IGM Karel Van der Weide And The Need For Speed

karel-boekAfter IGM Karel van der Weide wrote “Chess for housewives” (Schaken voor huisvrouwen – Arbeiderspers, 2008) we have had to wait a few years for a new publication. It had always been in the pipeline, but when the new Belgium publishing house ThinkersPublishing appraoched IGM Van der Weide and asked him to write his chess technical memoirs, things got new momentum. Well, I can tell you the waiting has been worth it.

“A chess life in 100 games” (Een schaakleven in 100 partijen / language: Dutch / ThinkersPublishing, 2015) is an interesting and hefty volume filled with analysis and interesting chess stories. Van der Weide, sometimes dubbed “The Dutch Tal”, has divided the book into four sections:

  1. White repertoire
  2. Black repertoire
  3. On the road
  4. Combinations

IGM Van der Weide is a modest man and introduces himself and his career cautiously. Although it may be true that he has never reached the highest echelons of chess, it becomes apparent from many of his games that Van der Weide was and still is a very dangerous chess grandmaster with a clear and uncompromising style of play. Many world renowned grandmasters have had to experience this the hard way. Just to name a few: Vladimir Epishin, Tiger Hillarp-Persson, Simen Agdestein, Vasilias Kotronias, Vlastimil Hort and Lubomir Ftacnik.

Van der Weide also mentions that he has had the good fortune to train with some very experienced chess players, most notably Genna Sosonko and Yasser Seirawan. Also many Dutch chess players have had an important influence on Van der Weide’s chess development and he gives credit where credit is due.

Playing Style

When Karel became serious about chess as a profession, he realized that he had to switch opening gears. Whereas he had mostly been playing 1.e4 followed by some sort of king side fianchetto, he understood that in order to have a better chance of opening advantage at the higher levels, it was imperative to start playing the main lines. In the book he describes how his repertoire changed and which openings became his main weapons. Probably the most notable change was the one from the closed Sicilian to the Open Sicilian and this change enabled him to further define his playing style which I would like to describe as a purely attacking one, fuelled with the need for speed.

Van der Weide, being the IGM that he is, has a very fine feel for the deployment of his pieces and everyone interested in improving his or her opening play should study at least this aspect of his games. Never were Caissa’s golden rules of the opening honored more as in Van der Weide’s games. Karel strives to develop all of his pieces from move one and often prefers to give up material in order to not lose time and invite everybody to the party. To illustrate this, I invite the reader to play through the next two games:

Click on the first move to start playing the game

Click on the first move to start playing the game

Out & About

In the third chapter Van der Weide describes the many chess tournaments and adventures that he has experienced abroad. He writes with great admiration about the German speaking countries. Other countries and places are frequently less well off. Van der Weide has a dry and ironic sense of humor and while reading the chapter I found myself laughing or smiling frequently. Especially funny are the sections about his “brother” Eduard.

Being a frequent travel companion of Karel, I want to include the following game from this chapter. I was playing in the same tournament and remember it quite well. Van der Weide qualifies it as “a classic”.

Click on the first move to start playing the game

Tactical Wizardry

Although the reader can enjoy some fine technical endgames by his hand, Van der Weide prefers to win his games in the middlegame. he very often does so with intricate combinations. In the last chapter Van der Weide adds a few in the form of puzzles. From that section I have chosen the following one and I invite you to leave a message with the solution!


White to play and win

How To Get The Book

I have enjoyed reading Karel’s stories and playing through his games. I have learned a lot about piece development, deployment and attacking chess. All in all I would say: recommended reading and kudos to both the author and publisher!

Interested readers can purchase the book using one of the following resources:




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