August 23, 2019

Timman’s game against Tal is going well except for the threatened Mate by the Black rooks on the h-file. White moves and avoids Mate.

Chess is a hotter sport in the Netherlands than we can imagine; but the heat really started when Dr. Max Euwe won the World Championship from Alexander Alekhine in the 1930s. He became a national hero and it was common for him to receive standing ovations in public.

Today’s equivalent is grandmaster Jan Timman, 37, one of the world’s finest players and one of four left in the elimination to play Gary Kasparov, world champion. Timman also will face Jonathan Speelman, British grandmaster, in September.

Since 1982, Timman has played each year on a Christian television station against a hand-picked opponent, losing only to Kasparov in 1985.

His 1988 TV match was only about a month before the Candidates Match with Portisch and the chosen “victim” was former champion Mikhail Tal, somewhat a diminished force after years of illness, but still never predictable.

The “Magician of Riga” defeated his host by winning two of three games and apparently tuned up Timman to beat Portisch and advance to the semifinals.

Today’s game is the fourth one of that match and the players are so busy attacking each other that neither castles. That’s chess the way it used to be. The final position, with the White pieces shish-kabobbed on the b-file is amusing to all but Timman fans:

1.e4 c5, 2.Nf3 d6, 3.d4 cxd4, 4.Nxd4 Nf6, 5.Nc3 e6, 6.f4 a6, 7.Qf3 Qb6, 8.Nb3 Qc7, 9.g4 b5, 10.g5 b4, 11.Nb5 axb5, 12.gxf6 gxf6, 13.Nd4 Bd7, 14.f5 Nc6, 15.Nxb5 Qa5, 16.fxe6 fxe6, 17.Bd2 Ne5, 18.Qe2 Rc8, 19.Nd4 Nc4, 20.Nb3 Qe5, 21.Bxb4 Nxb2, 22.c3 Na4, 23.c4 Rb8, 24.a3 Bc6, 25.Rg1 Nc5, 26. Rb1 Bxe4, 27.Nd2 Bxb1, 28.Qxe5 dxe5, 29.Nxb1 Na6, 30. White resigns.

Solution: Timman plays 1.Rxd3, giving him escape squares on f2 and f4. The exchange did not prevent him from winning by capitalizing on his advanced kingside pawns to force a promotion. At all times, the attacking player must be prepared to ward off dangers to his own king.

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