A couple of weeks ago I played my first game in the Dutch League for SISSA. SISSA are an ambitious team from Groningen who are gunning for promotion to the top division. In the first game of the season we were playing our rivals for the top spot, Kennemer Combinatie, based in Haarlem.
I decided to take the overnight ferry across from Harwich to Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) which was very relaxing and met with a couple of team mates at Schipol airport and another new recruit, my countryman, David Howell. We had time for an hour or so outside a pleasant cafe in the centre of Haarlem and then onto the venue for the match.
I noticed a good omen as we arrived at the venue. The playing hall was called ‘King Arthur’! For those of you who don’t know English mythology, King Arthur was famous for holding court with many chivalric knights, one of whom, his nephew, was called Sir Gawain. I doubt Kennemer Combinatie were expecting us to be so strong but we still only just outrated them and it looked like it was a very close match.
I was playing Black on board two against GM Wouter Spoelman. Wouter doesn’t seem to play so much at the moment but had a fantastic Dutch Championships and only lost out on tiebreak. As he was surprised to be playing me he opted for the English against my Kings Indian but I played the first game I was happy with for a while and won a nice game. I annotated the game for ChessVibes Training but below is the game.
My game was first to finish and I’d like to think I inspired the rest of team as we romped home 7.5-2.5, a fantastic result. You can see the full scorecard here (click on 1A for our scorecard). Afterwards the team came back to the airport to celebrate before David and I flew back to London. A very quick trip but I hope to pop across again soon. I’d like to thank the whole team for being very welcoming and for a very enjoyable day.