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Dutch Open Checkers Championship
Alex Baljakin in Culemborg

Culemborg City View
Culemborg City View
Culemborg City View 2
Culemborg City View 2
Checkers ‘Panterhai’ Facility
Checkers ‘Panterhai’Facility
In the spring of 2006, at the Dutch Open Checkers Championship, Alex Baljakin participated in the Netherlands National Checkers Championship in Culemborg. This National Dutch Open mind sport competition, primarily sponsored by Euro-American investors, held a number of surprises throughout the competition. Kees Thijssen was the defending champion and a strong favorite, as were Alex Baljakin and Gerard Jansen. One difference in the Dutch Open Checkers tournament play was that organizers had set a faster pace with and rigid program with double rounds in a given day.
Opening Ceremony at Netherlands Checkers Championship
Opening Ceremony at
Netherlands National Checkers
Dutch Open Championship
Kees Thijssen vs Alex Baljakin Dutch Open
Kees Thijssen
Alex Baljakin at the Dutch Open
This format was not without consequences, as it seemed that the faster tempo of play at the checkerboard caused errors in judgment and regrettable mistakes. Though Kees Thijssen and Auke Scholma scored seven points each in the first four rounds, secured a strong lead in the checkers game arena and broke the tradition that opening rounds usually tended to end in draws, they were also victims of a defeat. Kees lost to Ron in a combination meant to take a win, but ended with one checker left on the checkerboard. Auke was defeated in the end of a long checkers game that he thought for sure he could win.

Alex Baljakin, Hans Jansen, and Gerard Jansen also began with a strong opening at the Dutch Open, but Anton de Berkel defeated Baljakin’s checker moves. The end result, however, was still a higher win ratio throughout the competition than in previous years. Unforeseen mistakes led to tournament surprises to the delight of the game spectators.

Alex Baljakin vs Kloosterziel
Alex Baljakin
Michiel Kloosterziel
Dutch National Champions Thijssen (1st) Ron Heusdens (2nd) Auke Scholma (3rd)
Dutch National Champions Dutch Open
Kees Thijssen (1st)
Ron Heusdens (2nd)
Auke Scholma (3rd)
The final outcome ended with Kees Thijssen winning first place with 19 points in 13 checkers games, Ron Heudens finishing second with a much better performance than the previous year and Auke Scholma ranking third. Alex Baljakin favored just behind the leaders and finished in fourth place overall with 16 points.

Then in May, Baljakin was on the road again in the checkers circuit to Bunschoten seven kilometers north of Amersfoort in the Province of Utrecht in order to contest in the Barnsteen Toernooi or Tournament held at the Denksportcentrum “En Passant” ~ the Mind Sport Center called ‘En Passant’.

Denksportcentrum “En Passant”

The roster of checkers masters for this competition was not only quite diverse, but rather unique as there were only five GMI (Grandmaster International) players, which included Alex Baljakin, Kees Thijssen, Hans Jansen, Jean-Marc Ndjofang and Macodou N’diaye. The rest of the playing field hosted one (MI) Aleksej Domtsjev, one (MF) Pim Meurs and one (cMN) Bennie Provost, while the remainder of the checkers game players ranged in various novice and intermediate levels of expertise. The checkerists consisted of men, women and youth, where all looked to play to the best checkers game of their ability.

The checkers championship competition took place over a period of four days and included both tournament and friendly games between the contestants. Fellowship, good food and many great plays across the checkerboard were the highlights of this checkers mind sport match. For those who decided to venture out after hours of sitting still, intent on an opponent’s strategies and tactical maneuvers, Bunschoten also offered a countryside and views to relax the weary mind.

Bunschoten Museum, ‘Kerk’~ Church
Bunschoten Museum, ‘Kerk’~ Church
‘Toren’~ Tower
‘Toren’~ Tower

Bunschoten Street Façade
Bunschoten Street Façade
View of the Quay
View of the Quay

Baljakin at the Checkerboard Alex vs Pim Meurs
Baljakin Strategy at the Checkerboard
Alex vs Pim Meurs
Baljakin Strategy at the Checkerboard Alexej Domtsjev
Baljakin Strategy at the Checkerboard
Alexej Domtsjev vs Baljakin

Alex Baljakin vs Bert Zwart
Alex Baljakin vs Bert Zwart
Gerbrand Hessing vs Alex Baljakin
Gerbrand Hessing vs Alex Baljakin

Alex and Kees Thijssen in competitive and friendly checkers games
Alex Baljakin and Kees Thijssen in competitive and friendly checkers games.

Alex and Kees in good checkers games
Alex Baljakin and Kees Thijssen in competitive and friendly fun checkers games.

As the Barnsteen tournament came to a close, Alex Baljakin, Kees Thijssen and Bennie Provoost were tied with four wins and three draws apiece, so the final finish was based on the total T-rating at the end of the competition. Throughout the checkers game play, this rating had changed numerous times, as had the leading positions amongst the top ‘dammers’. The final outcomes, however, allotted 11 points to each of the top three players, but Kees finished in first place and won the Gold cup with a T-rating of 2217. Bennie Provoost placed second and won the Silver award with a T-rating of 2207, and Alex Baljakin was 3rd to win the Bronze award.

Kees finished in first place to win the Bronze award

As summer approached, Alex Baljakin prepared for another sojourn into the checkers arena with his impending challenge in the DNC Axioma Open in Den Haag (The Hague).

DeerLake Online Store Items

Wonder Mugs Play checkers online, and enjoy drinking from this cool wonder mug.
When adding hot liquid, the colors of the mug will change, checkers cool.

Checkers is a two-player game, where one player is assigned white-chip checkers and the other red. The aim is to play checkers online, capture all of the other player's checkers or make them impossible to move.

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