22 t/m 30 December 2018

Chess Festival Groningen

Nederlands Nederlands

Third Student Christmas Chess on the 23rd of December

The Chess Festival Groningen will host the third consecutive Student Christmas Chess on the 23rd of December. This event is intended for any student who knows the rules, but doesn't play at tournaments or a chess club on regular basis. Entry is free, while the first prize is €150. Three students of the same study association can team up to fight for the extra Study Association prize, netting both the players and the Association €60. We hope to get 'homeplayers' to try out an official tournament, while at the same time giving the chance to follow the games of the strongest Groninger and Dutch Chess players. 

Still in doubt whether you're ready? There are practice sessions on wednesday night 12 and 19 December at Hooghoudt Proeflokaal. Jonah and Thiadrik won in 2017, while Arno Clinched first prize in 2016. Who's next?

Find more information at our website under Students Chess and sign up!


Meet the players - Lucas van Foreest

It's fair to say chess is in Lucas van Foreest's blood. His three year older brother Jorden and 11-year-old sister Machteld are among the very best players in the world in their consecutive age groups, and one could say the same from Lucas (age 17, rating 2499). His great-great grandfathers Dirk and Arnold became Dutch champions as well as Jorden, one thing Lucas wants to become one day too. He recently obtained the GM-title, and for the long run, his aim is reaching a rating of 2700. Although chess is a prominent factor in his life, Van Foreest has many interests (e.g. politics) and wants to develop himself in different ways. His general goal is to build a successful career, chess related or not. For now, he's combining high-school with the life of a chess professional. He just played a tournament in Saint Louis and after the University Match in Groningen he's playing the strong B-group of TATA Steel Chess. He expects the match against Ivan Sokolov to be very interesting with chances for both sides.undefined

If you wouldn't play chess, in what sport you would (want to) be a professional? And of all professions?
Arm-wrestler, or a cook.

According to you, how big is the factor luck in chess?
I don't know how big of a factor luck is, but for some reason, the stronger player is always the lucky one. Just looking at one game, the factor seems to be quite big, For this, it is easily possible to beat a much stronger player. But in the long term, just like in poker, it will not play a big role.


The Chess Festival Groningen offers a generous prize fund for the 2018 edition. The Open A has a total prize fund north of €6000. The tournament winner takes home €1800, while there’s an extra prize for the best scoring woman of €400. The remainder of the prize fund is distributed among the other top finishers and a rating prize. With this prize fund Chess Festival Groningen is among the highest in the Netherlands, which can be seen in the strength of the field of players. Of course this prize fund wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors the University of Groningen, The Municipality Groningen and Hotels.nl.

Ivan Sokolov and Lucas van Foreest to cross swords in Groningen

As part of the Chess Festival’s University Challenge, Ivan Sokolov and Lucas van Foreest will play a four-game match. The match will take place from Thursday the 27th of December until Sunday the 30th. This year marks the milestone of the tenth clash between an experienced older player and a youthful challenger. Except for the age gap, the two players share a lot of similarities. Both Sokolov and Van Foreest are well dressed men, known for their remarkable character. They play the same brand of fighting chess, and are unafraid of all the complications in their games. All in all, this matchup is promising to deliver an interesting match to close the year. 

Registration opened!

The registration for this year event has opened. If you click on the yellow banner above which says 'Sign up', things should be easy.

It's possible to register for the 9 round event (A,B, and C-group) or to choose to play only before or after Christmas. More information on dates, side events, participants, etc you'll find on this page above or on the right.

We will publish news about the Festival on a regular basis on this website. For any information feel free to contact us. We hope to see you at the end of this year in Groningen.

The organisation of the Chess Festival Groningen

The dates for the Chess Festival Groningen 2018

The dates of the next edition of the Chess Festival Groningen have been announced. Traditionally this tournament -with its long and captivating history- is held over the Christmas period, and this year is no exception. The organisers have decided to have the tournament take place from Saturday 22 December until Sunday 30 December. As usual Christmas day, Tuesday 25 December, is a day off. The Open Tournament consists of 9 rounds Swiss.

The A-group consists of strong grandmasters both from the Netherlands and abroad again this year. They are joined by IMs, FMs, norm chasers and ambitious club players. The B-group offers a spot to those unable to match with the grandmasters, but eager to play 9 competitive rounds of chess. In addition, you can choose to just compete before or after Christmas in the 4 Person Round Robin or the Compact Group. On Sunday 23 December two rounds will take place in one day. Further details concerning additional festivities, such as the contestants of the annual match (University Challenge) and the Students Christmas Chess Tournament, will follow on this website, Facebook and Twitter.

