January 24, 2012

Free day in Den Haag

Days are flying, especially if you are in Wijk aan Zee, for the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Don't ask me how and when, but it's almost round number 10! A lot of work and efforts are put into the games, so it's normal to have some free days, especially for such a long tournament of 13 rounds. Yesterday the players had the chance to relax, to recharge the batteries and, if they felt like, to join the organized excursion to The Hague! Let's see how it was:

The first stop on our tour: Panorama Mesdag!
I was really impressed, and so were all the other players, by this
cylindrical painting - more than 14 metres high and about 40 metres in diameter (120 metres in circumference)!
360 degrees of pure beauty!
Scheveningen village, a small section of the Panorama .

The Panorama Mesdag was painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1881). The panorama is viewed from a constructed dune, with real sand and beach chairs; birdsong and wave sounds are piped through - a spectacular illusion that seems to become reality! I felt like I went back in time, in the 19th century...you should definetely see it if you get the chance.

Another panoramic view, over The Hague 

The center of the Dutch political scene,
seen from up, from the 42nd floor, where...

...we enjoyed the lunch break!

Is it just my impression or chess is oftenly used
as an allegory of the political struggle?!

On our way to the heart of Dutch politics

Before you enter, you can raise your mood by eating the famous
Dutch raw fish: Haring!

"Buitenhof", which means we are still outside of the 'magical'
world of politics...

And...Binnenhof! Almost there:)

Our group taking a seat, preparing to listen carefully the guide's explanations.

The Ridderzaal (Knights' Hall) is the main building at the Binnenhof in The Hague, which is used for the state opening of Parliament on the third Tuesday in September, Prinsjesdag, when the Dutch monarch drives to Parliament in the Golden Carriage and delivers the speech from the throne. It is also used for official royal receptions, and interparliamentary conferences.
Roof detail: 'everything you say will be heard!'

Very open area for everyone: Historical place with a typical Dutch design of splendor and two feet on the ground mentality.

Next stop: the house of Representatives, Second Chamber.
I have no pictures from there; we had to leave everything behind, in these lockers. Only one little 'problem' some of us had, on the way out: the code I remember, but...which was my locker?!

Nanda, taking care of the details of our excursion.
And I must say she did a great job!

Are you talking to me?!


Hey! A Tata Steel bus!
That's our transportation:)

After the cultural part, it's time for: Glow Golf!
You wouldn't believe it, but chess players are quite gifted for this activity:)

Illya Nyzhnyk in action, closely watched by Lazaro Bruzon

We couldn't have had a better timing: sunset in Scheveningen!
Maybe you heard of the popular Dutch seaside resort, which is
also the birth place of the Scheveningen Variation?!

Van der Valk: the restaurant where we had a fantastic dinner.

Wondering how come the chess players were able in 1923,
to focus on chess and even introduce a revolutionary line, with such distractions?!

During the tournament, the Scheveningen variation was played several times by strong players, including Euwe playing it against Maroczy.

Prize giving ceremony for the Glow Golf winners:)

Dinner time

The tournament treasurer Arno Vrins and his wife, celebrating 30 years of marriage with us, the chess players! I hope they had a good time,
because we surely did!

Apple pie, one of the Dutch specialities - to end a perfect day!


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