NK Corporate Chess 2021
After a year of absence due to COVID-19, the NK corporate chess could take place this year. The fortieth edition of the official chess tournament under the banner of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaakbond (KNSB), which DSE was allowed to organize for the second time – just like in 2016.
Despite the fact that the organization of the tournament started months ago, it remained uncertain for a long time whether – and if so; to what extent – the measures taken regarding COVID-19 would constitute an obstacle to whether the chess tournament could continue. To our great relief, the redeeming word came in mid-September: "from Saturday September 25th, the 1.5 meter measure will no longer apply and unplaced events can continue at 75% of the maximum capacity". Great news! This not only meant that “our” tournament could go ahead, but also that all teams that had registered were allowed to participate. And so, on Saturday October 2nd 2021, almost 200 chess players from 41 different companies could compete for the victory in the well-known chess temple The Moriaan in Wijk aan Zee.
Although this was the first edition of the NK corporate chess since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the world's best chess players also gathered earlier this year in The Moriaan during the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Grandmaster Jorden van Foreest won this tournament and this year he also participated in the NK corporate chess on behalf of Hotels.nl. With an average rating of 2300+, the Hotels.nl team was one of the favorites for the victory. However, DSE also showed up with a very strong team. A team led by former professional and grandmaster Harmen Jonkman.
After opening speeches by Cees Duivenvoorde - CEO of the DSE Group - and Serge Ferraro - alderman for economic affairs "and chess" of the municipality of Beverwijk - the NK corporate chess 2021 could begin. Within DSE, the first round of the tournament was very much looking forward to for several reasons. Not only because this would constitute the official start of the chess tournament, but also because the random draw showed that the first and second team of DSE would face each other in this round. Although the second team put up a strong game, the first team managed to win this round by force majeure. While DSE started the tournament very energetically, favorite Hotels.nl had a hard time. Points were spilled so that after round 5, DSE led the ranking with no less than a difference of two match points and 2.5 board points.
In round six, favorite Hotels.nl and leader DSE faced each other. A direct duel between the captains of both teams, Jorden and Harmen, resulted in a very exciting match. In the end, it was Harmen who took the win. Despite the fact that Harmen performed exceptionally well by winning 5.5 out of 6 games and a tournament performance rating (TPR) of almost 2700 (!) Hotels.nl managed to win the battle with DSE by 3-1. The field collapsed and it promised to be a very exciting final round with several teams still in the running for the overall victory.
As leader of the ranking, the first team of DSE competed against Van Ree Accountants in this final round. Hotels.nl took on the ABN AMRO first team on the other side of the room. Despite DSE winning 2.5-1.5 against the team of Van Ree Accountants, Hotels.nl achieved a bigger win of 3.5-0.5. This resulted in Hotels.nl winning the NK corporate chess 2021. DSE came in second after putting up a great battle and the first team of ING took the bronze. In the individual results, Stefan Kuipers (Bullstore), Marcel Peek (KNSB) and Arie Werksma (ADP) led the ranking with a 7 out of 7 score.
After the tournament, the DSE chess teams, together with the DSE organization team and the tournament leaders, closed off the day together with a drink and dinner. And whoever thinks that seven games of chess spread over six hours is more than enough, is wrong. Even before the first sip was taken, the chessboards were already on the table. During the last chess game that day, Harmen managed to get Rick, Robin and Robert at their wit's end without any effort. He and Cees carefully analyzed their games from earlier that day and Cees told the present DSE employees about how Harmen came to visit him years ago as a seven-year-old boy for chess training.
The passion for chess runs deep within the employees of DSE. You hear it when they talk about their beloved sport. You see it when they drive their opponents mad. We are more than proud that we have been able to organize a successful edition of the NK corporate chess for the second time. The participants were able to enjoy a wonderful day of chess, a delicious lunch and pleasant conversations. It was a tournament never to be forgotten.