Last week Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman contested a friendly four game match, won by Timman 2.5-1.5 after a win in game 3. The match wasn't particularly memorable and little was at stake, but it harkened back to a time when they were both at or near the absolute top of the chess world. This was mostly true for Karpov and especially true for Timman in 1993, when they fought for the then-vacated FIDE World Championship title in the wake of Garry Kasparov's and Nigel Short's secession. That match - the Karpov-Timman one - is the subject of my World Chess column this week.
Entries in Jan Timman (11)
A few days ago I mentioned the goings-on at the chess festival in Hoogeveen. Two of the events had finished and two were still ongoing, so here I'll tidy things up and report on the then-unfinished events.
First, then, the Open. Abhijeet Gupta, Benjamin Bok, Jan Werle and Das Neeloptal co-led with a round to go with 6/8. The pairings worked out "nationalistically": the Dutch players Bok and Werle were paired, and likewise the Indians Gupta and Neeloptal. The Dutch players drew, but it was a long fight in a Meran that Bok, with black, came close to winning. The other game, between Gupta and Neeloptal, was also sharp, but it was neither long nor drawn. Neeloptal collapsed in the opening, a complicated variation of the Catalan, and faced with the loss of a piece he resigned on move 20. Gupta thus won the tournament, half a point ahead of Bok, Werle, and Deep Sangupta, who defeated Stelios Halkias in the final round.
Second, the match between Jan Timman and Jorden van Foreest. Timman had won games three and four to clinch at least a draw in the six-game match, and when van Foreest won game five that outcome remained possible. Timman had white in game six and kept everything pretty well under control until his careless or overly optimistic 22nd move. This gave his opponent a chance to win material with 25...Bb5, but he didn't play. Then Timman had a chance to be much better with 27.dxe6, but another unsound sac left him in trouble again - briefly. 28...Rd2 was winning; instead, Timman was winning two moves later, but when he missed 30.Nxf7! (30...Kxf7 31.Bxd5+ destroys Black's position) and, once again, 31.Nxf7, the game finished in a draw. Timman thus won the match 3.5-2.5.
That is the enigmatic title of a Dutch documentary from 1979, filmed mostly in and around that year's Dutch chess championships, and features mostly Jan Timman, Hans Ree, Ulf Andersson, Jan Hein Donner and Max Euwe. You can watch it below - just make sure to switch on the English subtitles (unless of course you understand Dutch).
A number of games are shown or referred to, and I've done my best to compile them for you, here.
Here's a bonus of sorts. Early on in the film Donner says that "[i]n the split second you touch the piece you'll see more than you have seen in the past 30 minutes or hour in which you have been thinking." This is of course an exaggeration, but it is true that players very often recognize their move (or their intended move) to have been a mistake the instant after they touch the piece or worse, release it and hit the clock. As if on cue, I had paused the film above shortly after seeing Donner's comment, and then before having the chance to return to the documentary watched the following blitz game online:
At 2:10 Alexander Morozevich, with Black, plays ...a5, and after thinking for 24 seconds his fellow GM, Vladimir Belous, plays the queen from d1 to d2, and only then recognizes that it's a blunder - Black will play ...g5 winning a piece. At least that's what I assumed. It makes sense of the move he finally does play another 20 seconds later, Qc1. Ironically, though, three moves later Belous plays e3, allowing ...g5 anyway. I'm not completely sure he intended it as a piece sacrifice, both because his compensation dries up pretty quickly and because I think I detected a tiny expression of surprise/shock right after he made his move - but I could be wrong, and will leave it to you to decide. At any rate, I suspect that many of you could share horror stories of moves recognized as blunders a moment after it is too late.
And so Anish Giri has a 3-1 lead over Alexei Shirov and Baadur Jobava a 2.5-1.5 lead against Jan Timman in their showcase six-game matches at the Unive chess tournament.
Both Alexei Shirov and Jan Timman were pressing today against Anish Giri and Baadur Jobava, respectively, but in the end both games were drawn. Giri leads 2.5-.5 and Jobava leads 2-1 going into the rest day. Three rounds remain in these sub-events of the Unive chess tournament.
This fun event (the Unive chess tournament), comprising a pair of six-game classical matches, began Sunday in the Dutch city of Hoogeveen. The marquee match is between Dutch prodigy Anish Giri and Latvian superstar Alexei Shirov of "fire on board" fame. If Shirov were playing at his best the match would be a toss-up, but his results have been declining the last couple of years and in the last few months his results have been awful. Indeed, Giri leads 2-0 so far, and if this keeps up he might bridge the 14-15-point gap separating him from the top 6 in the world.
The second match is between top Georgian grandmaster Baadur Jobava and Dutch legend Jan Timman. Their first game was drawn, but Timman lost the second game after a couple of blunders. (He had been under some pressure, but objectively the position was fine.)
One of the sub-events in Groningen over the Christmas holiday was a 4-game match between former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov and Dutch great Jan Timman. The match commemorated their FIDE World Championship match 20 years prior, and finished with the same result: Karpov won. The first three games were drawn, but Karpov won a nice technical game to close out the match - have a look.
According to the Zurich Christmas Open website, Viktor Korchnoi had to cancel his participation in the tournament due to health reasons. Here's the Google Translate version:
Unfortunately, Viktor Korchnoi can not fulfill his wish of participating in the traditional tournament. Health reasons force him to stay at home. We wish him a speedy recovery and all the best in the coming year.
For those of you looking to get your fix of old-timey chess players, Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman are playing a four-game rapid (40' + 30") match. Game 1 was played earlier today and was drawn in a fairly dull game, thanks to Karpov's unfortunate but understandable continued advocacy of the Scandinavian with 3...Qd8.
ChessVibes has a nice interview with Dutch GM Jan Timman, a former world championship finalist. Timman is playing in the B-group in Wijk aan Zee starting Saturday, and I appreciate his attitude about his chances there. He's realistic about where he is now, at 60 and some years separated from his time at the top, but this realism isn't a depressed fatalism. He is confident about his ability to play good games and doesn't rule out the possibility a successful result. I hope he has one!