Jan Timman's birthday study tournament

by Yochanan Afek
2/7/2018 – Jan Timman turned 66 years old on December 14th, 2017, and received an unusual gift from his friend of 50 years, IM Hans Bohm: a study competition launched in his honour. 66 composers from around the world competed for a 2000 euro prize fund. Noted study expert Yochanan Afek brings us the highlights — pull up a chair, settle in, and enjoy. | Pictured (clockwise from left): The jury: Jan Timman, Hans Böhm, Yochanan Afek, Harold van der Heijden | Photo: Dorette van der Heijden

Endgames for experts Endgames for experts

If you want to play successful chess you must pay great attention to the endgame. On this DVD, Rustam Kasimdzhanov analyses the type of practical endgames which tournament players encounter on a daily basis. He explains what has to be known in order to make the correct strategic decisions and to find the correct plan in such endings. Kasimdzhanov’s outstanding and easily understandable explanations will certainly help you to substantially improve your own performance in the endgame.


A gesture to a close friend

It is not that common in our community that a chess master bestows a valuable present to a life long friend and colleague. At least not like this!

Jan Timman, the Dutch world class grandmaster and arguably the most prolific contemporary study composer, and IM Hans Bohm, the Dutch “Mister Chess”, a well known presenter, writer and promoter, have been close friends for more than 50 years. In the late sixties of the last century they played together in the Dutch junior championships, and travelled around the globe to take part in numerous tournaments. Then for two decades Hans accompanied Jan as a journalist and supporter, reporting on his heroic attempts in several cycles for the world championship title.

Timman and Bohm as juniors

Timman and Bohm in Biel, Switzerland, 1969 | Photo: HansBohm.com 

Both men have always been great enthusiasts for the art of the endgame study as well. To celebrate 50 years of their friendship and Jan’s 65th anniversary Hans decided to surprise his great friend with a precious gift: organizing and sponsoring two study composing tourneys: One was without a set theme — a first ever of its kind — to be judged by Hans and myself, and was aimed at stimulating titled over-the-board players from FM to GM to send in their composing efforts. The second, an open thematic one, to be judged jointly by Jan and Hans, required either a bishop mate or playing against a bishop mate.

A total of 108 entries by 66 composers competed for a 2000 euro prize fund. The tournament director, Harold van der Heijden, a well known study expert and the man behind the largest study database (with some 85,000 items in total!) checked all entries for soundness and originality and anonymized their diagrams to secure maximal objectivity of the judgement process.

Four money prizes and four honourable mentions were awarded in each section. Each awarded composer also received Timman’s award-winning book Timman’s Titans with a dedication of the jubilant.

Let us enjoy the awarded entries:

Section A — For over-the-board titled players 
Martin Minski Steffen Slumstrup David Gurgenidze

(Left) Martin Minski and David Gurgenidze, (right) Steffen Slumstrup and Minski | Photos: Martin Minski 

Section B — For everyone with a bishop mate

Correction February 8: In the Amatzia Avni study (section A, fourth prize) the pawn on c2 was initially placed on e2 by mistake.



Yochanan was born (1952) and grew up in Tel-Aviv, and now lives in Amsterdam. He has been involved in nearly every aspect of chess, both as a professional and a volunteer, for the last 50 years, and remains an active player, composer, writer, organizer, trainer and commentator. He is an International Master and International Arbiter for chess as well as International Grandmaster for chess composition, and the author of Extreme Chess Tactics (Gambit 2017) and Practical Chess Beauty (Quality Chess 2018).


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