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Chess Club Paul Keres Flourishes at Tribes Utrecht Central Station

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Chess, the timeless game of strategy and intellect, has captured minds for centuries. Today, on World Chess Day, we take the opportunity to celebrate this ancient game and the cultural impact worldwide. We are thrilled to shine a light on the renowned Chess Club Paul Keres, a vibrant community of chess enthusiasts who have found their home at Tribes Utrecht Central Station.

As the strongest chess club in Utrecht, Paul Keres has a rich history, a diverse membership, and a deep commitment to promoting the intellectual pursuit and sporting spirit of chess. We had the pleasure of speaking with Club Chairman Niels Ondersteijn, who kindly shares his knowledge and insights with us to help us learn more about this amazing chess club.

A History of Excellence

Originally founded as a student club in 1968, Chess Club Paul Keres has evolved over the decades, welcoming members ranging from 15 to 85 years old. “But the character remains!” says Niels, referring to the unique camaraderie embodied by the club's community that spans generations and fosters intergenerational interactions.

The club holds its internal competition each Thursday evening at Tribes Utrecht, and organises special monthly events such as blitz tournaments, simuls, and masterclasses. These occasions provide opportunities for players to hone their skills, learn from experienced players, and share their passion for chess.

Contact Niels to learn more about chess events that can be organised especially for Tribes members!

The club's commitment to fostering local talent is also reflected in its participation in the national chess leagues, with six teams of 8-10 players participating in various divisions. Niels proudly explains, “The first team plays in the highest chess division, the Meersterklasse, which consists of many talented players, all from Utrecht and surroundings. Our top player is chess Grandmaster Hugo ten Hertog.”

A Perfect Match

Chess Club Paul Keres used to play in various schools across the eastern part of Utrecht. However, as they realised the need for a new venue in 2022, the club embarked on a search for a new home. After an extensive search and trials at different venues, they found that Tribes was the perfect match!

“The experience has been very positive! Members are very happy to play chess at Tribes. The canteen and meeting rooms have enough space, are cozy, and the coffee is excellent - very important for a chess game that can last four hours! The central location of Tribes has made it convenient for both our existing members and newcomers to travel by train on chess nights. We have also received positive feedback from visiting chess players from other cities who appreciate the new chess venue at Tribes.”

A Personal Chess Journey

Niels Ondersteijn is an accomplished chess player himself, having played for over 30 years since his parents first taught him at the age of 7. Niels quickly joined a local chess club and gradually improved, eventually reaching the esteemed level of International Chess Master (IM) in 2018. In addition to his personal achievements, Niels cherishes the community aspect of chess; “I joined Paul Keres 10 years ago when I came to live in Utrecht, and I immediately liked the club. Not only for the strong players and competition, but even more so the social aspect. Everyone enjoys playing chess and is a fan of the club. I’m very proud to see what the club and our many volunteers are organising”

Memorable Moments and Future Endeavours

“The move to Tribes, which feels like an upgrade of the venue, is definitely a highlight of last year!” Says Niels. Regarding chess achievements, he highlights the clubs first team’s promotion to the highest league in the Netherlands one year ago, and their impressive fourth-place finish, surpassing many teams that include paid players in their line-ups. He also shared the excitement of the club awaiting to play in the European Championships for teams in October. "With two amateur teams, we will be playing chess in Albania! Guaranteed an awesome experience for the players!"

Chess as a sport and intellectual pursuit

“Chess is one of the oldest games in the world. Chess is played on all levels and ages, between people of all backgrounds and in all (online) places. Playing chess can help you focus, analyse, develop creativity, deal with pressure, and improve problem-solving. Wins can be fantastic; losses can be horrible. After hours of play, one bad move can lead to a disaster. On the other hand, winning with pre-designed plans is a lot of fun. Everything is possible in chess!"

Whether you’re a seasoned grandmaster or a curious beginner, chess is a game that brings everyone together! Learn more about the Chess Club Paul Keres at www.paulkeres.nl

Would you like Chess Club Paul Keres to organise an event for you or your company at Tribes Utrecht? Contact Niels to learn more about the possibilities.

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