Chess in Beverwijk and Wijk aan Zee
Jan van Reek
The steel industry commenced late in the Netherlands. Two blast-furnaces were built in the dunes near Velsen after the First World War. The company was called ‘Hoogovens’. It had hobby clubs. The steel workers began a chess club after Max Euwe became the world champion.
This small club organised a New Year’s tournament in 1938. Forty players took part in ten groups during the weekend of 15 and 16 January. The first round was played on Saturday evening. Sunday morning was devoted to churchgoing. Round two occurred in the afternoon. Then a joint meal happened. Round three followed in the evening and everybody went home thereafter.
Veldheer had the courage to invite Euwe for the third Hoogovens tournament. He accepted and arranged a leave for the mobilised soldier Nico Cortlever. The greatest happening in 1942 was the pea soup dinner on Sunday, because food had become scarce during the war. The tournament could not take place during the hunger winter in 1945.
Common people had turned the weekend event into a large Dutch tournament. The basis had remained fully amateurishly, because little money was involved for the invitee. This would change after the war, when foreign players got entry fees. Later it became a modern sponsor event.
Holland slowly recovered, when the war was over. The former winners Wijnans and Van den Hoek had disappeared in Germany. Hoogovens became similar to Hastings, because foreign players were invited in 1946. The Belgian O’Kelly won before the Swede Stoltz. Petrosian and Flohr played in 1960, as the first Soviet participants. The main group became a grandmaster tournament at that time. Donner won Beverwijk 1963.
The tournament moved to Wijk aan Zee in 1968. Hotel Kennemerduin became the playing hall. Commentary was given on the main floor. The higher groups played upstairs and the lower classes belonged in the cellar. Nearby Café De Zon was used in later years. When the event kept growing, the sports centre, De Moriaan, was transformed into the main hall.
No Soviet player came in 1978, because the defector Korchnoi participated. Nevertheless, the event stayed a super tournament. I enjoyed the quiet winter atmosphere in Wijk aan Zee, as a participant of the master group in 1978 and 1980.
A Dutch highlight was the victory by Timman in 1985. Anatoly Karpov triumphed in the fiftieth tournament in 1988. The weather stormed the 'Moriaan' and the Polgár sisters stormed the male bastion in 1990. Special features were the knockout tournaments in 1993 and 1995. Jongsma and Münninghoff wrote a book about the sixty years until 1998.
The level of the main group and the number of participating amateurs went up and down with the profit of the steel industry. Business boomed in the 1990s. Therefore, the top three players, Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik, could be invited for 1999. Kasparov played a great tournament. The event made a super trio with Linares and Dortmund since that year.
When Hoogovens and British Steel merged, the name became Corus. The chess tournament continued under this name in 2000. The number of amateurs in numerous groups stayed at 1600. Kasparov scored 9˝/13.
The strongest event in the series was played in 2001, because nine top ten players participated. Kasparov won the tournament for the third time in a row and scored 9/13. He participated no longer from 2002, but the level remained high.
Anand had a lot of success. Carlsen won three times.
Tata Steel 2011-14
The new sponsor name became Tata Steel in 2011. Aronian won twice.
Winners of the main group