In this year's Amsterdam Pub Crawlers' tournament, held on 5th July, I was lucky enough to be paired with former winner, Ivo Timmermans. This is the resulting sob-story. We started and continued very well, scoring 8/10 in the first five rounds, my own score on board 2 being a perfect 5/5. In round 6 we were paired against the formidable Li Riemersma and Eddy Sibbing. Playing black against Sibbing, I got lucky when he dropped a pawn for no compensation and won quickly. Ivo's game was entirely different. His game, rook & bishop -v- rook & knight but with a pawn minus, went to the wire, finishing with 3 united black pawns marching down the kingside against Ivo's surviving (black-squared) bishop and h pawn. Riemersma's flag eventually fell in a position in which his pawns had been successfully blockaded and were destined to fall.
To the last round, then, on 10/12 with my perfect score still intact. I was paired against Hilke van den Berg with the advantage of the white pieces. After 20 moves of a Grand Prix Attack we reached the sharp position below with white to play.
Ivo, meanwhile, bravely and successfully battled on for the full point, even refusing a draw in an inferior or, at best, equal position. Thus we finished on 11/14 with my score a very satisfactory 6/7, enough for a share of fourth place. Except that it could and should have been more! Had I converted what was a winning attack we would have shared first place, finishing even further above our predicted position than we did. However, the chess gods can take away as well as give, and they chose the worst possible time to hand me such a difficult position. Maybe next year will be different.