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Dutch Open Championships

Report on the Open Dutch Tournament held in Best Holland 19 January 2014
Izzy and Jeff Brider joined 750 competitors and over 80 officials to take part in the annual Open Dutch tournament hosted by Master Willy Van der Mortel.  The competition took place in Best in Holland, which is located a short distance away from Eindhoven.
We travelled by air from Manchester to Amsterdam and then took a two-hour train journey to Eindhoven and then to Best.  Upon arrival in Best Izzy weighed in and meet a number of friends mad at other tournaments in the Netherlands.  The hotel was only a five-minute taxi ride from the venue, which made the early morning start much easier.
Large contingents came from all over Europe, Italy being represented by Grand Master Bos and over 100 competitors.  Other groups came from Germany, Poland, Belgium, Scotland, France to list but a few and almost all the clubs in the Netherlands were represented.
An umpires briefing meant that we had to be at the venue for 8:15 and upon arrival we were greeted by a massive crowd moving into the venue.  The size of the tournament led to the division of the competitors into two halls.  In effect, all coloured belts below red belt were filtered into one hall and red belts and black belts into another hall.  Prior to arrival at the venue all officials had been allocated to their ring councils and the meeting reviewed the key elements of the scoring systems used in the European and World Championships.  In addition, separate briefings were given to two ring councils who were to trial wireless scoring controllers.  I was fortunate to have been allocated to one of the rings that would use the new system.
Competition began, after a number of welcoming speeches, at 9:45 and the ring councils were kept working, except for a short break for lunch, until 7 p.m.  This led to a massive rush to get the train to ensure that we made our flight back to Manchester that same evening. 
Competition was of a high standard and whilst Izzy did not secure any medals her performances had to be of a high level as many World and European Champions were taking part.  I was umpiring all day and did not see any of her performances but I want to place on record my thanks to Reuben Williams, part of the ITF England team, for coaching her and also to Mr. Lear for giving her pep talk after her sparring.
I spent all day judging black belt patterns and sparring which, given the standard of the competition on show, was not a hardship.  The new scoring system had a few teething problems but will I am sure find its way into the European and World Championships at some time into the future.  Our ring council tested the system in a number of cases to destruction but overall the system was a success.
In addition to the evaluation of the new scoring system ring councils in the black belt competition area was under close supervision by Grand Master Bos and Grand Master Lan who were supporting their competitors.  It was a real pleasure to be able to be part of the umpire team that had to contend with some amazing displays.
Thanks are due to the organisers of the tournament especially Master Willy Van Der Mortel and Master Coos Van Der Heuvel, who coordinated the umpires for the 12 rings that were in operation.

Jeff Brider

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