Young chess players Casper and Mathijs from Best chess mat parents and computers with the greatest ease | Best, Meierijstad and Søn

BEST – Next weekend is the Dutch Chess Championship in Best. A home game for Casper Deij (10) and Mathijs Vogels (11).

Chess, this is not the very first sport that comes to mind with two boys aged 10 and 11 years. But Casper and Mathijs have been playing the ‘royal game’ for about four years now. And yes, they are getting better and better at it, of course. The best thing about chess, according to the two, is ‘the challenge, the thinking, the strategic and tactical part, recognizing the patterns’. “And it’s a bit of relaxation, too,” Casper says. He is in his third year of high school, Mathijs in eighth grade at the Antonius Child Center. It is also the venue for the Dutch Chess Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

72 children participate

No coincidence that the tournament is right there. The championship was almost canceled because no one signed up for the chess federation with a suitable placement. Mathijs’ mother, Femke, works as a teacher at Antonius and agreed with the school management that the tournament can be held there. For example, the 72 placed children can physically compete for the title of Youth Champion in the Netherlands up to and including 12 years.

Among them Mathijs and Casper, both equally fanatical in the field of chess and equal in strength. They rate their chances for the tournament reasonably well. Mathijs thinks he will be somewhere around the twentieth place, Casper fully betting on the ‘top 15’. The most formidable competitor is last year’s youth champion, who is also participating again. Both thought their very first chess match was the most beautiful so far. They both came first. And Casper still smiles when he talks about his eighth place finish last year at the Dutch Championships.


My dad is good too, but I can easily get him now

Casper Deij

The boys can checkmate an inexperienced player within a few moves. They also effortlessly beat relatives these days. Or as Casper puts it: “My father is good too, but I can easily have him now.” Mathijs would like to play more matches at home, ‘but there is no opposition here’. And even the computer is often no match for the smart guys.

It is a real mind sport, although the two are not only indoors to improve their chess skills, they also practice physical sports. Mathijs korfball, Casper atletik. Both are also big fans of Max Verstappen, judging by the merchandise from the top driver in the bedrooms. The resemblance to chess? “It can both go very fast and also be over very quickly,” they say with a laugh. There is also a favorite chess player, the current world champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway. “But to hang a poster of it in your room now, it’s just going too far.”


Some may be as excited as they are about a football game

The mothers Anja and Femke

As with all other sports, chess also has a etiquette that participants must adhere to. Mathijs: ,, You wish each other a nice game beforehand and afterwards you say ‘good fight’. And you always put the chess pieces neatly back on the board in the starting position. ” They also sometimes encounter unsportsmanlike opponents in chess, just like parents who like to get involved, say mothers Femke and Anja: ,, Some people can get as excited as they are at a football match. They may not shout, but afterwards they will seek redress from the arbitrator and can then enter into very long discussions. ”

Kevin Wan Ze Gang and Freek Thijssen

Casper and Mathijs are not the only participants from the region. Kevin Wan Ze Gang (also from Best) and Freek Thijssen from Son en Breugel have also qualified for the Dutch national championships. The tournament is held on the first floor of the school building on Vlinderhei. Saturday from 10.30 to 17.30 and Sunday until 16.00. The youth group numbers 1 and 2 and the girls’ number 1 qualify for EJK from 15.-22. October.

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