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Jan Timman vs Dragoljub Velimirovic
Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979), Rio de Janeiro BRA, rd 8, Oct-02
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tarrasch Defense. Pseudo-Tarrasch (D30)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: A famous endgame. It's a tablebase draw after 54.Rxc5 Bf6 but Velimirovic messed it up somewhere.
Jan-14-08  Gilmoy: A few bad B moves stand out. Is 93..Bd2 forced for some deep reason? 94.Rh1+ flushes Black's K to 3, after which Bc3 is no longer possible, and the B cannot return to b2. But maybe 93..Bb2 94.Rh1+ enables a K-R mate in the lower right quadrant, where the B is out of position to defend.

With the B unhinged, White can attack it for free tempi. 102..Bd6 is the last mistake (Bc5), costing Black's K a crucial tempo (103..Kd3 104.Rd8). Black must waste another move with the B (or Ke3), which eventually allows White's Kxa3-Kb4 winning the race to b7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: I meant 64.Rxc5 Bf6
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Gilmoy>But maybe 93..♗b2 94.♖h1+ enables a K-R mate in the lower right quadrant, where the B is out of position to defend.

93...♗b2 leads to a similar position as in the game, eg 93...♗b2 94. ♖g1 ♔h3 95. ♔f4 ♔h2 96. ♖g4 ♔h3 97. ♔f3 ♔h2 98. ♔f2 ♔h3 99. ♖a4 ♗c1 100. ♔e2 ♔g3 101. ♔d1 ♗b2 102. ♔c2 ♔f3 103. ♔b3 ♔e3 104. ♖xa3.

Timman did some extensive analysis of this endgame, as the game was adjourned at least twice. He believes that Velimirovic's major error was 68...♔f8, allowing Timman's king access to the crucial g5 square.

Black could have drawn with 68...♗f6 69. ♔d6 ♗b2 70. ♔d7 ♗c3 71. ♖e3 ♗b2 72. ♖f3+ ♔g6 73. ♔e6 ♖g5 74. ♖f5+ ♔g4.

May-31-13  Chessdreamer: Black moves 18 & 21 switched. it should read 18...Rac8 / 21...Rg8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: During the adjournments, Timman was assisted by his second Ulf Andersson. The game lasted 17 days, as it was finished the day before the last round (Tidskrift för Schack vol. 85 (November 1979) p. 270).
Apr-05-14  john barleycorn: 68.Kf8 was the mistake as Timman supposed (or any other move by the black king as Kg8 or Kg7). Any move of the black bishop (except to e5) would have maintained the draw according to the table bases.
Apr-05-14  AsosLight: Can you prove that Ulf assisted to this?
Apr-05-14  zanzibar: <Tabanus> can you reexamine the moves from the tournament book here?

Carolus gives 18...Rac8 (vs ...Rg8) as first divergence. 18...Rg8 (<CG> move) is clearly a blunder after 19.Qxc6.

Carolus also gives 57...Kf7 (vs ...Kf8) which is a move discussed above. Hmmm.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <AsosLight> No, but Ulf was in Rio as Timman's good friend and second (according to TfS), so it's fair to assume.

<zanzibar> I will check the tournament book on Monday, it's in my office now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Miles' tournament book: 18...Rac8 and 21...Rg8, 57...Kd5, and 67...Kf7

Correction slip sent.

May-02-14  Bowen Island: Donner devotes a number of pages to the adjourned position in his book, "The King." He is continually expressing admiration for the first man to analyze this position out to a win and all the related variations...all the more so since this analysis occurred before the use of chess computers.

Apparently, the only problem in this forced win, besides memorizing the arduous path to victory, was that the win was forced but over-stepped the 50 moves rule. Fortunately, an inaccuracy by Velmirovic shortened the final outcome in Timman's favour!! That rule has since been changed for certain positions, this being one of them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The opening of Donner's long analysis of this game from <The King>, page 319.

<It seems that Jan Timman is going to collect a full point at last. In the eighth round of the tournament at Rio de Janeiro, he was pitted against Velimirovic, who is known as a violent hulk and set up his game accordingly. With black, he defended himself by means of the Tarrasch and tried to overcome the disadvantage of playing black with forceful play. Timman knew how to cope with that all right! After a few accurate little moves, Velimirovic had to allow a serious weakening of his pawn structure and towards the 20th move, Timman had managed to build up an overwhelming position. On the 22nd move, he left Velimirovic just a single opportunity to escape into an ending with an exchange down, but he knew what he was doing. He had correctly assessed that the chances in the endgame would only be on his side. It is in this ending that the game was adjourned.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Some comments on the final stages of this game.

