Timman trouncing ’em at Tata

In today’s 5th round at Wijk aan Zee, I dare say it will be the game Nakamura-Navara, which will attract most press attention. But my eye was caught by Timman’s splendid demolition of Sipke Ernst. Timman has long resisted playing in the B Group at Wijk, an understandable thing for someone who has been at the forefront of Dutch, and indeed, world chess, for so long. It is hard to accept that we are in decline. However, it is great that he has finally done so and accepted the organisers’ invitation.

Jan Timman, pictured at this year’s Wijk aan Zee tournament (photo: Chessvibes)

Readers of this blog will know that I am a great admirer of Timman’s deep and classy play, and he is still capable of first-rate games. At Wijk, he has now scored two wins and a draw in the last three rounds. I do not think it is a coincidence that he has managed to exchange queens fairly early in all three games; his vast experience and superb endgame technique makes him especially formidable against younger players, in queenless positions. Today’s effort against the talented Ernst was excellent:

Event: 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament
White: Timman, Jan H
Black: Ernst, Sipke

1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. O-O Nbd7 6. Qc2 Nb6 7. Na3 Qd5 8.b3 cxb3 9. axb3

This gambit line in the English is trendy nowadays, having been recommended by Mihail Marin in his multi-volume magnum opus on the English.

Be6 10. b4 Qb3 11. Qxb3 Bxb3 12. b5

Despite the exchange of queens, White has good compensation for the pawn. His bishop on g2 rakes the enemy queenside very effectively.

c5 13. d3 Nfd7 14. Nd2 Bd5 15. e4 Be6 16. f4 f6 17. e5 Bd5

18. e6! Bxe6 19. Bxb7 Rb8 20. Bc6 g6 21. Nac4 Nc8 22. Ne4 Kf7?

Walking into a sucker punch, but the position was difficult anyway.

23. Ne5+!Nxe5

23… fxe5 24. Ng5+ is even more of a disaster for Black.

24. fxe5 Bf5 25. Nxc5 Bg7 26. d4 Rd8

27. Rxf5!

Incisive to the end.

 gxf5 28. e6+ Kg6 29. Nd7 Nd6 30. Nxb8 Rxb8 31. Rxa7 Nxb5 32. Rxe7 Bh6 33. Be8+ 1-0

UPDATE 20 January: Thanks to ChessVibes, you can now see Timman demonstrating the above game to the Press Room at Corus – see here.

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