Advent calendar: December 14

by André Schulz
12/14/2016 – From December 1 to December 24 we invite our readers every day to open a door in our advent calendar. Click and enjoy a little chess treat. Advent calendar, door 14.

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Jan Timman celebrates his 65th birthday!

Jan Timman, chess grandmaster, writer, composer, editor, former number two in the world and several times World Championship Candidate, is one of the most important and prominent chess personalities of the last decades. Today he celebrates his 65th birthday. Congratulations!

Jan Timman was born on December 14, 1951, and his enormous chess talent showed early. When he was 15 years old he took part in the U20-World Junior Championships 1967 and finished third. In 1971 he became an International Master, in 1974 he became Grandmaster.

Jan Timman, 1967

Nine times Jan Timman won the title of National Champion of the Netherlands: 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987 and 1996. He played for the Netherlands in 13 Chess Olympiads, and in 1976 he won silver with his team and the gold medal for the best individual performance on board one.

Jan Timman 1971

At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s Timman missed the qualification for the Candidates Tournaments by an inch but in 1985 he convincingly won the Interzonal Tournament in Taxco (Mexico) and qualified for the Candidates Tournament in Montpellier 1985. He qualified for the Candidates Matches but in the semifinal lost 3-6 against Artur Jussupow.

Reaching the semifinal automatically qualified him for the next Candidates cycle. This time he won against Lajos Portisch in the quarterfinals and defeated Jonathan Speelman in the semifinals but lost in the finals against Anatoly Karpov.

In the next cycle he won against Robert Hübner in the round of the last 16, beat Viktor Kortschnoi in the quarterfinal and Artur Jussupow in the semifinal. In the final of the Candidates 1993 he faced Nigel Short who had eliminated Anatoly Karpov in the semifinal. Timman lost the match but still had a chance to play for the title of Fide-World Champion. This was because Kasparov and Short had decided to organize their match for the World Championship outside of the Fide. The Fide now organized an alternative World Championship match in which Timman and Karpov, the players who - after Short - had played best in the Candidate Matches, were to play for the Fide World Championship. Timman lost clearly and Karpov became Fide World Champion.

In 1994 Timman played for a last time in the Fide World Championship cycle. In the round of the last 16 he won against Joel Lautier but was eliminated by Valeri Salov in the quarterfinal.

Timman and Karpov, 2015

During his peak at the beginning of the 1980s Timman was the world's number two behind Anatoly Karpov and the best player of the "Western World". His highest Elo 2680 which he reached in 1990 - taking Elo-inflation into account this might be similar to 2800 Elo today.

In his prime Timman could beat anyone - as the following game shows:


But Timman was not only one of the world's best players he is also a prolific writer. For many years he was editor-in-chief of New in Chess and has published a whole range of books about a variety of topics. His latest book is Timman's Titans, in which Timman portrays World Champions he had met and who played an important role in his life.

Timman's Titans, New in Chess 2016

But Timman's great love are endgame studies and he has composed a number of studies himself. In the following video you see how Timman presents one of his studies to the audience of  the Politiken Cup 2015:

The ChessBase door of December, 14:

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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