Timman's Titans - First Move Chess -First Move Chess


Earlier this week, Kazuo Ishiguro, the English novelist who wrote The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, was taken completely by surprise during a BBC radio interview to discover that he was the 2017 recipient of the Nobel prize in literature. And last week, in something of a little chessic literary parallel, Dutch legend Jan Timman was just as equally surprised to discover during a live broadcast at the Chess.com Isle of Man Masters that he’d just won the most prestigious annual book award for our game.

In a year with many leading and equally very worthy contenders for the judges to agonize and procrastinate over, Timman’s Titan’s: My World Champions just tipped the scales to win the hotly-contested English Chess Federation’s Book of the Year Award. And typically for the ever-modest “Jan the Man”, the Dutchman’s first reaction on hearing live on air that he’d won the award was to say “I think I deserve it!”

And Timman unquestionably did deserve the coveted award for his very personal tome that’s brim full of insight, anecdotes, and well-annotated games that we’ve come to normally expect from the living legend. This is a smorgasbord of a book that will easily keep the reader amazed, entertained and thoroughly enthralled from cover to cover. And even the ECF panel of judges unanimously agreed it to be “a chess book which covers nearly every aspect of chess: history, character, ambition, styles of play, technical aspects, a rare chess set, wives and even dreams!”

Timman was one of the world’s best players through the end of the 1970s and through the 1980s, but was born in the wrong era, as he constantly found himself battling in his quest to become world champion at a time when first Anatoly Karpov, and then followed by Garry Kasparov, were simply untouchable and reigned supreme over the chess world – but the Dutchman’s private views and comments of his Soviet rivals during their back-to-back hegemony of the game proved both to be revealing and very insightful.


Earlier today, publisher Allard Hoogland announced that he was delighted and overjoyed on behalf of everyone at New in Chess that Timman’s book had won this year’s ECF Book of the Year Award – and luckily, the award comes at a timely moment, just as the book was reprinted after initially selling out, and now available again for chess lovers all over the world.

And to whet your appetite, you can read a good selection of sample pages from Timman’s Titans by clicking here before buying it!

Roland Loos – GM Jan Timman
chess.com IoM Masters, (2)
Queen’s Indian Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 It looks funny putting the bishop on the edge of the board early doors, as this goes against all the perceived chess wisdom of opening development – but this modern-day approach serves a purpose by attacking the c-pawn, as White doesn’t want to defend by playing e3 after playing g3, and b3 will allow …Bb4 forcing an exchange of the dark-squared bishops. 5.Nbd2 Bb4 6.Qc2 Bb7 The bishop has done its job of disrupting White’s development, so now retreats to its normal Queen’s Indian outpost on b7, where’s it is ready to further hassle White’s queen from e4. 7.Bg2 Be4 8.Qd1 0-0 9.0-0 Bxd2 10.Qxd2 If 10.Nxd2 Bxg2 11.Kxg2 d5 leaves Black with the grudgingly slightly better position. 10…d6 11.b3 Nbd7 12.Bb2 Qe7 13.Rfd1 Rfe8 14.Rac1 a5 Black want’s to disrupt White’s queenside by preventing b4, and also threatening to push on with a4 and perhaps a3. 15.Qc3 h6 16.Bh3 Bb7 The retreat makes way for …Ne4 and – after perhaps …Rad8 – possibly …Bc8 with the idea of challenging White’s bishop on the h3-c8 diagonal. 17.Qd3 Rad8 18.Nd2 e5 Forcing White reply, as he doesn’t want Black to further push with …e4 and …e3. 19.d5 Nc5 20.Qc2 Nh7! Timman has designs on a kingside attack by swapping off the white-squared bishops and playing aggressive moves such as …Ng5 and …Qf6. 21.a3 Bc8 22.Bg2 Bd7! Preventing the knight being shunted for now by b4, as now Black can play…Ba4 skewering White’s queen and rook. 23.e4 f5 24.Re1 fxe4 25.Nxe4 Bf5 Timman now has a firm grip of the position. His pieces are more harmoniously developed with plenty of scope for launching into a kingside attack. 26.b4 axb4 27.axb4 Nxe4 28.Bxe4 Bxe4 29.Qxe4 Ng5 The exchange of pieces simply leaves Black with a strong knight vs bad bishop scenario. 30.Qg4 Qd7 31.Qxd7 Nf3+ 32.Kh1 Rxd7 33.Re3 Rf7 The knight on f3 is a thorn right in the heart of White’s position, leaving no way to simultaneously defend the weakness on f2 and c4. 34.Kg2 Ref8 35.Bc3 Nd2! Forcing the win of a pawn with f2 and c4 simultaneously under attack. 36.Re2 Nxc4 37.b5 Na3 38.Rb2 Rf3! It’s not just the win of one pawn now, because in the long-term, with the pawns on b5 and d5, another is sure to fall, as White’s dark-squared bishops will be unable to defend those vulnerable white-squares. 39.Be1 Rd3 40.Ra1 e4! [see diagram] Taking full advantage of the fact that that White can’t shift the interloping knight for now with Rba2 else b5 falls, and later bringing unbearable pressure on d5 with a timely …Rf5. 41.Rc1 Rf7 42.Ra1 e3! 43.f4 So what else is there to do here, as no better is 43.fxe3 Nc4 with Black soon going to be picking off the weak pawns on e3, d5 & b5? 43…Rf5 44.Rc1 Rfxd5! A nice tactical trick is a-coming that will soon prove decisive. 45.Rxc7 Rd2+! 0-1 And Loos here opts now to resign, especially with the threat hanging over him of 46.Bxd2 exd2 winning a piece, as it forces the rook sacrifice with 47.Rxd2 Rxd2+ in a vain attempt to stop the pawn from queening.


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