By Graham Brown
before we hit the pub! >
9th-12th 2000 we returned to Leuven for the 12th Leuven Open. The four of
us who went last year, (the first pioneering KH members to try this
tournament) were all present again ... well it was such great fun last year! This year there were more members: Richard
Graham Bolt, Mark Huba Stephen Berry, Rick Thomas John McVicar, Alistair Morton Graham Brown
and Ronald Crooks. And this made it even more of a laugh ... but we
had success too ... Thanks go to our leader Mark Huba for
discovering this fantastic tournament and chess club ... and arranging the
accommodation and travel ...
Balatoni & Rik Thomas, our other two winners >
Berry came 1st this year!!! having been unlucky last year not to win
any money. For example see GrandmasterBlaster.
He came away with near on £500! And we had a great cheap drink up on the
last night because Rik Thomas won a few bob for 12th with 5 points and
Richard Balatoni won even more bobs for a magnificent 4 points and a
grading prize. 4 points is a good score in this tournament full stop! John
McVicar powered to 4 points as well. Graham Bolt - (a KH member from
the days when we actually still used the Kings Head Pub, now living
in Gloucester) had a fantastic start, beating a 2223 and drawing with a
2244. Rustiness meant he only ended up with 3.5 points. He was also
unfortunate to be paired against the Berry! Your author scraped to 3
points with the usual variety of lazily prepared gambits, tricks and
surprises, but his Englund Gambit held up surprisingly well (1. d4 e5).
ended on 2 as did Alistair and they were both rather disappointed with
their overall play but Marks eating and Alistair's drinking were of GM
strength! Last but not least ... Ron! 1 point ... terrible but ... last
year's grading prize tempered it!
there is always next year ...
can see some of our games on the board below by clicking on the drop down
box and using the arrows. You can also have the games played automatically
for you by clicking the round button on the right. Look out for Graham
Bolt's win against 2223 Van Mechelen, a double rook sac against Mark!,
some powerful Rik play, including his usual endgame mastery.- rook and
pawn master class- , and Steve on his way to first prize. Enjoy!
Please click the down arrow to reveal the drop down box
to see the games. You may also download a pgn file of these games to see
what your computer thinks of them! Download
1st Equal Stephen Berry 2279 6
12 Rick Thomas 2272 5
37 John McVicar 2101 4
45 Richard Balatoni 1616 4
49 Graham Bolt 1928 3.5
73 Graham Brown 1712 3
103 Mark Huba 1464 2
104 Alistair Morton 1440 2
114 Ronald Crooks 1470 1
All in all this was great fun again and the food and drink were
fantastic and great value. The hotel was superb and for about £20 a night
with massive breakfast and cable TV including BBC1 for Match of the Day!
Desperado Leuven Club were very happy to see us and we look forward to
seeing them next year. 20 people next year!?
Steve Berry Interview
Now here is an interview that Desperado Leuven Club took with
"Nice Steve Berry", who they now treat quite correctly as a God
having seen him mash up GMs and IMs over the last 2 years.
Chess-file: Stephen Berry
Ten English players of chess club KingsHead from London
visited the tournament. Their club won several prizes. Nice Steven Berry
shared first place (and prize money) with Jerome Claesen with 6 out of 7
but the M.B. calculation made home player Jeroen Claesen the official
tournament winner. In any case we felicitate Stephen full hearted with his
performance and thank him for this interview.
Current Elo? 2279
Who taught you to play? -
I was still very young when I learned to play chess. I think I was six
years old. There was some chess being played in the family and of course I
started playing too.
What clubs are you a member off? -
KingsHead in London
Biggest success? - This
is the first tournament where I end up so high.
Best chess book? -
"Chess Games" from Tarrash.
Best player anno 2000? -
Kramnik. He's just won the WC against Kasparov.
Best player of all time? -
Favourite player? -
Do you own a chess computer/program? -
I hardly work with computers. I'm no computer addict. I used to run Genius
from time to time.