Registration will open shortly, but you can save the dates now. We hope to see you in Groningen this Christmas!

Koen Lambrecht, tournament director Chess Festival Groningen

Column # 8 – Monkey business

We all have dreams. As I am sitting in my living room behind my computer here in Groningen, I take a look outside at the grey, misty sky. I imagine myself at the South coast of Italy. I am in a small hotel where I’m one of the few guests. In the morning I work on my novel. In the afternoon I eat a pasta dish with fresh seafood that the cook prepares just for me. I then take an after-lunch nap and drink some cocktails with the other guests. I do a little more writing and then –in the evening – I eat a pasta dish with a sage/butter sauce, drink a nice glass of local, red wine, and joke a bit with the waiter. In the night time I go for a swim between the rocks of the Mediterranean Sea. The water is still warm from the past summer and I am accompanied by a girl from the local village, who happens to be there too. Once the temperatures in my home country rise again, I go home and meet my family and friends. At that point, my novel has been translated into seventeen languages. After spending the summer in the Netherlands, I return to the hotel in Italy.


Column # 7 - Child's play

Children are disgusting little creatures. They are the only mammal on earth that require intensive, perennial care, cost lots of money, are bad for the environment, and the main reason for overpopulation. Children are erratic, think they’re funny and get away with almost anything. They cry if they don’t get enough attention and when they are quiet for a second they will immediately break the silence and ask stupid questions.

Children contribute little to the average household, whereas it doesn’t seem too much to ask to have a cookbook assist them in cooking a decent meal every once in a while. Children don’t drink, so having a good time with them is rare. And once they finally do get older they transform into a even worse specie, the adolescent, before they finally, after all those years, become reasonable human beings.



Round 7 - Youth Grand Prix and match day 2

undefinedEelke de Boer struck back in his match against Dennis de Vreugt. Both players had their chances, and de Vreugt actually was in the drivers seat for the longest time, but Eelke showed his strength when Dennis stumbled just before the finish line.undefined

In the A - group the first bord was a relatively calm draw, but otherwise it was a bloodbath with 3 chasers catching up with Plat en Postny. Turov, Bok and Kislinsky managed to beat Rahul, Kryakvin and Tiviakov and there is now a 5-way tie for first place.undefined

The Chess festival is more than just a tournament; it offers chances to young and old, newbies and veterans. We've had the Student Christmas Chess on the 23rd and this round we had the Youth Grand Prix. With many of the older youth players already participating in the senior tournaments, we're happy that no less than 45 youngsters showed up to participate. Winner of the day was Johnny Albadeen.undefined


Photos: Harry Gielen (and: Youth)

Report: Koen 

Column # 6 – Opening line

I love chess openings, I do. Not really a good story to tell on a Saturday evening in a bar when a nice lady asks you: ‘And, what are your hobbies?’ (Although one can question the likeability of someone who asks that question on a Saturday evening in the first place, but that’s another story)

My chess openings hobby is rather serious. I make lists of alternative definitions of openings - like if they weren’t chess openings. I hope you understand. You have to do something in your spare time, right?undefined

Column # 5 – Rating fetishism

The first question your colleague chess player asks is never if you would like something to drink or how your mother is. It is always: ‘What is your new rating?’ The chess player who has lost nine rating points on the new Elo rating list, considers selling his house and leaving the country forever. Gained fourteen points? The player orders a case of champagne, drinks it, and dares to show his face at the chess club again.

Rating terror flourishes in the chess world. A few weeks ago a team member of mine lost a long, difficult game. The first thing his opponent asked was: ‘What is your rating?’ My team member answered, and the first reaction on the other side of the board was a typical one: ‘Oh, then I only won four rating points.’


Round 5

An uneventful draw left tournament leader Plat in pole position, since none of his chasers managed to win their game. Tomorrow Groninger favorite Tiviakov will take on Plat with White. For some entertainment, watch the games by Kislinsky, Lubbe and Beerdsen. 


Column # 4 – Alpha Bravo Charlie

December is always a bit of a strange month. Vague nostalgic feelings get drowned in alcohol and the empty feeling in our stomachs is filled by turkey and venison. In the meantime we come together with those we normally trying to avoid as much as possible; our dear family. A month of contradictions so to say, and that was certainly the case in the world of chess this December. During the London Chess Classics the crème de la crème of human chess played one draw after the other, while somewhere on the internet or in the cloud new kid on the block AlphaZero crushed Stockfish, the best chess computer known to man (and to computers), until now.

