Reports | October 21, 2012 18:53

How is that, beating Ivan Sokolov, and two weeks later Jan Timman

How is that, beating Ivan Sokolov, and two weeks later Jan Timman

21 year old Danny de Ruiter has quickly risen to fame in the Dutch chess scene. Not even an FM yet, rated 2182, the chess player from Alkmaar, the Netherlands managed to beat two famous Dutch grandmasters in a period of two weeks: Ivan Sokolov and Jan Timman!

Danny de Ruiter during the 3rd round in Hoogeveen | Photo © Lennart Ootes

It happens regularly that a grandmaster, not having his day, stumbles in the very first round of an open tournament. His amateur opponent plays a good game, profits from a mistake, avoids big mistakes himself and duly converts the point. He can feel like a grandmaster himself for day.

However, beating not one but two strong GMs, that's different, when... you haven't even passed the 2200 barrier yet. Danny de Ruiter, a 21 year old chess player from Alkmaar with a 2182 FIDE rating, beat Ivan Sokolov in the Dutch league on October 6th, and started the Univé Open last Friday with a victory against the legendary Jan Timman. 

The Dutch league game was a match between Sissa (Groningen) and Waagtoren (Alkmaar), played in the third league, on October 6th. Sissa is a sponsored team with just one goal: to promote to the second league, then to the first (the "Meesterklasse") and eventually win the Dutch Team Championship in May 2015. Their line-up is ridiculously strong for a third league team, with GMs Loek van Wely and Ivan Sokolov on top boards. (Disclaimer: the author of these lines plays for another club in the same league.)

However, Waagtoren managed to hold them to 4-4, partly thanks to the following game. The annotations are translated from what Wim Andriessen and Danny de Ruiter posted on the Waagtoren website.

Andriessen (73), one of the founders of New in Chess (now retired), has coached De Ruiter for a while and has all the right to be proud. He adviced his pupil to study the Grünfeld deeply in the weeks before the game and it had the desired effect:

PGN string

As Andriessen noted, Sokolov had previously lost only 3 games out of a total of 101 games in the Dutch league. With his game De Ruiter won the New in Chess S.O.S. prize for best game of the round.

Last Friday the first round of the Univé Open was played. This tournament always starts two days before the Crown Group (which has Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri, Sergei Tiviakov and Hou Yifan this year - round 1 live here). One of the participants in the Open this year is Dutch chess legend Jan Timman, who must have heard about the above game. Nonetheless, he became De Ruiter's next victim. Again, the 21-year-old came to the board well prepared, and showed no fear.

PGN string

It remains to be seen what else De Ruiter is capable of. In the second round in Hoogeveen he lost to IM Migchiel de Jong, but on Sunday he won against ChessVibes co-editor IM Yochanan Afek. Whatever happens, De Ruiter won't ever forget this month, October 2012!

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.


Hugh Jass's picture

nice one sonny!

jambow's picture

Both games he shows exceptional coordination between advaning pawns and pieces. Look out he will rise much further.

Thomas's picture

Now I understand why I didn't have a chance against him already a few years ago. In my previous German club, I had similar experiences in blitz games against a teenager from Hamburg, a certain Jan Gustafsson.

valg321's picture

exceptionally strong play for a 2100er

Berliner's picture

I think what we witness here is simply that ELO-ratings aren't always accurate.

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