a score of 5/7. Unfortunately for Jitze, he placed 5th with 3/7, which did not land him any prizes. However, he will be back next year for revenge!
Are you interested in participating in a tournament as well? The Activity Committee and the board of Noesis can provide you more information about upcoming classical and rapid chess tournaments that are happening nearby. Don’t worry about having to go alone, there are plenty of other members who are also joining these other tournaments! Have a look at upcoming tournaments in this file: