Date: Mon July 8th, Tue 9th, Thu 11th, and Fri 12th, 10:30-12:00

Venue: Sint-Gummaruscollege, Lier

The Chess Academy takes place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Sint-Gummaruscollege. The bar/analysis room will serve as the venue. These sessions are free of charge and hosted between 10:30 and 12:00. They handle chess-related topics and have an academic feel. We welcome chess players and non-chess players.


  • Monday 08/07/2024: “Belgian Chess History” (Nikolaas Verhulst)

Nikolaas is the initiative-taker behind the website that bundles as much information as possible on pre-2000 chess in Belgium: His stated goal is to cover the pre-internet time completely. The website covers tournaments, players, and contains a database with 25K+ games. This session is ideal for avid (chess-)historians, (chess-)cultural aficionados, and those looking for a (national) hero. We are grateful to Nikolaas for his efforts to preserve the national chess heritage.

Nikolaas is a proud member of SK Oude God (Mortsel). He is also a pure sang mathematician (TU Delft) who is on a mission to convince the world of its beauty.


  • Tuesday 09/07/2024: “Similarities between Chess, Entrepreneurship, Coaching and Sales” (Roger Helsen)

Business model strength and operational excellence are key factors determining firm success. However, taking your business to the next level requires strategizing on marketing and sales. Truly outstanding firms manage to tell their story, and they tell it well! This session will guide participants on building effective communication strategies through approaching clients as one acting organism with the Pulcra concept.

Roger grew up in an entrepreneurial family in a rural village in the Kempen. He built a successful career in sales and sales management and later went on to apply his skills to the reorganization of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Roger recognized that high performance business management and chess overlap in their requirements for strategic thinking, tactics and planning. As such, he organized internationally renowned chess events, CEO-chess and youth initiatives. Today, Roger Helsen and Koen Daenen are the driving forces behind Business Inspiration, a strategic management and sales training consultancy.


  • Thursday 11/07/2024: “Chess & AI: Computer Analysis” (Emmanuel Wildiers)

Computers have been outsmarting humans for many years. But how do they work? Emmanuel will elaborate on the mechanics of chess computers. How do they make decisions and what can we learn from them? What types of positions are they exceptionally strong (or weak) at? This session is aimed at chess and AI enthusiasts.

Emmanuel is board member and youth leader of ChessLooks Lier. He is also a quantitative investment professional (Schroders) who loves to adopt an ‘optimization problem’-angle to all kinds of societal problems.


  • Friday 12/07/2024: “World Chess Champions” (Patrick Verrijssen)

On July 12th Patrick Verrijssen will speak on: “World Chess Champions”. Patrick zooms in on the background and accomplishments of the most prominent world champions. Where do the greats come from? What made them the geniuses they are? Some of their brightest moments will be illustrated with game snippets. This session will provide some good benchmarks for the upcoming world championship, where the first Chinese world champion will defend his title against the youngest-ever challenger.

Patrick is a proud member of ChessLooks Lier, which he co-founded. In addition to driving chess development in and around Lier, Patrick is also a collector of chess curiosa. His collection is so vast that it could decorate the tournament hall. When he is not playing or collecting chess, Patrick loves to read and write… chess!