Honoring Jan Timman

Often we read about the young lions taking charge of us old-timers.  Seems like the older we get, the fewer tournaments find our names in the listing.  Now, this is not due to age alone.  What really corrals the former giants of chess is rating decline or stagnation from inactivity.  This doesn’t pertain to me because I have no title or rating to brag about.  But the gentleman listed in the heading certainly does merit mention.  He is today best known for his work with NEW IN CHESS magazine as both contributor and honorary editor.

Helsingor 2016 attracted 398 players.  The event has been moved from Copenhagen to its new site as well as a new name.  It is now called the Xtracon Open while the relaxed and convivial atmosphere has remained.  It is Jan Timman’s favorite tournament.

Seven players scored 8 points with Matthias Bluebaum toping the field.  Jan Timman (2559) scored an impressive 7.5 which included a victory against Jonathan Carlstedt from Germany, an international master  (2457) who collected 8 points. Actually, had he won this game against Timman, he would have scored 9 points to take lst all by himself.

So set up your pieces and be witness to some very good chess.

White:  Jan Timman  versus  Black:  Jonathan Carlstedt    The Reti Opening

l. Nf3  d5  2. g3  Nf6  3. Bg2  Bf5  4. c4  c6  5. Qb3  Qb6 6. d3  Nbd7 7. Q:b6 a:b6 8. c:d5?! An inaccurate choice. Correct, even in such an early opening stage, was 8. Nd4 first.

8. … N:d5 9. Nd4  Bg6?! Black returns the favor, missing the strong 9. … Nb4.

10. B:d5!  Timman realizes that the two Knights will work together like Oxen plowing a field.  He fractures the pawn structure, getting a double isolani pattern.  Note how the pawn structure limits the w/s black Bishop functionality.

10. … e:d5  11. Nb5  Rc8  12. N/1c3  e6  13. O-O  Be7 14. Be3  O-O  15. Rfc1  Bf6  16. f4 Rfd8 17. Bd4  Be7  18. Na4 Bc5  19. a3  f6  20. b4  Forcing a Bishop swap.

20. … B:d4+  21. N:d4  Bf7 22. Nc3 Kf8  23. f5!!  Study of pawn formations and breakthroughs should be in every player’s study agenda.  Black has problems.  What to do? I would give attention to 23. …Ke7 where a dream could hold hope for connecting Rooks, getting the King to a more robust position with thoughts like action by his pawns on a King-wing counterattack to meet the central White action.  At least the King would help aid in the protection of the center complex.  As Nimzowitsch once noted, “One cannot always be happy.”

23. …e5  24. Ne6+  B:e6  25. f:e6  Nb8  26. N:d5  R:c1+  27. R:c1  Nc6  28. R:c6  Resigns.

For the novice chess fan who looks only at the winning ticket, the game event itself is worthy of note.  Bassem Amin [Egypt] (2654) was in top shape but drew his final 3 games to finish 3rd on tie-break with 8 points. The 19-year old Bluebaum won with Shirov 2nd and Amin 3rd among those tallying 8 point each.




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