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The World vs Gert Timmerman
"Dead to the World" (game of the day Aug-12-2008)
Chessgames Challenge (2007) (exhibition),, rd 3, Feb-01
Dutch Defense: Leningrad. Warsaw Variation (A88)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1784 OF 1784 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-15-12  truefriends: Naka played 11... c5 against Aronian @Tata2012, round 2

What did we have planned after that?!

Jan-16-12  eddazeitz: <truefriends>
Go back to page 560-580!
Jul-13-12  kangaroo13: i know found out about this game
Jul-31-12  The Last Straw: O my god! d4 was the first move????
Jan-24-14  YouRang: It's the general view that the World Team won this with the sequence <38.h4! Ra6 39.Rcc1 Kf6 40.Rf1!>.

However, if Timmerman had foreseen the strength of 40.Rf1 (he admitted that he didn't), he might have tried to defend with <39...Nd3!?> instead of 39...Kf6. To this, white's best reply is <40.Rb1>, and then white has <40...Nb4!?>

click for larger view

This N maneuver nicely closes off the b-file while the N is protected by Pa5, and the N protects Pc5. Black can't afford to have any white rook running around on black's side of the board.


Houdini_4_x64B @ 34 ply:
+0.71 41...Kf6 42.Kh2
+0.71 41...Ra8 42.Kg2 Kf6 43.Kg3 h5 44.Rc3 Ra6
+0.98 41...Kf7 42.Kg2 Ra8 43.Kg3 h5 44.Rc3 Rb8
+0.95 41...Ra7 42.Kg2 Kf6 43.Rc3 h5 44.Kh2 hxg4
+1.08 41...Kh8 42.Kg2 Kg7 43.Kg3 h5

Further analysis shows that 41...Kf6 and 41...Ra8 transpose.

<41...Kf6 42.Kg2>

Houdini_4_x64B @ 29 ply:
+0.71 42...Ra7 43.Kg3 h5 44.Rc3 Ra6 45.Rbc1
+0.71 42...Ra8 43.Kg3 h5 44.Rc3 Ra6 45.Rbc1
+1.14 42...Kf7 43.Kg3 Kg7 44.Rc3 Ra8 45.Rf1 Ra6

Again, 42...Ra8 and 42...Ra8 transpose.

<42...Ra8 43.Kg3>

Houdini_4_x64B @ 26 ply:
+0.71 43...h5 44.Rc3 Ra6 45.Rg1 Rb6 46.Rcc1 Ke7
+1.41 43...Ke6 44.h5 Rf8 45.Rc5 Ra8 46.hxg6 hxg6

<43...h5 44.Rc3>

Houdini_4_x64B @ 31 ply:
+0.93 44...Ra6 45.Rg1 hxg4 46.Kxg4 Nd3 47.Rb3 Nb4
+1.24 44...Rb8 45.Rf1 hxg4 46.Kxg4 Rc8 47.Rc5 Ke6

<44...Ra6 45.Rg1!>

click for larger view

Houdini_4_x64B @ 34 ply:
+1.10 45...Rb6 46.Rcc1 Rb8 47.Rc5 hxg4 48.Rb1 Ra8
+1.54 45...Nd3 46.Rb3 Nb4 47.gxh5 gxh5 48.Kh3 c5

So, it appears unlikely that Timmerman could have saved himself with the 39...Nd3 line either.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <splatty: Correspondence chess is the biggest piece of pants in the world; everyone can just use Rybka or whatever to play all their moves; what a piece of crap...>

Too right! But as Nigel Short once pointed out, Correspondence players in general used to play to a very low standard. Corres chess was very non-memorable. It is finished now, I suppose, owing to computers.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everyone: uses his own brain! You know, <splatty>?>

<N0B0DY> does that.

Pity that computers have all but rendered CC a thing of the past, as noted by <offramp>.

Feb-01-15  N0B0DY: <perfidious: <N0B0DY> does that.> That's it to a T.
Sep-09-16  YouRang: I was thinking about this game the other day, and thought I'd review some of our moves with a much stronger engine (and faster computer) that what we had back then.

One of the more critical and contested moves we made our 38th move:

click for larger view

We ended up playing <38.h4>. Here is what the new analysis says:

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 48 ply:
+1.30 38.h4 Ra6 39.Rcc1 Nd3 40.Rb1 Nb4 41.Rdc1
+0.71 38.Rf1 Ra6 39.Rcc1 Nd3 40.Rb1 Nb4 41.Rfc1
+0.54 38.h3 Ra6 39.Rcc1 Nd3 40.Rb1 Nb4 41.Rdc1
+0.37 38.Kg2 Kf6 39.Rf1 Ke6 40.f5+ Kd6 41.fxg6

Note: h4 didn't move into the top spot until 45 ply! At 44 ply, the top move was 38.Kg2 (!), which was the move we almost made. As you can see, it finished a distant 4th best.

So, good job team! :-)

Sep-09-16  YouRang: When I get time, I'll look at move 25 -- another hotly debated move. We ended up playing <25.f3> instead of 25.f4 by a slim margin (122 votes vs 115 votes).

