Mr Nice Guy

Thanks to the generosity of Dirk-Jan ten Geuzendam of New in Chess, who kindly sent me a copy of the relevant publication, I have just been reading a lovely article by Jan Timman, about one of my chess heroes, Ulf Andersson. The article appears in the latest issue of the Dutch magazine, Matten, and is a tribute to Timman’s 40-plus years of friendship with Andersson (they both turn 60 this year). If you possess the merest smattering of Dutch (and I do not possess any more, I assure you), I recommend getting hold of a copy.

photo: Chessbase

I had to smile at one story, concerning a tournament in 1972, where Andersson, Timman and Hans Bohm all played. Andersson has always been known in the chess world as a real nice guy, and during this event, Timman and Bohm were amazed to discover that it was impossible to get a negative opinion out of Ulfie, about anyone. No matter how unpleasant the person they named, Ulf would never say anything more negative than “he’s OK”. Eventually, Hans Bohm asked him, “Well, what about Hitler – was he OK?”. Ulfie thought for a moment, and then said, sounding very stiff and awkward as he did so, “Well, maybe he was not such a nice guy”!

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