Velmirovic took the excellent decision to abandon the c-pawn with 63..Ke6. Defending with 63..Kc6? loses to 64 Kc4 Be7 65 Rf3 winning the a3 pawn and the game.

Although not losing, Black gave ground unnecessarily with 67..Kf7 when he could simply wait with 67..Ba1. The same move would have been fine on the next turn but instead Velmirovic again retreated with 68..Kf8? which was fatal.

The win was not straightforward. The obvious 69 Kc4 draws because the a-pawn is on its original square and when White captures on a3 Black has time to get his King to a8.

To understand the ending set up the following KEY POSITION ONE. White: Kb6, Rd3, Pa2 and Black: Kc8, Bb2, Pa3. Black to play - he loses due to zugzwang! White to play - he wins with Rd1.

OK, back to the game. After 70 Kf5 like it or not the Black King is going back to the first rank because if 70..Ba1 71 Ra7 Bb2 72 Ra8+

Question after 73 Ra7, Velimirovic's King moves to what we know is the fatal Q-side. Can he stay on the K-side with 73..Bc1? No! 74 Rf7+ Ke8 (74..Kg8? 75 Rc7 wins immediately) 75 Kf6 Bb2+ 76 Ke6 and the Black King is being inexorably pulled over to the !-side where the executioner awaits.

In the game, Black does find a way to stay on the K-side but this has a cost also because if Timman can force the King far enough away, he has time to capture the a3 pawn and run it to the queening square.

Set up KEY POSITION TWO. White: Ka4, Rg3, Pa2 and Black: Kh6, Pa3, Bb2. Here just Rxa3 wins. This is why Velimirovic runs his King up the h-file: he wants to deny the White Rook access to the g3 square.

Another question: on move 85 why doesn't Black simply simply go back with 85..Bb2? The answer is that White now has the idea 86 Kb3 (threat Rg2 and Rxb2) 86..Kh3 87 Rg1 Kh2 88 Rg4 (incredibly 88 Rb1? is a draw because after 88..Kg3 89 Rf1 Kg4! there is no way any more for White to push Velimirovic's King where he wants it) 88..Kh3 89 Ra4! and Rxa3 follows winning.

So 85..Bg5 was a clever resource but not enough to save the game.

Fabulous adjournment analysis by Andersson and Timman and of course over the board realisation by Timman.

Feb-08-19  Gejewe: Jan Timman has described the whole episode in his book "Schaakwerk I" (1983, second printing 1991). He writes that fortunately (in spite of the stir this adjourned endgame created in the Netherlands) he and his second Ulf Andersson were able to analyse undisturbedly for a week- especially at nights, on this endgame. He also writes that the game was resumed the evening before the last round, and that he needed about 15 minutes to win the endgame, mainly for disciplinary reasons. On move 44 (after white's move)the game was adjourned for the first time. After move 77 for the second time, and Timman invested half an hour of his remaining time on the clock to be able to adjourn again. At that point he knew that this was the best he could get, but had not looked at the implications yet. Immediately after adjournment Velimirovic stated this endgame is drawn and Botvinnik was not able to win it against Flohr. Now Timman understood why Velimirovic went right into this endgame, which was not necessary. However such a game between Botvinnik and Flohr was not known to Timman so he presumed that Velimirovic memory has played him tricks. That same evening, Timman, Andersson and Torre were not able to find a clear win. Next morning in part 1 of Cheron's engame work on page 323, he found the exact adjourned position. Which according to Cheron was winning, but.. not within 50 moves ! That night however, Ulf had already worked on the endgame and found a win that is four mover quicker than Cheron's variation, but still ten moves too long. That same afternoon Timman contacted arbiter in chief Harry Golombek to ask whether in this type of endgame the attacker is given additional moves but the answer was negative. Now Timman compares the process as the journey "around the world in 80 days" : will he be back on time to capture a3. As Velimirovic had a lot of adjourned games, Timman and Andersson had a week to solve the problem and they found two moments where the winning procedure could be speeded up and the conclusion was : 48 moves, just in time. On page 32 to 41 of Schaakwerk 1 Timman goes into detail about this endgame, and compares Cheron's analysis with the refinements that Andersson & Timman have found.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Gejewe: ...Immediately after adjournment Velimirovic stated this endgame is drawn and Botvinnik was not able to win it against Flohr. Now Timman understood why Velimirovic went right into this endgame, which was not necessary. However such a game between Botvinnik and Flohr was not known to Timman so he presumed that Velimirovic memory has played him tricks....>

Thank you for that very interesting post.

Pwehaps Velimirovic was thinking of this well-known game: Szabo vs Botvinnik, 1952.

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