Groningen Chess Festival

by Alejandro Ramirez
12/31/2013 – The Groningen Chess Festival has concluded. Attractions included several amateur tournaments, many scholastic events, simultaneous exhibitions and book signings. However the two obvious main events were the Open section and the rematch between Karpov and Timman, replaying the FIDE World Championship of 1993 in which the Russian convincingly won. See Karpov's repeat.

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The Groningen Chess Festival took place from December 21st to December 30th. Many events took place, including scholastic events, amateur tournaments and even puzzle solving competitions. However the main attractions were surely the Open tournament and the match between to legendary chess players: Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman.


The match was held in the Groningen Museum of Art and it was played to four games. The first three games were relatively uneventful draws. However, in the night before the fourth game, Timman suffered quite an accident! He fell and broke his hand, which had him most of the morning before his fourth round in the hospital. Incredibly he decided to play regardless, but Karpov proved to be too much for him during the last round:

[Event "Karpov-Timman Match 2013"] [Site "Groningen NED"] [Date "2013.12.29"] [Round "4"] [White "Karpov, Anatoly"] [Black "Timman, Jan H"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2619"] [BlackElo "2600"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2013.12.26"] {The fourth and final game was the only decisive round of the match.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 b5 (5... Bb4+ {is the more popular variation, but b5 has never been truly refuted.}) 6. cxb5 Bxb5 7. Bg2 Bb4+ 8. Bd2 a5 9. a3 {A relatively unknown move. The players are on their own now. White has some pluses, such as his slight development and space advantage, but Black has his own counterchances: good light square control and a solid pawn structure.} Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 Bc6 11. O-O Qc8 12. Qc2 Qb7 13. Nbd2 O-O 14. Rfc1 Ra7 15. Ra2 Bd5 16. Rb2 d6 17. Ne1 Bxg2 18. Nxg2 Nbd7 19. Qc6 {Karpov has played this in the manner for which he was always known: slow and steady, always improving his positional advantages and step by step drilling his opponent in.} Rb8 20. Rbc2 h6 $2 {This makes his opponent's task much easier.} (20... Qxc6 21. Rxc6 Rbb7 {favors White, but at least material equality still remains.}) 21. Qxc7 Qa6 22. Qc4 Qxc4 23. Rxc4 Nb6 24. Rc6 Ne8 25. e4 {White's positional advantages and extra pawn give him a decisive advantage. Karpov simply does not forgive such a big lead.} Kf8 26. Ne3 Ke7 27. d5 Kd7 28. dxe6+ fxe6 29. e5 d5 30. R6c5 Kd8 31. f4 Nd7 32. Rc6 Nc7 33. a4 Rb6 34. Rxb6 Nxb6 35. Rc6 Nd7 36. Nf3 Nb8 37. Nd4 $1 Kd7 38. Rb6 Nba6 39. f5 {The final breakthrough. Notice how Karpov never let Timman had the slightest counterplay or the slightest piece activity throughout the game. The rest is straightforward.} Nc5 40. fxe6+ N5xe6 41. Rd6+ 1-0

A lively commentary room followed the games closely

Karpov does a little post-mortem from one of the drawn games

Karpov and Timman played a World Championship match in 1993, which Karpov won convincingly 12.5-8.5 However this match was overshadows by what many consider to be the actual World Championship match of that year, the PCA's Kasparov vs. Short.

Two of the great legends of chess!

Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 Pts
Jan Timman 2600
Karpov Anataloly 2619

Replay all games

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Open Section

The open section brought many grandmasters from all over the World. The tournament ended in a four way tie between Erwin L'Ami, Zaven Andriasian, Benjamin Bok and Sipke Ernst.

Peng Zhaoqin had an unbelievable event and won
approximately 25 rating points with a 2570 performance

Erwin L'Ami, spouse of the globetrotter Alina L'Ami,
clinched first by quickly drawing Bok in the last round

Danielian shoots a smile to her opponent and fellow Armenian player...

Zaven Andriasian. One of the four winners of the event.

Benjamin Bok secured his third GM norm with a round to spare,
but he will need yet another norm to complete his title

Ernst has always been a strong player in the Netherlands

These girls warm up by playing some four way chess! Look at the determination on the game...

The scholastic section brought together hundreds of players

But let us not forget the legends of old!

Replay games from the open section

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Alina L'Ami had another good performance with 6.0/9

Final Rankings

Rank Name Score Fed. Rating TPR W-We
1 GM Andriasian, Zaven 7.0 ARM 2610 2709 +1.13
2 GM L'Ami, Erwin 7.0 NED 2645 2723 +0.93
3 IM Bok, Benjamin 7.0 NED 2540 2695 +1.81
4 GM Ernst, Sipke 7.0 NED 2566 2577 +0.29
5 GM Romanov, Evgeny 6.5 RUS 2654 2656 +0.18
6 GM Rodshtein, Maxim 6.5 ISR 2683 2634 -0.38
7 GM Greenfeld, Alon 6.5 ISR 2531 2528 +0.23
8 GM Michalik, Peter 6.0 SVK 2577 2630 +0.73
9 IM Stukopin, Andrey 6.0 RUS 2509 2624 +1.44
10 GM Kovchan, Alexander 6.0 UKR 2562 2526 -0.24
11 GM Novikov, Stanislav 6.0 RUS 2556 2527 -0.23
12 IM Simonian, Tigran 6.0 ARM 2401 2485 +1.06
13 GM Peng, Zhaoqin 6.0 NED 2369 2570 +2.43
14 IM Svane, Rasmus 6.0 GER 2472 2458 -0.05
15 FM Goudriaan, Etienne 6.0 NED 2429 2420 +0.00
16 FM Beukema, Stefan 6.0 BEL 2280 2428 +1.84
17 GM Garcia Palermo, Carlos 6.0 ITA 2450 2389 -0.48
18 IM Arslanov, Shamil 6.0 RUS 2403 2444 +0.59
19 WGM L'Ami, Alina 6.0 ROU 2390 2394 +0.28

Photos by Harry Gielen, Ab Scheel and Bart Beijer, taken from the official website

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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