It was quite a busy day in Amsterdam. The arrival of “Sinterklaas” an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long, full beard caused some massive traffic problems in the city. Sinterklaas traditionally arrives in the Netherlands each year in mid-November by steamboat from Spain. That’s a crazy story? Nah, not when you’re Dutch. Anyway, the participants of the simultaneous exhibition of Jan Timman arrived on time in the public library in Amsterdam and the Dutch grandmaster started his games against 24 opponents to open the Euwe tournament. He had quite a tough time today: he won 19 games, made one draw but lost four games. Timman was not really pleased with his 81,2 % average and grumbled about having made some terrible blunders. His opponents Angelo Spiler, Niels van Dam, Martijn van der Eijk and Fred van Gunst did not care and were very happy with the result.
Here is a pretty finish in the game Jan Timman-Fred van Gunst:
Timman played 24.Bxc6 and Black answered with the nice move 24…Qxh3+. “I was happy with the draw after 25. gxh3 Bxc6”, van Gunst smiled after the game. But Timman wanted to win and played 25. Kg1. After 25…Bxc6 Timman obviously thought that his next move would win the game: 26. Qd4+ because after 26…Rg7 27. Qxg7! black can resign. However, after the pretty blow 26…Re5! it was Timman who had to resign.
The oldest player in the simul, 88 (!) year old Rien Quakkelaar told us after the game that he played in a simul against Euwe back in 1946. He won! He also played another world champion Botwinnik in a simul but he lost that one. The Timman simul was a nice kick-off of the events coming up this week in Amsterdam and there were a lot of non-chess playing spectators who were fascinated by the event. Good promotion of the game!
After the simul the drawing of lots took place. In group 1 we will see the following games on Monday: Peng-Cramling and Olafsson-van der Sterren.
In group 2 we have the games Socko-van Kampen and Conquest- Arakhamia.
After the ceremony, Paul van der Sterren presented his massive biography in the Dutch language “Zwart op wit”. New in Chess publisher Allard Hoogland handed over the first copy of the book.