Participants Closed Series

GM Daniel Dardha (2649)

Daniel Dardha Daniel Dardha (b. 2005) is a three-time Belgian chess champion and won the tournament for the first time at the age of 13 in 2019. He achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 in 2021, making him the youngest Belgian ever to do so. Daniel is truly an exceptional talent, having broken into the world’s top 100 earlier this year. He has delivered impressive international performances, including winning the World Blitz Chess Championship U14 and the Sardinia World Chess Festival.

GM Alexandre Dgebuadze (2442)

Alexandre Dgebuadze Alexandre Dgebuadze (b. 1971) is a four-time Belgian chess champion. He achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 29 in 2000. Alexandre is a chess professional who is highly regarded not only for the quality of his games but also for his contributions as a coach and commentator. He enjoys sharing his deep insights and passion for the game with a broader audience.

GM Mher Hovhannisyan (2405)

Mher Hovhannisyan Mher Hovhannisyan (b. 1978) is a five-time Belgian chess champion. In 2018, at the age of 40, he achieved the title of Grandmaster. Mher is a recognized FIDE trainer and coaches many top national juniors towards their potential. He is known for his friendly demeanor and infectious smile.

IM Steven Geirnaert (2438)

Steven Geirnaert Steven Geirnaert (b. 1984) is one of the outsiders hunting for his first national crown. He achieved the title of International Master in 2012 at the age of 28 and still has the ambition to achieve more. Steven originally represented the West Flanders part of the country but has relocated to Mechelen in recent years. When not involved with chess, Steven is a data governance officer for the Flemish government.

IM Sim Maerevoet (2436)

Sim Maerevoet Sim Maerevoet (b. 2001) is another outsider hunting for his first national crown. He achieved the title of International Master in 2023 at the age of 22 and continues to improve gradually. He represents Belgium at the Chess Olympiad and can be considered a local hero, playing in the Antwerp chess circuit for Borgerhout. His biggest tournament victories include the Belgian U20 Championship, Open Leuven, and the 4-in-a-row tournament in De Rode Loper.

IM Stefan Beukema (2411)

Stefan Beukema Stefan Beukema (b. 1996) is the last 2400+ player aiming to make his mark on the tournament. In 2016, he achieved the title of International Master at the age of 20. He has roots in the Netherlands and regularly plays in the top division of the Dutch team championships. He is a four-time Belgian youth champion in 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016 and became European champion in the U14 youth category in 2010.

IM Aleksander Alienkin (2331)

Aleksander Alienkin Aleksander Alienkin (b. 1963) is the oldest participant in this edition. He also defends the colors of the FEFB – Fédération Échiquéenne Francophone de Belgique. Aleksander achieved the title of International Master in 1999 at the age of 36. Can he hold off his younger opponents?

FM Warre De Waele (2365)

Warre De Waele Warre started his chess career at Rapid Aalter and moved to KBSK Brugge in 2018. Since last season, he has been playing for Wetteren, where he won the national interclub competition twice in a row (with Brugge in the previous season and with Wetteren this season). He achieved his FM title in 2017. Although he has enough IM norms, he still needs to reach the required 2400 Elo to apply for the IM title. His biggest tournament victories include the Belgian Youth Championship -16 twice, Touquet 2017, and he is the reigning East Flanders blitz champion. Besides chess, he is studying Business Engineering.

FM Jacob Dreelinck (2310)

Jacob Dreelinck Jacob has been a member of the VPTD Geraardsbergen chess club for 11 years. In recent years, he has been playing interclub for Caballos Zottegem. He became Belgian Youth Champion in 2021 (U14), 2022 (U16), and 2023 (U16) and won the Open of Ghent 2023 together with his brother. He achieved the FM title on April 5, 2024, and shortly thereafter became Flemish champion.

Elias Ruzhansky (2242)

Elias Ruzhansky Elias started his chess career in the United Kingdom, where he became British champion U8, as well as London champion U12 (when he was 9 years old). He is currently Belgian champion U14. In 2022, at the age of 11, he became Belgian open champion during the tournament in Bruges.