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Aleksandar Matanovic vs Jan Hein Donner
"The Donner Party" (game of the day May-26-2010)
Hoogovens (1965), Beverwijk NED, rd 3, Jan-08
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Norwegian Variation (C70)  ·  0-1



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Given 48 times; par: 29 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-17-07  nescio: Donner called this hilarious game afterwards: "A crime against the game of chess" After 8 moves he is lost, 18.Nxg6 and 19.Bf4 would leave Black helpless and even 21.Nd2 wins easily. For 21.Qxh6 there are not enough question marks on my keyboard.

An hour after the game Matanovic was still staring at the empty chessboard, not understanding, astonished and non-communicative...

Jul-20-07  spasskey69: Donner also said, "It took a while before I realized I had won." This game and his commentary are in his immortal book, THE KING. You gotta love chess legends like Donner.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: A funny game. After white has been on the attack for so long, it is amazing how quickly black drums up a decisive attack of his own.

The move 21...Qa7+ can be hard to spot visually. The black queen moves all the way to the left in order to check a king which is nearly all the way to the right. And after 22. Kh1 Rxf1 is a long move, running the full length of the board. And time and time again we have seen that backwards moves and long moves can be the hardest to see, especially when the danger falls in an area of the board that has previously been safe.

May-26-10  abstraction: A word of advice: if the Donners invite you for dinner, don't go ...
May-26-10  CapablancaFan122: <21..Qa7+> What a rude awakening for white!
May-26-10  andymac: Donner is a legend in many ways. And The King is mandatory reading, IMHO. "A crime against the game of chess" - love it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Don't you just absolutely hate it when that happens! It's enough to make you give up chess...
May-26-10  Marmot PFL: In this game the question was only who deserved to lose more. The top players never grab pieces like this, when they haven't developed or connected the rooks, without checking everything.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessmensch: 21.Qxh6. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White is swindled and will be mated soonest.
May-26-10  Riverbeast: This was around the time Fischer said "Donner is the weakest grandmaster in the world"
May-26-10  sneaky pete: In a little over 5 years I have submitted (manually, one by one, usually transcribing from another type of notation) nearly a hundred games, mainly from old magazines, to this here database as they call it, and 5 of them, including this one, were promoted to GOTD. Top that, <Benzol>!
May-26-10  scormus: <nescio ... staring at the empty chessboard, not understanding, astonished>

I'm sure that exactly how it was. I've been there - uncomprehending and oblivious to my clubmates leaving the room after the match. Then one of them turns and asks "Paolo, are you all right?"

May-26-10  belgradegambit: CG used my pun again! Not a great game but a very funny one.
Jul-06-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

A Matanovic vs J H Donner, 1965.
Your score: 38 (par = 29)


Sep-24-12  Wyatt Gwyon: Donner's description is fitting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: "The chess player who has lost his game - who will describe him? I have seen him unable to move. The public was long gone, the lights were out, and still he sat rigidly in his chair staring at the emptied board, because he had overlooked Bg2. A case of complete petrification, with bystanders whispering and tiptoeing by.

I have heard him begging for punishment in blasphemous language. He had forgotten Nh5, and in his dismay he called down annihilation upon himself. Derisively, he rejected our words of solace, demanding insults and chastisements.

Standing afar and horror-stricken, I have witnessed him swearing in orgiastic fury to rip off his genitals, because he had played Qf6 instead of Qb6."

<Jan Hein Donner>

Feb-01-13  Cemoblanca: The bad news: Mata messed up the move order! ;)

21.Rxf8+! Kxf8 (21...Qxf8 22.Nd2!) 22.Qxh6+, etc.

What a game!

"...It took a while before I realized I had won. A strange sensation. The emotions caused by such a rare piece of luck are indescribable. One feels the gods' favourite. One feels a triumph greater than after clinching a well deserved victory in the finest attacking game. For Matanovic, understandably, it wasn't much of a pleasure. An hour later, he still sat staring at the board - which had meanwhile been cleared - bewildered and not understanding..." ~ Jan Hein Donner

...and finally, an old proverb: "Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe. ~ Indian proverb

Nov-29-14  nimh: <And time and time again we have seen that backwards moves and long moves can be the hardest to see, especially when the danger falls in an area of the board that has previously been safe.>

But at least horizontal moves are easier to spot than diagonal and vertical ones. This is because of our eyes; it explains the rising popularity of widescreens.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: After the twin opening disaster in this line at Hoogovens, not to be deterred, Donner tried it the next year, also coming to grief: F Kuijpers vs J H Donner, 1966.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <perfidious: After the twin opening disaster in this line...>

The other game was H Lehmann vs J H Donner, 1965, a loss for Donner in 17 moves that could have been quicker. The 5...Na5 idea looks logical; it gets rid of that dreaded white-squared bishop. Donner says that Lombardy & Fischer were using it (were they?). But it seems to be a little too time-consuming.

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