Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back from Amsterdam

Back at last, unfortunately. After 2 weeks, we're at work again, and back to blogging. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how liberating it is not to have to worry about routine. Wake up anytime, do anything, sleep whenever.

So I did check out the Max Euwe Centre in Amsterdam. It was easy enough to find: just got on the no. 5 tram at Centraal Station and off right in front of the Van Gogh Museum. Not exactly the highlight of my trip, but still worth seeing. Out of all things I saw there I was most impressed by this large collection of index cards on openings. Thousands upon thousands of opening lines all written by hand! Imagine doing all that work back in the day.

And if you admire Euwe, the small museum dedicated to his life is a must-see.

But I was there to play chess. Unfortunately, being mostly a serious joint for quiet study, there was not a clock to be seen in the centre. Well I didn't see one for playing blitz anyway. One of the staff members calmly informed me that if I wanted to play blitz, I had to go to a pub. Sure enough, he pointed me to the appropriate place.

Schaakcafe de Laurierboom

Located on Laurierstraat 76, Schaakcafe de Laurierboom replaces the old Schaakhuis Gambit, previously located on Bloemgracht 20, that has since closed.

I quite like the place, a typically Amsterdam pub that seems like it's been there for centuries. Jazz posters as well as picture portraits of the great chess players featured on its walls. While mostly darkish inside, there is a spotlight over the boards to provide ample lighting. Fortune, though, escaped me as it happened to be some sort of St. Nicholas celebration that day, on the 5th December, and everyone usually remains at home with their families. Hardly anyone came except for a couple of tourists who busied themselves with a game of backgammon.

When no one, who seemed to be interested in a game of blitz, came along, I left as soon as I finished my Leffe. So off I went to the red light district.

The guys in the Max Euwe Centre gave me two other chess cafes. You can also visit the Schaakcafe Het Hok, on Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 134, and the Bridge-Schaakcafe 2 Klaveren on De Clercqstraat 136.

1 comment:

Polly said...

I'm sorry the Schaakhuis Gambit closed. I spent a delightful couple of hours playing blitz there after visiting Euwe Centrum. I too expected to be able to play at the Euwe Centrum, but I did really enjoy the display of all of Euwe's memorobilia and photographs.