GM L. van Wely - GM J. Timman   

Bonus / Addendum Game

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I could not really make up my mind which game to annotate for my game of the month for May, 2004. So I eventually decided to do both of them. And while 90% of my energy will be spent on the other game, I could not resist at least lightly annotating this game. 

 I also wanted to address a small problem.   
I have already had several complaints about the steady diet of KP openings, Sicilians, etc. So to be fair, I decided to mix my coverage of the openings a little bit.  Enjoy!! 

This is basically a text-based page. (With just a few diagrams.)  
  I strongly suggest that you use a chess set.  


   Click  HERE  to see this game on a  java-script re-play  board.   (Not my site!)  

     Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols I use.     

 Loek Van Wely (2617) - Jan Timman (2578) 
 Cogas Energie Match 
  Almelo, NED(Game # 3),  09,04,2004.  

[A.J. Goldsby I]


This is a game from a recent issue of  "The Week In Chess."  (# 492.)  

Two of the best players of Holland face off in a western-style shootout to determine who is "top dog."  
Youth meets experience, and the younger player wins.  (Although van Wely is no rookie, and has 
 played well at many levels and in many international events.) 

Queens are traded early, but these two GM's do not shake hands and walk away from the chess 
board - but slug it out to the very end. White has a slight edge for a long time ... I thought it would 
be very interesting to determine exactly where Timman went wrong. 


   The ratings are those of FIDE.   

 1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 e6;  3.Nc3 Bb4;  4.Qc2,  {Diagram?}    
This is one of the main lines today, although - according to the database - it has yet to reach the 
popularity of the evergreen Rubinstein System. 

This (4.Qc2) is known as "The Classical System,"  and was probably first made popular by 
the Cuban genius, Jose R. Capablanca  ...  during his tenure as the World's Champion. (Although  
Rubinstein actually played it first!)  "Popular in the 1930's and '40's, it became known as a safe, 
but very dull and a drawish line."  It sat virtually unused for many years, ... then ...  "New ideas 
from Ivan Sokolov, Garry Kasparov, and Yasser Seirawan led to a revival of the Classical 
Variation."  - GM Nick de Firmian in MCO-14

The (obvious) main idea of this line is to avoid the doubled c-Pawns. 
The drawback is that White sometimes loses several tempi with the Queen. 
One of the earliest games in the database by its progenitor, is the contest:  
   Karel Opocensky - Aaron NimzowitschMarienbad, Germany1925.  

     [ The main line of the Nimzo is still the Rubinstein System:   4.e3{Diagram?}    
        and White develops as quickly as possible ... and keeps his options open. 
        (Possibly Nge2 is next?)  {See any good reference book, like ECO or MCO - 
         for more information on this opening system.} ]   


 4...0-0;  5.a3!? Bxc3+!?;  6.Qxc3 b6;  ('!?')  {Diagram?}    
One of the modern main lines.   


     [ Black can also play  ...Ne4  here. 

       For example:   6...Ne47.Qc2 f5 8.Nf3 b69.g3 Bb7;   
       10.Bg2 Nf6!11.0-0 Be412.Qc3 Qe8;  "="  {Diagram?}    
       Black has close to full equality. 

       For example, see the contest:   V. Chekhov - B. Gurgenidze  
       URS-ch FL50 / Telavi, U.S.S.R; 1982. 
       {This game was drawn in 41 moves.}   

       [ See also MCO-14, page # 532; and column # 04, and all applicable notes. ]  ]   



 7.Bg5 Bb7;  8.f3 h6;  9.Bh4 d5;  10.e3 Nbd7;  11.Nh3!?,  (TN?)   {Diagram?}    
White seeks to develop ... and also avoid any exchanges. 


     [ The  main line seems to be:   11.cxd5 Nxd5!12.Bxd8 Nxc3   
       13.Bh4 Nd5{Diagram?}   The end of the column.  