As boring as the human games were, so exciting were the pieces of art AlphaZero produced. Magnus Carlsen proved to be human after all by playing his worst game in years (against Ian Nepomniachtchi). At the same time AlphaZero was called an ‘alien’. Other commentators thought Alpha (I can call him Alpha) on the other hand produced very humanlike chess, which proves that nobody exactly knew what was going on. One thing was clear: this was something else.


Round 4

With Christmas on the doorstep, we're left with just 1 leader in the tournament. Kryakvin picked an anti-theoretical d3-line to fight blacks Grünfeld, and he managed to get some play. Plat correctly estimated that sacrificing his b7 pawn would grant him enough play, and eventually whites queen. The position was more or less balanced with knight, rook and pawn for a queen, but blacks queen found some nice targets and eventually brought home the win for Vojtech. Other winners Pruijssers, Turov, Bok, Tiviakov and Postny are only halve a point behind, so no time to rest, except for tomorrow, since Christmas day is a rest day. 

Merry Christmas and we'll speak again on tuesday.

Photos Harry Gielen - Day 3

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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

Click here.

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 2018
DateOpen Tournament A, B, C4-person TounamentCompactStudent TournamentYouth Grand PrixUniversity ChallengeCommentaryAfter Chess
22-12-2018Round 1Round 1Ultimate Moves
23-12-2018Round 2 and 3Round 2Entire tournamentFM Grigori KodentsovOpen
24-12-2018Round 4Round 3FM Grigori KodentsovHands and Brains
25-12-2018Merry Christmas!
26-12-2018Round 5Round 1FM Grigori KodentsovFischer Random
27-12-2018Round 6Round 2Round 1IM Stefan KuipersSISSA Christmas Blitz
28-12-2018Round 7Round 3Entire tournamentRound 2IM Stefan KuipersChess against the Bear
29-12-2018Round 8Round 4Round 3IM Gert LigterinkPubquiz
30-12-2018Round 9Round 5Round 4IM Gert LigterinkAfter Drinks

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

22 December 11.00 – 12.00 hrs Registration
22 December 13.00 – 19.00 hrs Round 1
23 December 10.00 – 16.00 hrs Round 2
23 December 17.00 – 23.00 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.

Students Christmas Chess

This tournament is organized for students who like to play chess, but have never competed in official tournaments or competitions. Any student (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (including PhD) or Hanze Hogeschool Groningen) who doesn't have a FIDE or KNSB rating can participate. Prizes will be awarded based on individual scores and on the score of the best 3 players of each student association. For each student association, 1 player with a rating of <1501 can participate. This player cannot win any individual prize, but his score does count for the total score of the association. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'rating' you most likely don't have one, so don't worry.

Entry is free and you can register by sending an e-mail to info@chessfestival.nl including your name, student number and (optionally) student association. To confirm your participation you have to register in person on the 23th of December at 11.45 in the playing hall; bring your student card .

Individual Prizes: 1. €150 2. €75 3. €50
Association Prize: €120 for the winning association (half goes to the three players directly, half goes to the association)

In case of a shared 1st, 2nd or 3rd place the prizes are shared. Rules for the Association Prize: The points of the 3 best scoring players of one association are added. The highest scoring association wins the prize.

Sportcentrum RUG & Hanze Blauwborgje 16, 9747 AC Groningen

Playing schedule

Schedule will follow.
23 December 11.45 – 12.00 hrs Registration
23 December 12.00 – 12.40 hrs Round 1
23 December 12.50 – 13.30 hrs Round 2
23 December 13.40 – 14.20 hrs Round 3
23 December 14.30 – 14.50 hrs Break
23 December 14.50 – 15.30 hrs Round 4
23 December 15.40 – 16.20 hrs Round 5
23 December ± 16.30 hrs Prizegiving ceremony

On wednesday the 12th and 19th of December we’ll have free practice sessions in Hooghoudt Proeflokaal (Gedempte Zuiderdiep 61) from 19.30 - 22.00. Together with coaches we’ll play practice games, solve puzzles, answer questions and give general tips and advice. The only requirement to enter is knowledge of the rules of the game.


Youth Grand Prix

In the North of the Netherlands each year a Grand Prix cyclus is organized for younger youth players.
On Friday the 28th of December 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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