Sun Herald, August 26

Having reached a top 20 ranking, very few of the world's best players deign to compete in open tournaments on a regular basis. 

Many play only a handful of invitation-only tournaments each year plus plenty of well-paid and risk-free exhibition events. 

Holland's Loek Van Wely is a notable exception, putting his world ranking on the line anywhere and everywhere. 

Van Wely may find little time for the pre-game preparation valued so much by players such as Garry Kasparov (who has spoken scathingly of the Dutchman) but as an over-the-board fighter, the 28-year-old has few peers. 

In the past two months Van Wely has won the Dutch Championship, finished fifth in the European Championship in Macedonia - a last round loss costing him a possible first place - and then won two strong open tournaments on home soil in Vlissingen and Amsterdam. 

Van Wely's win last week of the Lost Boys Open in Amsterdam was particularly convincing, conceding only three draws in nine rounds to win by a clear point from a powerful field. 

Van Wely's best game was the following from the penultimate round. 

After Van Wely's 20th move, the commentators explained that the tournament leader was about to suffer his first loss. 

Ten moves later, Van Wely's opponent had resigned. 

Amsterdam 2001 
White: E.Van den Doel 
Black: L.Van Wely 
Opening: French Defence 

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Nxf6+ Nxf6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Bd3 Bd7!? As played recently by veteran Viktor Korchnoi. Black is prepared to accept a degree of passivity in the hope that his bishop pair will give long-term prospects. 11.0-0 Bd6 12.c3 0-0-0 13.Re1 c5 14.Be4 Kb8 15.Qb3 Bc8 16.a4 Rd7 17.a5 a6 18.Qb6!? It seems as if White is calling all the shots but Black's position is remarkably solid. A plan of 18.Qa4 and later b4 looks more promising. 18...Qe7 19.c4?! Rhd8 20.g3 20.b4 fails to 20...cxd4 21.c5? Bc7, trapping the queen. 20...cxd4! 21.Nxd4 Rc7! Not 21...Ka8? 22.Qxa6+!. 22.Nc6+ Rxc6 23.Bxc6 Bc5 24.Qb3 Rd2 25.Rf1 Qf6 26.Bf3? Taken aback at the unexpected need to start defending, Van den Doel falls apart. 26.Bg2 was necessary. 26...Rxb2 27.Qd1 h5! 28.Be2?! e5! 29.Qd5 Bd4 30.Bf3? 

30...Bd7!! 0-1 The threat of 31...Bc6 is impossible to meet since on 31.Qxd7 Qxf3 is decisive.