Student sporting event with 72 participants

Thomas van Polen (23) won the Wageningen student chess tournament, which was held for the eighth time.
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The Wageningen student chess tournament had 72 participants this year, making it the biggest event on Wageningen’s student sporting calendar this academic year. The tournament was played on Monday 12 April, starting at 19:30. It was completely online.

The tournament was organized by Thymos in partnership with the Wageningen Chess Club. The 72 participants played seven games each in a tournament that lasted two hours. Each game lasted seven minutes plus three seconds for each move (known as the ‘increment’). Four chess players won six of their seven games. Thomas van Polen (23) won the tournament based on inter-player results and performance points. ‘I came fourth last year. I’m pleased with my win; everything went my way.’

Games as a break from studying

WUR student Van Polen started playing chess at primary school with his best friend when he was about ten, but he lost interest after a couple of years when they joined the seniors. He took it up again about 18 months ago when he and a friend were watching someone playing chess. ‘That friend started to challenge me, and say how good he was. But when we played one another, I kept pace with him. Since then, we often play games as a break from studying.’

Playing chess online has become the new normal since the coronavirus outbreak. Van Polen: ‘When you spend so much time on your laptop, it’s tempting to play the occasional game of chess during a lecture so I didn’t see playing the tournament online as a problem. I do find online chess less intense and of course it’s nice to see your opponent sweating in real life about a position they’ve lost.’

Wageningen Chess Club has published a report of the tournament.

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