November 29, 2010 20:13

Luke McShane wins 3rd Remco Heite Tournament

Luke McShane wins 3rd Remco Heite Chess TournamentThings weren't decided until the very last minute, but eventually it was Luke McShane who proved to have the strongest nerves. The English grandmaster won the 3rd Remco Heite Chess Tournament in Wolvega, The Netherlands with a score of 3.5/5 and finished ahead of Anish Giri, Erwin l'Ami, Bartlomiej Macieja, Loek van Wely and Peter Heine Nielsen.

Luke McShane wins in Wolvega | Photo Lenus van der Broek

The 3rd Remco Heite Chess Tournament took place November 26-28 in 'Hotel Wolvega' Van der Valk in Wolvega, The Netherlands. It consisted of a main group (a 6-player, single round robin with McShane, Giri, l'Ami, Macieja, Van Wely and Nielsen), an open tournament and a school chess event for children.

When Remco Heite quit as mayor of the municipality of Weststellingwerf (of which Wolvega is a part) in 2005, he received a most original present: a chess tournament. It saw its first edition in 2006 and is sometimes described as 'the tournament with the horse because the winner gets one.


Well, that was the plan during the first edition, when Loek van Wely finished first. He was supposed to be given a horse, but the General Inspection Service found out about it (giving someone a horse as a gift is illegal in The Netherlands) and did not want to make an exception. The organizers came up with a nice solution: to the regular first prize a bonus was added exactly as high as the horse’s countervalue, with the option of buying the horse. This way, all offical rules were obliged to and KingLoek could meet his new purchase.

Two years later (the tournament takes place every second year), in November 2008, winner GM Bartlomiej Macieja didn't take his horse to Poland; instead the grandmaster decided to leave it in Friesland, as a gift to a local organization for handicapped children, who will take care of it. This seems to have become a tradition as this year's winner, Luke McShane, opted for the same construction.

The horse story is easier to understand when you realize that the area of Stellingwerf is deeply connected with horses and actually the most modern Dutch trotting racetrack is located in Wolvega. The connection between horses and chess is easily made, and this way the (only local) sponsors would agree that the Remco Heite tournament is very much a local, Stellingwerf tournament.

And quite a strong tournament it was, this third edition. Erwin l'Ami, who qualified for the main group two years ago by winning the open tournament, was the lowest rated player at 2626 while Anish Giri (2682) was the favourite for this short event. With all players in a rating range of just sixty points, it was clear from the start that it was going to be an exciting affair. In the end only six of the fifteen games had ended in draw.

The tournament was decided in the very last round, when McShane defeated Van Wely with the black pieces in what may be described as a model Hedgehog game. The Englishman manoeuvred skillfully and was at least equal after the thematical 38...b5 break. The ending should have been a draw, but was always tough for White.


GM Luke McShane | Photo René Olthof

Afterwards McShane said: "With such a close field I always thought: why whouldn't I have a chance to win? The first two rounds were not easy. Macieja blundered against me, but before that I had blundered, so a draw was more or less correct. It was quite tough against Nielsen and when you save such a game, it can only get better."

Remco Heite Chess Tournament 2010 | Final Standings

Remco Heite Chess Tournament 2010 | Final Standings

The open tournament was a group of 90 players who played 9 rounds Swiss in two days. The time control was 45 minutes per person for the whole game. Local hero GM Sipke Ernst qualified for the main group in 2012 after finishing shared first with GM Friso Nijboer. Ernst had won their mutual game.

Below are all fifteen games from the main group - highly recommened, with many spectacular fights!

Game viewer

Game viewer by ChessTempo


Venue and accommodation at the same time: Van der Valk 'Hotel Wolvega' | Photo René Olthof


A giant horse in front of the hotel | Photo René Olthof


Erwin l'Ami vs Loek van Wely | Photo Lenus van der Broek


Bartlomiej Macieja vs Anish Giri | Photo Lenus van der Broek


Peter Heine Nielsen vs Luke McShane | Lenus van der Broek


Winner Luke McShane at the prize giving | Photo Lenus van der Broek


The traditional 'family picture' | Photo Lenus van der Broek

school chess

Every year a school chess tournament is held in Wolvega which every second year coincides with the Remco Heite tournament - this weekend there were 170 children from 34 schools | Photo Lenus van der Broek

open tournament

From the open tournament: winner GM Sipke Ernst (r.) vs GM John van der Wiel | Photo René Olthof


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


FIDE Master's picture

I feel sorry for the pranksters who decide to put the thumbs down on comments because of their own personal issues.

If you don't have anything nice to say online, keep your mouth shut.


I'd be wary of the Trojan Horse at the front of the tournament hall. We can't let the Greeks win again.

Joe's picture

Wow. Beautiful king walk.

reality check's picture

Yes, but the Kings' spaziergang (41. Ke1 ...) to the Queens' side wasn't neccessary. He took the long way home.; 41. Kg1 would've got him home on time for dinner.

Frits Fritschy's picture

I nearly made the same mistake. Look again, you are wrong!

reality check's picture

Fritsy Fritsch, I've walked the King to a6 via 41. Kg1-h2-g3-f4-e5-d6-c5-b5 ten times. My soup is getting cold.
Are you sure you're sure the King must first allow himself to be escorted along the back rank to the Queens-side then back to the Kings-side to touch down at a6? What did I miss?

Joe's picture

41. Kg1 Rxg2+?

Thomas's picture

Hint: It would have been a positional draw with the white rook on a7 rather than b7.

aun1's picture

isn't 60...Qe5 mate instead of just check?

chandler's picture

downloadable pgn please? great games, thanks for bringing these to notice.

Peter Doggers's picture

PGN can be found, as always, in the links below the article.

Henk's picture

Very nice to read your comment and to see the games. Pity the tournament wil not be held next year but in 2012.

S's picture

Nielsen with 0,5/5, was he sick or something?

Bert de Bruut's picture

Not when he played Van Wely, whom he mated in under 30 moves :)

S's picture

yeah, but that is van Wely ;)

Frederic's picture

I'm waiting for the 3rd part of the Dvoretsky interview.

Can you please publish it as soon as possible ?

Thank you.

Rob Brown's picture

A delightful ending to the L'Ami - Van Wely game!

suleiman's picture

Black Rook: Please take me, please take me...
White King: No, I am married to my beautiful queen already; go away!

Frits Fritschy's picture

A small correction: "... giving someone a horse as a gift is illegal in The Netherlands." This is not strictly so, otherwise it would have been impossible to give it to an organisation for handicapped children. But it is forbidden to use live animals as a prize in competitions, lotteries, wagers and the like.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Proves it's not the best known Dutch law article.

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