       14.Bf2 f515.Bb5 c616.Bd3 e517.Ne2 Rae8; "~"  {Diagram?}      
         ... "with just a minute edge for White." - GM Nick de Firmian   

       GM Jeroen Piket - GM Anatoly KarpovMatch Game, 1999.  (See CBM 70)   

       [ See (also) MCO-14, page # 532;  column # 01, and also note # (g.). ]  ]    



Now Black tries an explosion in the center. 
(Perhaps there is the possibility of White playing the move of c4-c5 next?)   

 11...c5!?;  12.cxd5 Nxd5!?;   {Diagram?}    
This looks right ... and is highly similar to the 'book' line. But after this move White seems 
keep a very persistent and bothersome advantage. (Black never really has the chance to 
equalize from here.) 

     [ Maybe better was:  >/=  12...exd5! 13.Nf2 c414.b3 b5   
       15.a4 a616.Be2 Qe7 17.Ng4!? Rfe8; "="  {Diagram?}     
       when Black seems to have no real problems here at all. ]   


Now comes a very long series of moves that are best and are pretty much forced for both sides. 
 13.Bxd8 Nxc3;  14.Be7! Rfe8;  15.Bh4 Nd5;  {Diagram?}     
Believe it or not, this has all been seen before, in the following game: 
GM M. Gurevich - GM M. Adams;  ICT / World Summit Match / 
Reykjavik, ICE; 1990. (A draw in 39 moves.)  


 16.Bb5! g5!?;  17.Bf2 Red8!;  18.e4 N5f6;  19.0-0N(hmmm)   {Diagram - just below}   
Simple and safe ... but the capture of dxc5 merited serious thought here. 



   The actual position after White's 19th move, which is probably new to master practice. (gotm_may-04a_pos1.gif, 44 KB)



And ... believe it or not ... this move is the first new move of the game, at least as far as I could determine from literally dozens of different database searches. (White usually captures on c5 here. One game saw b4!?, and in another contest, White actually castled on the Queen-side in this position.)   


     [ Possible ... but not necessarily better was the continuation of: 
        19.dxc5!? Nxc520.Bxc5 bxc521.Rc1,  (isolated c-Pawn)  {Diagram?}   
        and the first player has the better pawn structure, ... 
        (two pawn-islands versus three for Black); for the coming endgame. 

        Merab Gagunashvili (2580) - C. Li Wenliang (2477);   
        ICT / Masters / 'Harmonie' (Open?) / Groningen, NED;  2003.   
        (1-0 in 54 hard-fought moves.) ]    



 19...Rac8;  20.Rad1 a6!?;  {Diagram?}   
This looks innocent enough here, but later in the game Black will be wishing that he could take 
this move back! Really!! 


 21.Be2!?,  {Diagram?}     
White decides to keep the Bishops and not exchange down at this point.  

     [ Possible was:  21.Bxd7, "~/="  ]    


Now the first player finds a nice plan to re-position his pieces and try to increase the pressure. 
 21...Kf8;  22.Be3! Ke7;  23.Nf2 cxd4;  24.Rxd4 Rc2;  {Diagram?}    
Black forces an exchange of Rooks, but this does not help him much. 


 25.Rd2 Rxd2;  26.Bxd2 Rc8;  {Diagram?}    
A natural move  ...  Timman grabs the only open file.   

     [ Or Black can play:  26...Ne5!?27.Bb4+ Ke828.Rc1, "+/="  {Diagram?}   
        but White might maintain a slight edge from this position. ]    


 27.Nd1!?,  {Diagram?}   
An interesting move - Van Wely forgoes the exchange of any more material, and even sets 
a small trap. 

     [ Also to be considered was the move:   27.Rc1{Diagram?}   
        and forcing the exchange of Rooks. ]  


 27...Ne8;  ('!?')  {Diagram?}     
This looks slightly artificial  ...  but there is no easy path to equality for Timman 
from this position. 

