Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jan Timman's Fighting Spirit


White to play and win.

GM Jan Timman's recent victory at the 14th Sigeman & Co. Chess Tournament in Malmo, Sweden, was due solely to his fighting spirit. Rarely did he have any advantage out of the opening, but he kept creating problems for his opponent deep into the game. And then, inevitably it seems, there was a slip and it gave Timman the only chance he needed to go for the win. His first round game against Berg (which I have annotated, along with one other game) is a case in point: to solve the problems that Timman created for him, Berg made a daring piece sacrifice to gain the initiative. With the tide turning in his opponent's favor, Timman correctly decided to force a draw by perpetual check. Berg, however, mistook his initiative for a winning attack and therefore avoided the draw, and that's the only opening that Timman needed. Demonstrating incredible technique in the endgame of R+N vs. R+2P, Timman finally gained the victory (see diagram above).

Related links:
On Mates and Ex-Mates by David R. Sands, The Washington Times (May 13, 2006)
Timman-Berg: A Study-like Conclusion by Dennis Monokroussos
Sigeman 2006 by Mig Greengard


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