These two words by Donner at a legendary FIDE congress, where his fellow countryman Lodewijk Prins was given the title of grandmaster, nicely sum up the general atmosphere of this tournament. Chairman Eric de Winter of the tournament committee repeated the words, and added: ‘We’ll see, I’ll do my best.’
De Winter praised the enthusiasm of the organizing team and the players of both groups. He especially thanked webmaster Bert Janssen and the three arbiters Thomas van Beekum, Barth Plomp and Huub Blom, for their great contribution to the event for which they hadn’t asked any payment. He also thanked Herman van Riemsdijk, who had been an excellent intermediary between the players and the organization, and also acted as a commentator for three rounds. He played blitz with everyone who wanted. ‘He even made me a slightly better player’, De Winter noted, hopefully. He also thanked the hotel and its personnel, who had showed great hospitality, contributing to the positive atmosphere of the tournament.Next, De Winter thanked all the players for their tremendous fighting spirit. ‘The drawing percentage of less than 30 in this tournament was exceptional and quite sensational’, he said.
Next, De Winter handed out first prizes to the winners of both tournaments, Amon Simutowe and Mark Haast (15), who had become the winner of the Regional Group just before Tom Meurs who is also 15 years old. A group picture was made on the roof of the Rijnhotel.
Of the players, Fridrik Olafsson spoke to thank the organizers and the arbiters, ‘You did a fantastic job’, he said. ‘Seldom have I been in a tournament where the atmosphere was so relaxed and pleasant, and in such beautiful surroundings. This is not uncommon in Holland. I have played here many times and in your country chess is not only a game or a sport, it is culture. The game has deep roots in Holland. It’s impossible to have better conditions than we had here.’
The Icelandic veteran congratulated Amon Simutowe with his stunning victory. ‘You have played very determinedly and resourcefully. Now you will become the first grandmaster in Zambia. I was lucky to be the first in Iceland in my day, and I know what this can mean for chess life in a country, as Max Euwe’s World Champion title did for Holland in 1935. I hope your achievements will bring about a chess boom in Zambia, in the spirit of Max Euwe, whose daughters are present here.
We had a fantastic time here, and unfortunately it has passed too quickly.’
Eric de Winter then proceeded to hand out the GM norm certificate to Amon Simutowe and the IM norm certificate to Puchen Wang, who will no longer need it for the title, ‘but one extra norm won’t hurt’. After all the players of both groups had been handed out their prizes, the glass was raised to a truly exceptional chess event.