Reports | February 28, 2012 12:32

Batavia: Ernst and Hebden share the lead after round 4

Batavia: Ernst and Hebden share the lead after round 4

They have survived a number of tricky positions, but GMs Sipke Ernst and Mark Hebden are sharing the lead after four rounds at the Batavia Tournament in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Both grandmasters have scored 3/4. In sole third place we find Dutch talent Hugo ten Hertog, who only needs to double his score in the remaining five rounds to clinch an IM norm.

Event Batavia GM | PGN
Dates February 24th-March 4th, 2012
Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands
System 10-player round robin
GM Sipke Ernst (2606), GM Robin van Kampen (2566), GM Mark Hebden (2516), GM Keith Arkell (2429), IM Manuel Bosboom (2394), FM David Klein (2391), FM Achim Illner (2375), FM Thibaut Vandenbussche (2359), FM Hugo ten Hertog (2356) and FM Richard Vedder (2293)
Rate of play 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1
Prize fund 1st € 1000, 2nd € 500, 3rd € 300, 4th € 200

Everyone knows the Tata Steel Tournament, in January in Wijk aan Zee, and most of you know the Univé Tournament, in October in Hoogeveen. But of course The Netherlands is a chess-minded country, where many more tournaments are held. One of those is becoming a tradition as well: the Batavia Chess Tournament, named after its venue Cafe Batavia, in the heart of Amsterdam (in fact right across Central Station).


The venue, opposite of Central Station in Amsterdam


We've written about it before, and not just because the tournament takes place in our home town. Somehow every year the invited players produce very entertaining games, and at the same time a very relaxed and gezellig atmosphere. This is partly the result of the fact that the event is held in a cafe, so that ordering a beer during the post-mortem is as easy as moving a knight!

The first Batavia Chess Tournament was held in February 2009. It was a small dream of cafe owner Peter Tames to organize a chess tournament one time, and that month he succeeded. With the help of photographer Bas Beekhuizen and a bit of Corus (now Tata) tournament director Jeroen van den Berg as well, he got together a group of ten players in the Elo range 2214-2490, enough to make an IM norm possible.  And indeed, Dutch talent Robin van Kampen, now a GM, scored his first IM norm there and then!

A year later, the second edition was won by FM Christov Klein, who thereby passed the 2400 rating border to become an IM. Last year, the tournament "promoted" from an IM group to a GM group and it was won by Gerald Hertneck.

This year's participants list looks as follows:

  1. GM Sipke Ernst (The Netherlands, 2606)
  2. GM Robin van Kampen (The Netherlands, 2566)
  3. GM Mark Hebden (England, 2516)
  4. GM Keith Arkell (England, 2429)
  5. IM Manuel Bosboom (The Netherlands, 2394)
  6. FM David Klein (The Netherlands, 2391)
  7. FM Achim Illner (Germany, 2375)
  8. FM Thibaut Vandenbussche (Belgium, 2359)
  9. FM Hugo ten Hertog (The Netherlands, 2356)
  10. FM Richard Vedder (The Netherlands, 2293)

FMs David Klein, Achim Illner, Thibaut Vandenbussche, Hugo ten Hertog and Richard Vedder all need to score 5/9 for an IM norm. Illner, Vandenbussche, Ten Hertog and Vedder need 6.5 points to score a GM norm; Klein and Bosboom need 7/9 for that.

Like last year, the author of these lines is also the author of the round reports (and the photographer) for the tournament website. Therefore, I'll summarize what happened so far, but you'll find more there!

The 4th edition of the Batavia Chess Tournament was officially opened on Friday, February 24th, by tournament director and owner of Cafe Batavia, Peter Tames. Many friends, acquaintances and chess fans, and of course the players, had gathered in the cafe, and among the first day spectators there were famous names like Friso Nijboer, Hans Ree, Ian Rogers and Yasser Seirawan.

Peter Tames giving the opening speech...

...with sponsors, friends and players listening

On the same day the first round was played. Already then it became clear that we have to keep an eye on Hugo ten Hertog, who had top seed Sipke Ernst on the ropes (and later Ernst missed a win himself):

PGN string

Hugo ten Hertog

In this first round, the last players to finish were GM Keith Arkell and GM Robin van Kampen. In this game, the Dutch GM was better in an ending with a rook and knight for both sides. Even though his girlfriend had accompanied him during this first round and was waiting for him in the cafe, Van Kampen tried it for no less than 103 moves! That’s what you get when you start dating a chess player!

Robin van Kampen

In the second round another GM escaped. Van Kampen almost lost his white game:

PGN string

Thibaut Vandenbussche

On Saturday night Mark Hebden was the only player on 2/2. In the third round, on Sunday, Sipke Ernst caught the Englishman in the standings thanks to the following smooth victory.

PGN string

Sipke Ernst

We feel that Hebden could have won his ending in that round:

PGN string

Mark Hebden

In the fourth round both Ernst and Hebden were facing lost positions at some point, but both managed to draw the game.

PGN string

David Klein missed several wins. In the following position it seemed that the young Dutchman was still winning, but the English grandmaster found an amazing defence:

PGN string

Peter Tames and Hans Ree watching the games on a TV screen in the bar section of the cafe

4th Batavia GM tournament 2012 | Round 4 standings


Tournament leaders Ernst and Hebden play each other in round 5, on Tuesday. You can follow the games online here, each day from 14:00 CET. Wednesday is a rest day, but Robin van Kampen and Achim Illner will play their round 3 game. Last Sunday this was postponed because both had to play somewhere else.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Mike Hunt's picture

I hope Hebden wins. It amazes me how this tough as teak GM puts his rating on the line vs all comers, plays the same openings with Black and white 99% of the time and is so easy to prepare for yet consistently scores well in weekenders. Get in there Hebo!

Richard Vedder's picture

Is David Klein the brother of Christov Kleijn? Which of these two does not spell his own last name right?

Peter Doggers's picture

Ehm, guess not! :-)

Ray's picture

Good to see Hans Ree is alive and (i suppose) well! I miss his Dutch Treats, which don't seem to be available online anymore...

Poek's picture

Is Richard Vedder the brother of Eddie Vedder?

Richard Vedder's picture

Well, I have a ukelele. Thats all we have in common I guess!

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