3rd Antwerp Open GIPF Tournament

Organisation: GIPF Centre
Place: De Nieuwe Zurenborger, Antwerp (B)
Date: December 5, 1999
Format category 3: round robin, 10 min. player/game
Format category 2: Swiss system, 6 rounds, 20 min. player/game
Format category 1: Swiss system, 7 rounds, 25 min. player/game
Participants: 42

Ruyters & Ruyters dominate!

December 5? Bad timing! December 6, Saint Nicolas' birthday, fell on a Monday this year, which meant that 1/2 of Belgium (and 3/4 of The Netherlands) were going to celebrate the holy man one day earlier, i.e. the day of the 3rd Open GIPF Tournament. About 15 people were so kind to let me know that they could not be there because of family obligations. First things first, right. Bad timing happens when somebody - like myself - forgets about daily life because of compulsive GIPF- behavior.
Nevertheless, 47 people did not feel close enough with Saint Nicolas to stay home and ring bells and blow horns. 47 players, that already represents a bit of weight. At the last moment the tournament got what was lacking up to that point: international input. First Ralf Friedrich (D) singed in, and next Christophe Weimann (F). With the 3 registered Dutchmen (Koen De Jongh, Fred Kok en Teun De Lange), that brought the total up to 5 players from across the Belgian borders.
The morning of the tournament 3 players called off because of more urgent obligations. 2 simply didn't show up, which meant that the number of participants dropped back to 42 - still enough weight, I thought. Per category that was: 14 players in category 1, 22 in category 2 and 6 in category 3.

Felix Vermeulen (10 year) appeared to be the strongest in category 3. He won 5 out of 5 games and made clear that he rules amongst the players under 14 year. However, Margo De Lange (10 year), is somebody the keep an eye on. She scored 4 wins. When playing against Felix, she was clearly in the lead at a certain moment and Felix wasn't able to take over until Margo had, let's say, a bad idea… Anyway, a remarkable fact is that they both scored higher than their 12 year old opponents. Sten Dielen (12) took the 3rd place and tied on the 4th place were Anton De Lange (12), Tina Van Hoof (12) and Dries Burm (9).

No Name Age Total 1 2 3 4 5
1. Vermeulen, Felix 10 5 4:W 3:W 5:W 6:W 2:W
2. De Langhe, Anton  12 1 5:L 6:W 3:L 4:L 1:L
3. De Lange, Margo 10 4 6:W 1:L 2:W 5:W 4:W
4. Burm, Dries 9 1 1:L 5:L 6:L 2:W 3:L
5. Dielen, Sten 12 3 2:W 4:W 1:L 3:L 6:W
6. Van Hoof, Tina 12 1 3:L 2:L 4:W 1:L 5:L

As could be assumed in advance, category 2 was the largest group. Although it concerned beginners and occasional players, the level of play was most certainly higher than expected. The best proof of that point is that some of the favorites (i.e. the more regular players) had to bite the dust more than once.
Amongst the protagonists: André De Laet, Werner Hanzen, Fred Kok, Lud Dielen en Jeroen Weyn. Fred Kok didn't appear to be in his best shape. Since he regained his world title LAO during the last MSO, he had hardly played a game of GIPF, meaning that he couldn't find his rhythm in Antwerp. Apart from that, he also recognized that quite a lot of the newcomers showed convincingly that they know how to play the game. So, even in this "beginners" category there were no easy matches. The most important antagonists were Gie Celis, Johan Beersmans, Christophe Weimann and Teun De lange.
Back to the favorites: Werner Hanzen took off with 2 wins. Next he beat top-favorite André De Laet in the 3rd round but then lost his concentration and gave away 2 games. Luc Dielen and Jeroen Weyn remained unbeaten with 4 straight wins each, but Luc couldn't take the measure of André De Laet in the 5th round and Jeroen Weyn lost against Johan Beersman. That brought everything back together at the top of the standings with one more round to go. Luc and Jeroen kept their nerves under control and won their last game - and so, out of the blue, did Christophe Weimann. Christophe had lost against Teun De Lange in the 2nd round, but then fought his way back to the top with 4 wins in a row. Luc Dielen won the title with 5 wins out of 6 games, sharing the 1st place with Jeroen and Christophe. Just behind this trio came Werner Hanzen, Johan Beersmans, André De Laet and Gie Celis with 4 wins.


Place Name Score M-Buch. Buch. Progr.
1-3 Dielen, Luc 5 15.0 22.0 19.0
  Weyn, Jeroen 5 13.0 19.0 18.0
  Weimann, Christophe 5 10.0 16.0 16.0
4-7 Hanzen, Werner 4 15.0 23.0 16.0
  Beersmans, Johan 4 15.0 20.0 15.0
  De Laet, André 4 14.0 21.0 16.0
  Celis, Gie 4 12.0 19.0 11.0
8-15 De Langhe, Teun 3 14.0 21.0 12.0
  Boden, Koen 3 13.0 20.0 10.0
  Symons, Wim 3 13.0 19.0 11.0
  Mariman, Ludo 3 13.0 19.0 10.0
  Mignolet, Matty 3 12.0 18.0 9.0
  Kok, Fred 3 10.0 15.0 8.0
  Van Hoof, Wilfried 3 9.0 13.0 12.0
  Schrickx, Frank 3 7.0 11.0 8.0
16-20 Friedrich, Ralph 2 15.0 22.0 10.0
  Mattheeussen, Koen 2 14.0 22.0 11.0
  Van Steenbergen, Vera   2 12.0 17.0 6.0
  Burm, Jan 2 11.0 18.0 7.0
  Derick, Goele 2 8.0 12.0 4.0
21 Van Aelst, Frédéric 1 10.0 13.0 2.0
22 Gubbels, Peter 0 11.0 16.0 0.0


