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Erwin l'Ami

l'Ami at Liverpool 2008
Country Netherlands
Born 5 April 1985
Woerden, Netherlands
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2651 (May 2014)

Erwin l'Ami (born 5 April 1985 in Woerden) is a Dutch chess grandmaster. He has emerged, along with Jan Smeets, Daniel Stellwagen and Jan Werle, as one of a new generation of talented young players from the Netherlands. He is married to Alina l'Ami.

Early years

He learned the game at the age of five, when his father introduced him to the moves and then took him to the local chess club. His new hobby quickly became a passion, but for a few years he remained just one of a crowd of promising juniors. Upon reaching the age of 12, his family relocated to a larger conurbation and the young l'Ami was exposed to a more testing level of competition, enabling his talent to be further developed.

Chess career

At Gausdal in 2004, he won the tournament, ahead of Magnus Carlsen and despite being expected to finish no higher than mid-table. He soon fulfilled the requirements for an International Master title, awarded the same year. Becoming a full-time professional, the opportunities for travel continued to suit his lifestyle and in 2005, he complemented his training and dedication with a few good wins, gaining the necessary norms to be awarded the Grandmaster title. During this period, he finished second equal at the Essent tournament, was co-winner of the strong Karabakh 'B' tournament and scored well at the Wijk aan Zee Corus 'C' tourney, earning an upgrade to the 'B' tournament in 2006.

At the Turin 2006 Olympiad, he played a small but helpful role in the national team with a very respectable score of 3.5/5. By then, his Elo rating was reflecting the consistency in his performances and he passed the 2600 mark by the early part of 2007. Working with a new coach (GM Vladimir Chuchelov) was perhaps another reason for his continued progress. At the European Team Chess Championship at Heraklion in 2007, he contributed another plus score (4.5/8) to the Netherlands team total.

2008 was a rewarding year for l'Ami. He finished with a share of second place at the European Individual Championship in Plovdiv, missing out on the medals after an eight-way play-off. More recently, he took part in the EU Individual Open Chess Championship at Liverpool, maintaining touch with the leading group throughout and finishing with a share of fifth place, alongside compatriots Sergei Tiviakov and Jan Smeets.

He took part in the Chess World Cup 2009 and was knocked out by Krishnan Sasikiran in the first round.

In 2015, he won the Reykjavik Open scoring 8.5/10.

L'Ami is renowned for his ability at rapid chess and even the more extreme forms of speed chess, where for example, each player has only 1 minute for the entire game. His handle on the Internet Chess Club is "Woef".

Chess second

In 2008 l'Ami began working as a second to Ivan Cheparinov after the two had met at a tournament and become friends. Principally, he was engaged to assist Cheparinov at the elite Sofia M-Tel Masters event and benefited not only from the theoretical work they undertook together, but also from the insight he gained into chess at that level. In an interview given after the event, he considered the experience to be "inspirational". Along with Cheparinov and Francisco Vallejo Pons, he served as a second for Veselin Topalov in the February 2009 Challengers Match against Gata Kamsky.