Will a computer ever become world champion? -
Yes. But there will always be matches between people. The computer remains
a machine. Machines are faster than people, animals are faster than
people, dogs run faster than people, but never-the-less do we still want
to know which human being is the fastest and do we organise athletic
Do you smoke or drink during a chess game? -
I don't smoke. Drinking alcohol, I do after the game. Here I tried to be
disciplined though. Beer is one of the attractive sides of your country
and we are here as tourists anyway, we want to relax. We arrived Thursday
evening and will stay until Monday. In the past we already visited Gent in
Flanders and La Capelle in France. And yes, we played in the tournaments.
Advice? - You have to
learn openings. The days are gone that you can play chess based on insight
only. You have to blame the computer for that. So read good opening books!
Desperado Leuven -
a history of the club by Frank
In 1989 the small chess scene in Leuven fell apart. For
many years, apart from 'Schakul' (a club of students and servants of the
K.U.Leuven but which doesn't exist anymore), the local club of Leuven had
been 'Lustige Vrijpion' (‘cheerful past pawn’), one of the oldest and
stronger clubs of Belgium. But in September of that year, eight
'dissidents' broke apart and created their own group. The reasons have
become somewhat vague over the years but basically they were just a group
of close friends mostly interested in having a good time... and playing
The new founded club met Friday night in the Thierbraü
(a pub in Leuven which has disappeared) with Jacques De Crock as first
chairman. The baby needed a name and after a long nightly brainstorm the
'outlaws' came up with Desperado, in full 'Leuvense
Schaakdesperado's', in short ...LSD.
With such a name and as some of the members, like Boni
Vandermeulen, were fairly well known, everybody who played chess in our
country knew quickly enough there were now two clubs in Leuven. A
'serious' one with top players such as Serge Vanderwaeren and many highly
rated players; and a second club with good old Boni where, as the
rumour went, chess was being played till 6 in the morning, but of which
the ratings will be covered with the cloak of charity.
A year later the club moved to 'Ons Huis' where today
the club still resides and hopes to stay for many years. Boni Vandermeulen
became chairman and the first team rose to fourth division in the national
As the years went by many of those first founding
members started playing less or stopped altogether, as is regretted every
year at the Annual Meeting, but apparently that's part of life of a chess
club. Fortunately, new faces appeared almost every season, which brought
about a slow but steady growth and rejuvenation. The gang of eight grew
halfway into the nineties into a club of eighty members with on average 40
people playing on club nights.
The season '93-'94 was an especially good one for the
club. A third team joined the national competition and thanks to the
transfers of Bart Van Praag (Vrijpion), Marc Weiler (Vrijpion) and
Frederik Pieters (youth player from Zoersel) Desperado was significantly
strengthened chess-wise. We could also rely on the services of 'our'
Russian, blitz champion Sergey Mikhailov, who in his younger chess years
even played at the side of Anatoly Karpov in the university team of
Moscow. Results didn't stay away, Desperado won their first cup: champion
In November 1994 we had the VIth Open Tournament, the
first new tournament in Leuven since 1988 when Vrijpion had it organised
for the last time. To celebrate the lustrum of Desperado our chairman put
forth the plan to organise a tournament again. As you might have guessed,
it became such a big success with 92 participants that we now organise
yearly a tournament.
1995 too became a strong year for Desperado.Mikhailov,
after a year of work and chess in Leuven, regrettably returned to Moscow,
but there were reinforcements: amongst others Geert Verbeek and Koen Jans,
both +2000 Elo, joined our ranks. Therefore we didn't have much trouble
retaining the title of Vlaams-Brabant. The next year the first team
promoted for the third consecutive time. Desperado had reached second
In 1997 we reclaim the championship title of Vlaams-Brabant
which we lost to Vrijpion in 1996. Led by Stefan Roosen a real youth
program was started which caused the number of youth players to rise from
4 to 25. Desperado even enrolled a youth team into the national
competition and for the first time a youth tournament was organised
alongside the regular one.
1998 was the year of the youth. In Ostend, Saroja Jacobs
became Belgian Champion in the category girls under 12 years old and
Charlotte Maggen vice-champion in the category under 10. Because of this
accomplishment they gained the right to participate in the world
championship in Oropesa del Mar in Spain. The same year also Desperado won
the Flemish national competition for youth under twelve.
The last season, 1999-2000, was one of contradictions.
Even though club membership decreased, some strong players left and less
people participated in the club evenings, we still managed to promote one
of the teams again. So we can look back on ten years of national
competition without once a team degrading!
