Meneer Vermaak

If it is entertainment you are after, then forget about tonight’s new series of the X Factor. If your preferred form of entertainment involves the 64 squares, then you need never look any further than the Dutch IM, Manuel Bosboom. Manuel is one of those players, who never plays a dull game. His openings are wild and woolly, and his clock-handling is anything but rational most of the time, but that only goes to make his games even more fun to watch.

Photo: Chess Vibes

Manuel’s watchword is attack. Not for him the intricate positional subtleties of a manoeuvering game – Manuel is a regicide, in the finest sense of the word. He loves slaying kings, and usually finds a way to get at the opponent’s monarch, however well-protected it may be. When it comes to the inevitable time-scramble, in which almost all of his games culminate, there are few players more effective, because, despite his 2400 rating, he has a reputation as one of the best blitz players in The Netherlands. He even once beat Garry Kasparov in a blitz game, when the latter was crushing almost all of the opposition (Anand and Kramnik included) in the once-traditional rest day blitz tournament at the Wijk aan Zee tournament.

As it happens, Manuel has just started playing a small international round-robin event in Holland, the BDO Masters in Haarlem. I visited this event several years ago, and it is a delightful little tournament. When I went, it was being played in a hotel in the centre of the town, which was decorated in Ancient Egyptian theme style, with busts of Tutankhamun surrounding the boards. In today’s first round, Manuel played an absolutely typical Bosboom game, decimating a strong and solid opponent, with characteristic bravado. Here is the game:

[Event “BDO Chess Tournament 2011”]
[Site “Haarlem/The Netherlands”]
[Date “2011.08.20”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Bosboom, Manuel”]
[Black “Vaibhav, Suri”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “A13”]
[WhiteElo “2399”]
[BlackElo “2430”]
1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. a3 Be7 If you are expecting a boring old QGD, you do not know Manuel Bosboom. His next is a favourite line of his, with which he was won many spectacular games.

5. g4 O-O 6. Rg1 c5 7. b4 This pawn offer is another Bosboom trademark. Black decides to play safe. b6 8. Bb2 Bb7 9. g5 Ne4 10. d3 Nd6 11. Nbd2 Nd7 12. Qc2 Re8 13. h4 Bf8 14. h5

A bit more fun than trying to eek out a small edge against the Lasker Defence, don’t you agree?  e5 15. cxd5 Bxd5 16. e4 Bb7 17. Bh3 Nb5 18. g6 Nd6 19. Ng5 Re7 20. Nc4

Now the black knight on d6 is removed, and his f7-square collapses. Nf6 21. Nxe5 fxg622. hxg6 h6 23. Ngf7 Qc7 24. Qb3 c4 25. dxc4 Ndxe4 26. O-O-O Rc8 27. c5

I think we can all see what is going to happen now!

bxc5 28. Nxh6+ Kh8 29. Nef7+ Rxf7 30. Nxf7+ Kg8 31. Bxc8 Bxc8 32. Nh6+ Kh8

And now here it comes

33. Qg8+Nxg8 34. Nf7+ Qxf7 35. gxf7 Bf5 36. Rh1+ Bh7 37. Rd8 1-0

The final position, a picture of total domination, deserves a diagram:

I will return to Holland’s Mr Entertainment in a future post, but if you want to follow his games from Haarlem, you can do so at or at the official tournament site.

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