Press release 5 March 2023
Auke Zijlstra World Champion FRYSK!

For the first time in the history of the FRYSK! World Championship, a person from outside Fryslân has become the champion. 57 year old Auke Zijlstra from Utrecht has taken part in the FRYSK! World Championship on several occasions without notable results.
He mentioned that he attributes today’s success to trying to keep his pieces on the draughtsboard for as long as possible. After an eventful draughts week where Henk Haanstra from Oudega (SWF) was the surprise winner of the Fryslân Open.
The icing on the cake was the FRYSK! World Championship on Sunday. It started spectacularly with Marten Walinga losing to Italian Andrea Perano. After two rounds Jelle Wiersma and Auke Zijlstra were joint leaders, they were the only ones who won both their matches.
Previous FRYSK! Champion Jelle Wiersma subsequently lost. Auke Zijlstra surprisingly held onto the lead for a while until he lost to Hein de Vries in the fifth round. He won the next round against Marten Walinga again, which meant that Auke only needed a
draw against Dicky van der Meer. Hein de Vries, on equal points, lost to Czech player Petra Duskova which meant Auke Zijlstra was just handed a half a point advantage against Hein de Vries.

Press release 4 March 2023
Henk Haanstra the champion!

Henk Haanstra, making his debut at the Grandmaster tournament, won the tournament with a draw against Marten Walinga in the final round. He was runner-up twice at the Frisian Championship, having never participated at this tournament before. Henk Haanstra was constantly nearing the top, beating the best players at times, yet this victory still came as a surprise, even to himself. First came tears, then a heartfelt cry of joy.
After a nerve wracking Friday, where players first had to play two qualifying rounds as well as a play-off at the Elizabeth tall ship, after which the first round of both the Grandmaster and Master tournament were held at the planetarium, the final two rounds were played in the beautiful Franeker Town Hall on Saturday.
With two decisive matches in the first round, Marten Walinga and Henk Haanstra were the favourites for the title. However, during the second round Marten Walinga surprisingly lost to Jelle Wiersma which meant he was now level again with Walinga. Due to the draw between Henk Haanstra and Folkert Groenveld, Haanstra was now the sole leader. Groenveld could have won their match if he had played 43….25-30?? instead of 11-16! If this had happened, all four players would have had the same amount of points. However, only three contenders now remained. The reigning Fryslân Open champion, Folkert Groenveld was no longer able to defend his title.
In the qualifying rounds, Wiersma had lost to Groenveld. This match ended in a draw, meaning that Wiersma was no longer able to become the champion. In a five for five position, Walinga had some good chances to win and with that the title, but the match ended in a draw.
Tsjerk Wijbenga won the Master Group tournament. The FRYSK! qualification tournament was held in the building opposite the Koornbeurs. This tournament’s first seven placed players qualified for the FRYSK! World Championship that will be held in the Town Hall tomorrow. A bus with players from Italy arrived on Friday night, it took them two days to arrive in time for the qualification tournament. The players did well in the tournament.
The winners of this international tournament were Aleksej Domchev from Lithuania, Renaud Braye from Belgium and Jean Marc Ndjofang from Cameroon. After a barrage between those players won Jean Marc Ndjofang this tournament.

Press release 3 March 2023
Start of the grandmasters in the Eise Eisinga Planetarium

There are two players in the lead after the first round in the Grandmaster group final. Henk Haanstra had a surprise victory over Jelle Wiersma in the final. With a five for five, Wiersma was unable to prevent a breakthrough at his right wing. Marten Walinga also beat Folkert Groenveld in a thin position.
The first four from the qualifying rounds of the Fryslân Open draughts tournament 2023 automatically qualified for the Grandmaster tournament. Folkert Groenveld and Jelle Wiersma both placed first with 6.5 points. Marten Walinga and Henk Haanstra were joint third with 6 points. Six players with 5 points ended in fifth place: Cor Kooistra, Tsjerk Wijbenga, Aleksej Domchef, Jouke Algra, Dicky van der Meer and Hein de Vries. Only four places were up for grabs in the Master Group so a play-off was needed. Cor Kooistra withdrew, so ultimately five players played for the four places on offer. The only remaining international player in the tournament, Alexej Domchef from Lithuania, finished last in the play-off, therefore missing a place in the final.
The match between Jelle Wiersma and Marten Walinga in the seventh round was a real rollercoaster. With both facing nail biting time restraints, both players missed several opportunities to win. A draw was the right result. Both qualified with ease with convincing victories in the eighth round. Czech player Petra Duskova narrowly missed qualifying for the Master Group. She missed a winning opportunity in her match against Jouke Algra and ultimately lost. Many matches in the qualifying rounds were decisive. The draw percentage over the whole tournament was just 8.9%. Last time in 2020, it was more than double at 18.3%, a significant difference.
Like three years ago, the last time the Fryslân Open was held, the first round of both the Grandmaster and Master tournament was held in Eise Eisinga’s beautiful Planetarium.
Before the first round, Adrie van Warmenhoven, the Planetarium’s Director, gave a brief talk about the Planetarium. Van Warmenhoven: “There is no blueprint, as far as we are aware, Eisinga made it up as he went along during construction.” The result can be found in Eise Eisinga’s family home, from the ceiling in the living room. A tangle of pendulums, reclining cog wheels, spindles which drive smaller spindles, small cables. The remaining eight players, inspired by their surroundings, played four especially creative matches.
Rounds two and three will be held in the Franeker Town Hall, established in 1594.

