On 2 August, youth players from Hong Kong and some who were in the USA that time, from Boston, embarked on an intercontinental trip to The Netherlands to participate in the ONJK – Open Dutch Youth Championship 2015 from 3-8 August.
Accompanied by parents, aunt, uncle, grandpa, coach, and together with our local Dutch Caissa girl, who joined us in Holland, our group of total 18 people finally carried eight Caissa Hong Kong’s Chess Club players.
The drive from Schiphol airport to the hotel Erve Hulsbeek took 1.5 hours and once we arrived and checked in, it was the perfect moment to explore the neighborhood and for a big cheers on the terrace and to explore the nearby city center of Oldenzaal to do some shopping.
Round 1 on the next day, 3 August, would not start until the afternoon. After a typical Dutch no-frills breakfast of freshly baked bread, ham, cheese, croissant and such there was still some time to play around – and in Holland that could lead to biking and feeding cows…
Our players were spread out over almost all age groups:
- Group B (U16): Melvin Cheung and Fong Li Calje
- Group D (U12): Jasmine Leung and James Wing Ki Kwong
- Group E (U10): Miguel Angel Garceran Wang
- Group F (U9): Mei Jing Garceran Wang and Harold Wing Shun Kwong
- Group H (U7): Jin Wen Bao
(See also report FGH Group on tournament site)
The F (U9), G (U8) and H (U7) would play two tournaments, the first one of 9 rounds in 3 days in their own age group and then another 11 rounds in the subsequent 3 days. A gruesome schedule by any standard.
But in Jin Wen we had a true hero in our team. In the first part of the tournament the G and H category were mixed but Jin Wen emerged as winner of his age group H … and also higher than anyone in the G age group. A true world champion who can add an Open Dutch title now to his list of achievements!
Our F group players Mei Jing and Harold had a tougher time but still managed to score 4.5 points and ended 14th and 17th respectively.
In the second part of the F, G and H group tournament, when all three groups were merged and for our kids opponents would thus be stronger, we suddenly see a stronger Harold score 5.5 points now, Mei Jing even getting 7 points and Jin Wen again emerging as champion of all 3 age groups. Well done Jin Wen, you are a true champ, but also to Harold and Mei Jing: huurraaay!
(See also report Group E on tournament site)
In the E (U10) group Miguel Angel was in top shape! With fierce and intelligent play and a strong will to win he was already champion with still a round to go! But also the last round he did not take it easy and with 12.5 out of 13 he might have broken a record. He was the absolute best player in this age group – good to see that the level of a Hong Kong U10 Champion is strong enough to triumph in other countries, of which Holland is one of the strongest. Well done Miguel!
A crucial game and break through was against nemesis Constantijn Beukema. Miguel Angel’s win was important to also beat Kasper Bleeker in round 6. In round 7 followed the only draw against Jan Casur.
(See also report Group D on tournament site)
In the D group our players were Jasmine and Wing Ki. Jasmine had never ever played a longer tournament than the one, max two days, events that had been organized in the past in Hong Kong, mostly rapid. This event, 40 minutes and 30 seconds increment was an entirely different speed.
After 13 rounds Jasmine had accumulated 5 points. Keep it up Jasmine, good job!
Wing Ki also played in the D group and as 11-year old he must have been among the younger players in this U12 age group. Until the very last round it was not sure whether he would be 2nd place or would be crowned Champion.
Congratulations Wing Ki!!! You got our 3rd National Open Dutch title. We can go home proudly!
(See also report Group B on tournament site)
In the B Group it was unfortunate that in round 1 Melvin and Fong Li were paired against each other. The game resulted in a draw. Both Fong Li, who hadn’t seriously played for 3 years, and Melvin, who had never participated in 9 round standard chess tournament within a week, played many draws and it was lack of experience or recent practice that turned some games into some avoidable losses. We had great fun analyzing Melvin’s “immortal”, when he refused a draw while a queen down and 20 seconds on the clock …
Fong Li with 5 draws and a win and Melvin with 4 draws and 2 wins ended just below 50%. The B group is serious business and it is a score to accept with pride and to set as the baseline for … next year?
On Thursday, we had half a day off and of course the trip would be to Amsterdam, the only true tourist destination in Holland…
Finally, on the last day it was Opa’s 77th birthday.