Bruzon fights back to take classical section

6/19/2005 – In the two-part match between Dutch GM Jan Timman and Cuban talent Lazaro Bruzon, the former took a 3½:½ lead in the rapid section. Then came the classical section, with very exciting games, intensely enjoyed by the spectators on the Internet and on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

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Exciting finish in Curaçao

After winning the first section of the match (rapid chess) with a convincing 3.5:0.5 score, Dutch chess legend Jan Timman had to face Cuba's most promising GM, 23-year-old Lazaro Bautista Bruzon in four classical chess games. Here the going was not quite so smooth for Timman.

The first classic game was a quick draw in 19 moves, with Timman on the white side not showing any great ambitions to go for a win. Then in game two Lazaro Bruzon lashed out in an unusual French game, after his opponent had played some weakening moves (especially 18...Nf8 instead of 18...Nxf3+). The Cuban did not give Timman a chance to recover, playing accurately all the way to victory in 40 moves.

Bruzon,L (2669) - Timman,J (2607) [C00]
Match Curacao AHO (6), 14.06.2005
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 c5 3.g3 Nc6 4.c3 d5 5.d3 Nge7 6.Nf3 b6 7.Bg2 Ba6 8.e5 Qc7 9.0-0 Ng6 10.Re1 Be7 11.h4 h6 12.Nbd2 0-0-0 13.a3 Kb8 14.Rb1 f6 15.exf6 gxf6 16.b4 Nce5 17.b5 Bc8 18.h5 Nf8 19.Nxe5 fxe5 20.Nf3 Nd7 21.Nxe5 Nxe5 22.Bf4 Bd6 23.Bxe5 Rhg8 24.Bh3 Rdf8 25.d4 Rg5 26.Bxd6 Qxd6 27.a4 Rf4 28.Bg2 Rff5 29.a5 bxa5 30.Qe3 c4 31.Ra1 e5 32.dxe5 Rxe5 33.Qd2 Rxh5 34.Rxe5 Rxe5 35.Rxa5 Qf6 36.Ra1 Rf5 37.Bxd5 h5 38.Qe3 Qb6 39.Qxb6+ axb6.

40.Ra8+ and 1-0 because of 40...Kc7 41.Rxc8+ Kxc8 42.Be6+.

The next game was, if anything, even more exciting. Once again Bruzon was on the attack after inaccuracies by Timman, but the experienced Dutch GM found an interesting save.

Timman,J (2607) - Bruzon,L (2669) [B46]
Match Curacao AHO (7), 16.06.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Qd2 Bb4 8.f3 d5 9.0-0-0 Qa5 10.Nb3 Bxc3 11.Nxa5 Bxd2+ 12.Bxd2 dxe4 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bc3 c5 15.Rd6? 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.fxe4 Bb7 17.Bd3 was a better continuation. 15...exf3 16.gxf3 Bb7 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Be2 Ke7 19.Rb6 Rhb8 20.Rg1 Bd5 21.Rxb8 Rxb8 22.Rg7 Rh8 23.Kd2 e5 24.Ke3 a5 25.b3.


Timman vs Bruzon, game seven, after 25.b3.

25...f5 26.f4 Kf6 27.Rg1 Re8 28.fxe5+ Kxe5 29.Kf2 Re6 30.Rg3 Rh6 31.h3 Rg6 32.Rc3 Rg2+ 33.Kf1 Rh2 34.Rxc5 Kd4.

Here Timman, who has been under a lot of pressure for a while now, found an imaginative continuation. 35.Rxd5+ Kxd5 36.Bf3+ Kd4 37.Bg2 trapping the rook in a box.

37...Ke3. Black could also try 37...Kc3 38.a3 Kxc2 39.b4 axb4 40.axb4. This looks won for White since the b-pawn is unstoppable, but: 40...Kd2 41.b5 f4 42.Kf2 Rxg2+ 43.Kxg2 Ke2 44.b6 f3+ 45.Kh2 f2 46.b7 f1Q 47.b8Q with unclear chances to win. 38.Kg1 Rxg2+ 39.Kxg2 Ke2 40.Kg3 Ke3 41.Kg2 ½-½.

These two games were real crowd-pleasers, but surpassed by the final encounter, which was the most spectacular game of the match. Timman played a French Defense but got a cramped position, and the Cuban looked poised for a 3:1 overall victory.

Bruzon,L (2669) - Timman,J (2607) [C19]
Match Curacao AHO (8), 17.06.2005
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Nf3 Bd7 8.a4 Qa5 9.Bd2 Nbc6 10.Bb5 Qc7 11.0-0 h6 12.Re1 b6 13.Bd3 c4 14.Bf1 0-0-0 15.g3 Rdf8 16.Bc1 Rd8 17.Ba3 Be8 18.Bg2 Kb8 19.Nd2 Nc8 20.Nf1 a5 21.Ne3 N6e7 22.Qg4 Rg8 23.Reb1 Ka7 24.Qf3 Nc6 25.Rb2 Nb8 26.Rab1 Na6

White is doing fine and is pressing for a win, but now comes an incautious move: 27.Bd6? Nxd6 28.Rxb6 Ne4 29.Rb7+ Qxb7 30.Rxb7+ Kxb7 31.Nxc4 Rc8. From the very cramped position in the above diagram Black had now opened things up and taken the initiative. 32.Nd6+ Nxd6 33.exd6 Nb8 34.Qd3

Black is doing fine and pressing for a win. 34...Ka7? Can you see the downside of this move? Black needed to move his king to b6 to take the b5 square from the bishop! 35.c4 Rxc4 36.Qh7 Rf8 37.Qxg7 Nd7 38.Bf1 and now if the black king were on b6 Black could simply play 38...Rxa4, a move that here is refuted by the fork 39.Bb5.

38...Rc8 39.Bb5 Rb8 40.Bc6 Nb6 41.Qxf8 Bxc6 42.Qxf7+ Ka6 43.Qxe6 Bxa4 44.f4 Bd7 45.Qe2+ Bb5 46.Qf3 Re8 47.f5 Re1+ 48.Kg2 Rf1 49.Qh5 Rc1.

Now 50.Qxh6 looks very convincing, especially since it guards the c1 square that Black is going to use to check on. 50.f6 Rxc2+ 51.Kg1 Rc1+ 52.Kg2 Rc2+ 53.Kg1 Rc1+ 54.Kg2 Rc2+ ½-½.

The final table of the match was as follows:

Rapid chess
Jan Timman
½
1
1
1
Lazaro Bruzon
½
0
0
0
½
Rapid chess
Jan Timman
½
0
½
½
Lazaro Bruzon
½
1
½
½


Curaçao is the largest island of the Netherlands Antilles. The other Caribbean islands of the Netherlands Antilles are Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Aruba was also part of these Antilles, but in 1986 they stepped out to obtain a special status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


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