Press release 2 March 2023
Three players share the lead at the Fryslân Open

After playing six matches in two days, tiredness is starting to take its toll. More mistakes are creeping in at the tournament. After three victories in the first three rounds, to his own surprise, Cor Kooistra also won his fourth match against the powerful Henk Haanstra. This meant that Cor Kooistra was in the lead, together with his team mate and pupil, Jelle Wiersma. They were each other’s opponents in the fifth round and as expected, Wiersma won the match. Cor Kooistra beat the Czech player Petra Duskova in the sixth round which means that he remains in the lead with only two rounds to go. He shares the lead with favourites Jelle Wiersma and Folkert Groenveld, who convincingly beat Jelle Wiersma in the sixth round.
Eight candidates remain who still have a shot at the four qualifying places in the Grandmaster group which is being held this coming Friday at the Eise Eisinga Planetarium. If there are equal scores after eight rounds, repecharges will be played.
The Cameroonian player, Jean Marc Ndjofang, experienced how difficult it is to have a good overview of all possible moves, both horizontally and diagonally, in Frisian draughts. After a fine combination he had to strike eight pieces in his fourth round match against Rein Jan Walinga. However, he was unable to see how the pieces had to be removed and lost due to time constraints. It was a good day for Lithuanian player Alexej Domchef who celebrated his 45th birthday. After two victories, one against board member Jouke Algra, the festivities came to an abrupt halt after a loss against Marten Walinga. Many a fine combination has been made in this tournament. A particularly beautiful combination was played by the Czech player Petra Duskova in the fifth round against Tsjerk Wijbenga. Another noteworthy mention was Russian player Darya Tkachenko’s win against Frans Kingma from Jorwert.

Press release 1 March 2023
The start of the tournament

Surprising frontrunners in the Fryslân Open 2023 after the first 3 rounds.

All players arrived in time to witness the opening move by the tall ship Elizabeth owner, Alwin Wuffen, in the match between the tournament’s oldest player, Sjoerd Couperus (92), and Rein Jan Walinga. The opening took place on the ship opposite, called the Antigua. The secretary Liuwe Westra reiterated some important notation rules (first put it on the board before writing it down on the tablet and when you have finished your game, you may continue to watch the others, provided you do so quietly). The tournament has a strong field. Due to the pandemic, many have been working on analysis programs. The field of competitors is stronger than ever. In the first round, the Frisians, the experienced match players, beat the rest. Jelle Wiersma (10-time Frisian champion) said that those draughts players used to playing at home lack the same match rhythm. You can of course play well on a computer at home, in a real-life tournament however, there is much more to it it turns out. This was shown in the first round, when the wheat was separated from the chaff. Only one match finished in a draw. Sjoerd Couperus’s win was surprising, who stood his ground by comfortably beating the strong Rein Jan Walinga. In the second round, Marten Walinga and Folkert Groenveld (ranked 1 and 2 in Frisian draughts) met. Marten Walinga won after Groenveld made a notable error whilst in a favourable position. In August 2021, the two played for the world title, which was won by Walinga. In the third round, the Frisian championship winner and runner up played against each other: Jelle Wiersma and Taeke Kooistra. Kooistra finished in a draw position. The loss of World Champion Marten Walinga was sensational, who stumbled against Cor Kooistra for a draw. Jelle Wiersma is currently living up to his name as Frisian champion with three wins. Henk Haanstra and Cor Kooistra, who also have three points, are surprising joint leaders.