The new year brings many challenges. After so many
years, Boni Vandermeulen lays down his function as chairman and is
replaced by Johan Vanhaverbeke, who for years used to be the club
secretary. The first priority of the new 'board' is to make the club
evening more popular again. We’ll also have to struggle hard not to let
any team degrade, a task many see as impossible given the weakening of the
So you see: the pub team of the past has grown up.
Desperado is now the biggest club of Vlaams-Brabant and all players in the
first team are +2000. Still, despite the growing professionalism we try as
much as possible to keep the ambience and easy going atmosphere of the
My God ... there's ten of them this
12th Open Tournament of
9-12 November 2000
(organised by Desperado Leuven)
Frank Beckers reports
Desperado has got the taste for it! The 12th Open Tournament of Leuven is just
over and the club announces to organise next year a new youth tournament on
Saturday 4 November and from 8 to 11 November the 13th Open Tournament. After
all these years everything went very well. According to some even too well. How
are we going to fill our booklets now without any accidents?
With 116 participants the last
tournament scored about 30 players less than the previous year, but this is
still the third best attendance result since we started to organise the
tournament. Unlike previous editions the higher rated players did not attend.
The only grandmaster present was Alexander Dgebuadze (2536), but he did not seem
to have been in best form. By allowing too many draws, he put himself out in the
race for first place even though the second rated player, Serge Vanderwaeren,
had 200 rating points less. The thirdly rated player, Danial Saibulatov, was the
only other player with a +2300 rating.
No less than ten English players of
chess club KingsHead from London visited the tournament. Last year some of them
have already participated as well. Apparently they enjoyed the city of Leuven
and the Belgian beer so much they now came with a greater delegation. As Mark
Huba said if it wouldn't have been for the stormy weather and floods in London
before the tournament, even more players would have travelled along. Some of
them had to stay at home to clean up the mess from the water damage. At good-bye
they promised to come back in 2001 and said we might even be expecting about 20
The first round started Thursday 9
November 2000 after a minute of silence in memory of home player Johan Borst,
who has passed away some weeks before the tournament. Bernard Malfliet and
Manfred Grede were the arbiters. The results of the first round reflected
perfectly the rating differences between the players. On practically all boards
the highest rated player won. The only surprises were the losses of Viktor Yudin
(2093) against Geoffrey Lhost (1734) and Frank Albert (2014) against Stijn Van
Already in the second game on Friday,
Dgebuadze loses his first half point when he gets no further than a draw against
Laurent Bruno (2208). Jeroen Claesen (2253) and Serge Vanderwaeren (2338), who
will keep playing on first board until the end, take the lead.
We also note the first player to
withdraw from the tournament but Koen Heynen (2098) and Natal Maes (1930), both
from Desperado, join for the second and third round respectively. Koen starts by
winning three games in a row but must then recognise the superiority of Jan Van
Mechelen (2223). Natal wins his first game against Mark Huba (1464) with a
beautiful combination to get a final result of 4 out of 5!
Round 7 starts with only two players
left to have the maximum number of points: Serge and Jeroen. Serge though has to
give in to Stephen Berry (2279) who wins and thereby shares first place with
Jeroen who draws against Tom Croonenbergs. For the first time since our club
organises the tournament a Flemish player, and one from Leuven, wins the
tournament. The last Belgian player to win the tournament was...Pieter Claesen,
elder brother of Jeroen. In those years the Vrijpion still organised the
Nice Stephen Berry of KingsHead later
said this was his best tournament result to date. With 5.5 out of 7 Serge
Vanderwaeren ended up in third place together with 6 other players, amongst whom
Alexander Dgebuadze and Viktor Yudin. Yudin started with a loss but ended
strongly. Noteworthy is the fine accomplishment of twelve-year old Amarjargal
Dorjbar who already won the category under twelve in the youth tournament and
scored 3.5 in the open.
And what about the Desperado's? With
4.5 out of 7 Thomas Massoels was the highest scoring club member and won his
rating category. Also Alex Dubrulle won a prize in his category.
- Jeroen Claesen 6.0/7 Stephen
Berry 6.0/7 3. Serge Vanderwaeren 5.5/7 4. Danial Saibulatov 5.5/7 5. Claude