And now category 1, the category of the rulers. All of the strong Belgians were present. A true petty that the high ranked foreigners could not participate. Yoshi "Octopus" Ikkai (J), Stephen "Taff" Tavener (GB), Jochen Berensdorfer (D) and Hans Decker (D) were unable to come over. Luckily there was the dude named Koen De Jongh (NL), the winner of the previous Open GIPF, so that, somehow, it was still possible to have the idea of an international GIPF confrontation.
That morning, before the tournament took off, it seemed as if the participants had only one thing to say to each other: it was going to become a war of attrition: 7 rounds to be played in 8 hours and all games were bound to be tough. Favorites? Not really. Ronny Van Hoof was the only one to whom I gave little chance to become the winner, for the simple reason that he hadn't played GIPF since November last year (i.e. since the previous Open GIPF). Then again he certainly was a strong player, so no doubt that he remained not to be underestimated. I, personally, would have given two players slightly better odds because of their consistency: Kurt Vandenbranden and Aksel De Meester. And maybe Werner Dupont, too, because he showed up again out of nothing last summer, to become the winner of the MSO GIPF Championship. But that didn't mean I would have dared to bet my money on one of them. I hadn't seen playing Dirk Monsieur and Walter Jacobs for a long while, nor the cousins Raf and Romeo Ruyters, so hard to predict in what shape they were going to be - but dangerous they always are. And, as stated above, there was Koen De Jong, the winner of the previous Open GIPF, probably the most natural player, but a fact is that you never know in advance whether he will make things happen or not. The same does count for Mozes De Bruyn, who is the most unpredictable player amongst the Gipfers known to me, the man of the huge risks and the incredible sacrifices, the opponent against whom you never know for sure whether he made a terrible mistake or set a trap that will cost you the game. Brief: a hard boiled all-or-nothing-man. And then there were also Rita Pauwels, Karel Daelemans and Maurice Engelaer, capable of beating the very best players, but so far they haven't succeeded in producing their best play round after round during a tournament. And, last but not least, there was the special case Patrick Van de Perre, also know as Le Maître de Points. Patrick is a consistent player - that is, when he's not playing in the Open GIPF. He looks at it as at a Monstrous Black Beast. Unfortunately, he has every reason to look at it that way, because this year, again, he lost his 3 first games…
But also Koen De Jongh and Aksel De Meester didn't take off well. They began with 1 win out of 3 games. On the other hand, Kurt Vandenbranden, Raf Ruyters and Karel Daelemans started well; they won their first 2 games. That resulted in a first thriller in the 3rd round: Raf versus Kurt. A tight game, that went all the way and could have gone to either player. Both got into time trouble; Raf succeeded in getting the upper-hand, went 3 pieces ahead, but made a mistake and let Kurt back into the game with only seconds to play. At that point Raf's hands started to tremble so hard that executing a move in itself, i.e. putting a piece on the board and pushing into the game, became a bigger problem to deal with than Kurt's resistance. In the end Raf won the game but he had to dig deep…
After having won that game, it looked as if Raf Ruyters - the winner of the 1st Open GIPF - had a god chance of obtaining a second Open GIPF title. He was one win ahead and didn't have too much problems with his 4th round match against Dirk Monsieur. But then his candle started to sputter. Maybe he had to dig too deep against Kurt? He lost in the 5th round against Werner Dupont and in the next round his cousin Romeo wiped him off the board in what must have been the shortest of all the games played in category 1. That win meant that Romeo had taken over the lead with 5 wins, having 5 players at his tail with 4 wins: Raf to start with, further Werner Dupont and Kurt Vandenbranden, but also Aksel De Meester and Koen De Jongh, who both had won their last 3 games.
The key game of the 7th round was Romeo versus Aksel. A 6th win for Romeo would have given him the needed extra point to become the undisputed winner - but Aksel beat him. And also Koen and Kurt won their last game against, respectively, Werner Dupont and Walter Jacobs, which resulted in final standings that show how close the competition was: Romeo Ruyters, Aksel De Meester, Kurt Vandenbranden and Koen De Jong with 5 wins out of 7 games; Werner Dupont, Karel Daelemans, Raf Ruyters and Rita Pauwels with 4 wins; Walter Jacobs, Maurice Engelaer, Dirk Monsieur and Patrick Van de Perre with 3 wins. Mozes De Bruyn and Ronny van Hoof came a bit short this time.
Romeo Ruyters, the highest ranked player who attended, ran a more difficult program than the players with whom he was sharing the 1st place. So, after having obtained a 4th and 7th place in the previous editions, he now became the well deserved winner of the 3rd Open GIPF Tournament.


Place Name Score M-Buch. Buch. Progr.
1-4 Ruyters, Romeo 5 22.0 31.0 20.0
  De Meester, Aksel 5 20.0 28.0 17.0
  Van Den Branden, Kurt  5 18.0 24.0 20.0
  De Jongh, Koen 5 18.0 24.0 16.0
5-8 Dupont, Werner 4 23.0 31.0 19.0
  Daelemans, Karel 4 20.0 25.0 17.0
  Ruyters, Raf 4 19.0 27.0 22.0
  Pauwels, Rita 4 16.0 21.0 13.0
9-12 Jacobs, Walter 3 20.0 25.0 14.0
  Engelaer, Maurice 3 18.0 23.0 12.0
  Monsieur, Dirk 3 16.0 21.0 13.0
  Van De Perre, Patrick 3 14.0 19.0 8.0
13 De Bruyn, Mozes 1 18.0 23.0 5.0
14 Van Hoof, Ronny 0 16.0 21.0 0.0


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