Monday, May 28, 2018

Short's King Takes A Walk

    The Tilburg tournaments were a series of very strong events held in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Established in 1977, they ran continuously through 1994 under the sponsorship of Interpolis, an insurance company. Fontys College revived the tournament series from 1996 to 1998, when the last edition was played. There have been other annual tournaments at Tilburg, but the strength and importance has been greatly diminished since the old days.
     In 1992 the tournament was for the first time held in the knockout format.  Game one on day one, game two on day two (both at classic time limits). Day three was a rest day, but for those tied 1-1 they had to play two more tie-break games (each with rapid time limit) and in a few cases, another two. The format was described by some commentators as very brutal. Anyone getting off to a slow start would be eliminated and sent home in just two or three days, such as happened to the entire group of Hungarians: Lajos Portisch, Gyula Sax, Zoltán Ribli, Jozsef Pinter and Peter Leko. Those who did not win cleanly in the initial two games found fatigue a problem due to having to give up their rest days. The benefit over the old double round-robin format, was that it opened up the potential for an unexpected winner which made it exciting for the spectators. 
     The 1992 edition had 111 players, 94 in round one, with the 47 winners then being joined by 17 seeded players given a bye to round two. Round two therefore comprised 64 players, round three 32 and round four 16. At the time, it had the largest prize fund of any traditional tournament. Mickey Adams won 100,000 Dutch guilders which is well over $1000,000 in today's US dollars. The seeded players were also given very generous conditions of a guaranteed 10,000 guilders. 
     The 1994 event, which clashed with another strong tournament in Holland, was organized by the Dutch insurance company Interpolis and was another large knockout tournament. 
     At the opening ceremony, a spokesman for Interpolis shocked the audience with an announcement that the company was reconsidering its chess and other public relations activities, following a merger with Rabobank. 
     Another major surprise was the return of the Brazilian GM Henrique Mecking, a former world-class player, who had suffered a life-threatening condition, but had slowly recovered. 
     There were three more round robins played in 1996 (winner Jeroen Piket), 1997 (winner Peter Svidler) and 1998 (winner Viswanathan Anand). 
     The following game between Nigel Short and Jan Timman features an amazing King march from g1 to g5 to set up a mating net on a board full of pieces, but there was no way Timman could hinder it. 
     Timman made the mistake of entering an opening line that Short was quite familiar with and Short's 30th move contained an idea that was genius.
     Concerning Alekhine's Defense, last year I did a post on it, My Macabre Fascination With Alekhine's Defense, where I wrote, “When I see it, I want to turn away, but am drawn to it and generally can't resist playing over the game.” Naturally, I've tried it several times in correspondence games and have scored plus one in 10 games, but to be honest, I have mostly gotten positions that caused me to regret having played it! 

1) Garry Kasparov 10.0-4.0 
2) Nigel Short 8.5 
3) Viswanathan Anand 8.0 
4) Anatoly Karpov 7.5 
5) Gata Kamsky 7.0 
6) Jan Timman 6.5 
7) Viktor Kortchnoi 5.5 
8) Evgeny Bareev 3.0 

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way about the Alekhine. A Russian fellow who comes to our chess club plays it. He mainly practices against Fritz ..... Here is a link to more comments on the game.