     [ Or  27...Rc228.Bb4+ Ke829.Bd3 Rc630.Bc3, "+/=" ]   


Note that when White's Knight comes to the e3-square, the Black Rook cannot invade on 
the seventh rank anymore. 
 28.Ne3 a5!?;  (Probably - '?!')    {See the diagram, just below.}       
This prevents Bb4 by White ... but has the disadvantage of greatly weakening the b6-square. 
(Most programs note an immediate increase in the overall point score.) 



  Black just played the seemingly natural move, ...a7-a5. (To prevent White from playing Bb4+.) Is this move a mistake? (gotm_may-04a_pos2.gif, 45 KB)



Additionally, White now has the possibility of a pawn-lever that greatly increases the energy 
of his position. 

     [ Maybe a little better was:   (>/=)  28...Nd629.Rd1{Diagram?}   
        but White maintains an edge. ]  


Loek van Wely responds in an extremely vigorous fashion. 
 29.b4! axb4!?;  {Diagram?}    
Seeking solace in exchanges ... but this also brings White's QB strongly into play. 

     [ Was the move:  29...a4!?; {Diagram?}  playable here for Black? ]  


 30.Bxb4+ Kf6?!;  {Diagram?}    
This gets the King almost completely out of trouble but also gets one of 
Black's strongest pieces completely out of the fight! 

     [ Probably better was:  >/=  30...Kd831.Rd1 Kc7!32.a4!?, "+/="  
        32...Bc6!;  "<=>"  {Diagram?}    If Black can force White to play a4-a5, 
        he will have drawing chances based on the fact that  all the Pawns are on 
        the same side of the board. (Maybe instead of a4, Ng4 might be a small 
        improvement for White?) ]   


 31.Bb5 Nb8;  32.Nc4!,  {Diagram?}   
White immediately brings the Knight to bear on the weak Pawn on b6. 

     [ Some programs like:   32.Rd1!?, {Diag?}   here for White, instead of Nc4. ]   


 32...Ba6!?;  33.Nxb6 Rd8;  {Diagram?}   
The old rule of thumb for positions like this is: 
"When you have a bad game, avoid the exchange of PIECES! But try to trade as many Pawns 
  as possible, as this will increase your chances of drawing the game." 


     [ Or   33...Bxb5!?; 34.Nxc8 Bxf135.Kxf1, ''  (Maybe "+/-") {Diagram?}   
        White's QRP is very strong here. ]  


Black continues to struggle, but GM L. van Wely has a very strong grip on the game now. 
 34.a4 Nc7;  35.Bc3+ e5;  36.Rb1! Bxb5[];  37.axb5 Rd3;  38.Ba5 h5;  39.Rc1!?,    
 39...Nxb5;  40.Nd5+ Kg7;  ('?')   {Diagram?}    
A small error in a position that is already lost for Black. 
(If Timman wanted to continue, he was forced to sacrifice the exchange 
 on the d5-square.)   

     [ >/=  40...Rxd541.exd5 Nd742.Bd8+ Kf543.Kf2, "+/-" ]  


 41.Rb1,  ("+/-")  {Diagram?}   Black Resigns.   

An impressive display of technique by Van Wely. When this volume of TWIC was available 
for download, I immediately noticed and played through this game. 

During the next week, I went through this game about a dozen more times. 
(WITHOUT the aid of any programs or computers!!)  

It was NOT immediately evident where or when Black made his mistakes!! 
(In fact, it took about two weeks of study to be able to pinpoint exactly where Black went astray.) 


Copyright () A.J. Goldsby I. 
Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2004.  All rights reserved. 


All games - the HTML code was (initially) generated with the program,  ChessBase 8.0  

The diagrams on this page were generated with the help of the program,  Chess Captor 2.25.   


  1 - 0  

 For follow-up study:   
See  game # 5  of the   Boris Spassky - R.J. Fischer  W.C. MatchReykjavik, Iceland; 1972.   
(Fischer plays the "Huebner System," and just crushes Spassky in under 30 moves ... with the Black pieces!) 

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This page was finished a few days ago ... and was posted on  Saturday;  May 08, 2004.  Last update: 09/02/2004.   

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby I  

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