PRESS RELEASE 28 February 2023
Five day draughts festival in Franeker

The Fryslân Open 2023 draughts tournament started today. There are several draughts events from Tuesday 28 February through to Sunday 5 March. For the first time since the Corona pandemic began, the players are meeting up in Franeker. According to one of the players, Folkert Groenveld, the last winner of the Fryslân Open, this edition is one with the strongest players in a long time. The Waadhoeke schools tournament FRYSK!, was the starting event where several primary schools competed against each other.
During the evening Alderman Jan Dijkstra (Culture) opened the tournament officially in De Bogt fen Guné pub, accompanied by the Sterk Spul shanty choir from Lollum. Jan Dijkstra opened his speech with a brief overview of the history of both Franeker and Waadhoeke municipality. He talked about De Bogt fen Guné, where the opening took place, the Netherlands’ oldest student pub, next to the Frisian handball (kaatsen) field where the annual PC is held - a perfect spot for a think sport tournament. The Alderman briefly mentioned the sad reason why the strong players from Russia and Belarus were unable to attend this year. He also expressed the wish for Franeker to be the venue each year for this large draughts tournament in the future.
The tournament is from 1 until the 3 March. Three rounds are played each day for the first two days, there are two rounds on 3 March. If there are draws, repecharges will take place.
There are eight rounds in the Fryslan Open draughts tournament, the first four qualify for the Grandmaster tournament (the final), numbers five to eight qualify for the Master group - both groups play Friday night at the Eise Eisinga Planetarium at 3 Eise Eisinga Street.
The qualification round FRYSK! will be played from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday 4 March.
The participants for the FRYSK! World Championship will be announced at 5pm. Frisian draughts is played on a 100 square board, where horizontal, and vertical moves are allowed. FRYSK! is Frisian draughts with five pieces per player.

WFD organises Fryslân Open 2023 in Franeker from February 28 - March 5

The WFD Foundation is organising the Fryslân Open tournaments again after successful years, details can be found on the tournament page.

Games and streams ar on our LIVE page.

Series of 20 online winter tournaments 17 December 2021 - 18 February 2022

The WFD Foundation will be organising a series of online tournaments for the winter months of December 2021, January 2022 and February 2022. The tournaments will take place on The first tournament of the series is on Friday 17 December, the last one on Saturday 18 February.

There will be two tournaments each week. One of these (the Friday tournament) will be open to all, the other (the Saturday tournament) will be open to official WFD players only. In order to register as a WFD player, you will have to join the WFD Team on This will only be possible with a username that matches your forename and surname (for example: LiuweWestra, i.e. two capitals, no spaces, underscores, or other symbols). The WFD Team membership requires an annual fee of €10.

The tournaments taking place in the odd weeks are FRYSK! tournaments (from 5 to 6 p.m. CET, time control 3 minutes and 3 seconds [Fischer]), the tournaments in the even weeks are Frisian Classic tournaments (from 5 to 6.30 p.m. CET, time control 5 minutes and 5 seconds [Fischer]).

The prize money for the open tournaments (on Fridays) is as follows.

1st place: €40
2nd place: €20
3rd place: €10

Furthermore, the highest player will get a free 2022 WFD Team membership as a bonus prize. If the highest player has already won this bonus, it will move on to the next player.

The prize money for the official WFD players tournaments (on Saturdays) is as follows.

1st place: €60
2nd place: €30
3rd place: €15

Any questions? Then please contact the secretary of the WFD Foundation:

Saint Petersburg FRYK! Open Championships 25 November 2021

On 25 November 2021, for the first time, the St. Petersburg Open FRYSK! Championships will take place as an official WFD tournament. In addition to other prizes, the winner will receive €250 from the WFD Foundation as well as a ticket to the next official FRYSK! World Championships, which will hopefully be held on Sunday 27 February in Franeker.

The tournament is organised by Ruslan Peshcherov (Master FMJD), and will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. (GMT+3).

Change in the Board

During the last WFD Foundation board meeting, Mr. Herbert Tulleken, who has been a board member for over four years, announced his resignation. We are thankful for everything he has done for the promotion of Frisian Draughts (or Ultimate Checkers, as he likes to call it) and for the growth of the foundation as a professional organisation.

Marten Walinga versus Folkert Groenveld
Harlingen 10 – 22 August 2021

Final score: 7½ – 3½

Winner semifinals Online FRYSK!: Ilfat Karimov

Winner semifinals Online Frisian (classic): Frederik Bos

Press Releases

22 August 2021

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10 August 2021

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