I was among those voting for f4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Amazing how much better the engines are now than 5 years ago. I have to wonder if CC is on its last legs.
Sep-09-16  YouRang: <OhioChessFan> Indeed. Even more so compared to the engines we had over 8 years ago!

We played <38.h4> in March of 2008.

Sep-09-16  YouRang: Today, I let my engine chew on white's 25th move position:

click for larger view

We ended up playing <25.f3> here, and the vote went as follows:

25.f3 122 votes (42.2%)
25.f4 115 votes (39.8%)
25.Bxe4 25 votes (8.7%)
25.a4 12 votes (4.2%)
25.e3 11 votes (3.8%)

I was among the 115 who voted for 25.f4 (and most of us thought that the f3 voters were off their rockers).

Here is how today's analysis turned out:

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 46 ply:
+0.80 25.f4 Kf6 26.Bxe4 fxe4 27.Rc5 g5 28.Nxc6
+0.62 25.e3 Kf6 26.f4 a4 27.Rc2 d4 28.Bf1
+0.60 25.f3 Nf6 26.Bf1 Re6 27.Nd3 Re7 28.Rd2
+0.43 25.Rc2 a4 26.a3 Kf6 27.f4 g5 28.e3


Of course, even if I could take this information back in time to December 29, 2007 and post it in this forum, those stubborn f3 voters would STILL have voted for 25.f3! Grrr!!!

(I have to learn to let it go..)

Sep-09-16  Ron: If my memory is correct, 25. f3 was advocated by our great team-mate <Thorsson>, but after the vote, he said something to the effect that he might have been mistaken. For what its worth, I had voted for 25. f4.
Sep-09-16  RookFile: The thing that strikes me about this game is black's g7 bishop being swapped off before more 20 in a Dutch defense. That thing is black's pride and joy.
Sep-10-16  YouRang: <Ron> Yes, I remember that too. <Thorsson> did carry a lot of influence, and rightfully so I think. However, I was disappointed when he said he would vote for f3. That may have made the difference.

However, even at that, his "support" for f3 was tepid, and I recall that even he made the counter-argument of "why would white want to block in his own bishop?". I think it would be fair to say he was mostly "on the fence" regarding f3 vs f4.

Sep-10-16  YouRang: Now, regarding move 25, some might say "Well, you won the game so it must have been a pretty good move".

Truthfully, we won because Timmerman misplayed the follow-up. It went <25.f3 Nf6 26.a4 Nc7 27.Bf1 Re6 28.f4>

click for larger view

Here, Timmerman played <28...Ne4>. Here is some new analysis for this move:

Stockfish_16090917_x64_modern @ 47 ply:
+0.46 28...Ng4 29.Nxg4 fxg4 30.Rc5 Rd6 31.e4
+0.87 28...Ne4 29.e3 Rb6 30.b4 axb4 31.a5 Rb7

It seems pretty clear that he would have defended much better with 28...Ng4. Furthermore, the +0.46 eval for 28...Ng4! shows that <25.f3> was even worse than the analysis above indicates (above, it's eval was 0.60). Grr!

I think Timmerman made at least three questionable moves in this game, and 28...Ne4 was one of them.

Sep-10-16  YouRang: After Timmerman's mini-blunder of <28...Ne3>, it continued <29.e3 Rb6>

click for larger view

I'll pause here because post-mortem analysis has brought our 30th move into question. We played <30.Bd3>, but later analysis suggested that 30.b4 may have been stronger.

Here is some new analysis:

Stockfish_16090917_x64_modern @ 49 ply:
+0.77 30.b4 axb4 31.a5 Rb7 32.Nxc6 Nc3 33.Nd8
+0.70 30.Bd3 Na6 31.b4 Nxb4 32.Bxe4 fxe4 33.Nd7

So, 30.b4 looks good, but it doesn't appear to be better than <30.Bd3> by any landslide.

Sep-11-16  YouRang: (typo above) The mini-blunder was <28...Ne4> (28...Ng4 was considerably better).
Sep-11-16  YouRang: One of Timmerman's first mistakes (in the opinion of several of us) was on his 21st move.

click for larger view

We were pretty much expecting 21...Rb8, but he played <21...Nb5>

Here is some new analysis:

Stockfish_16090917_x64_modern @ 45 ply:
+0.56 21...Rb8 22.b3 Nb5 23.e3 g5 24.Ne1 h6
+0.81 21...Nb5 22.Bf1 Be8 23.e3 Nc7 24.Nd4 Ne6
+0.91 21...Ne6 22.Ne5 Be8 23.Nxc6 Rc7 24.Nd4
+0.92 21...Be8 22.Nd4 Ne6 23.Nxc6 Rc7 24.Nd4
+0.94 21...Ra6 22.e3 Ne6 23.Ne5 Be8 24.Bf1 Ra8

This suggests that 21...Nb5 was the 2nd best move, but a fairly distant 2nd best.

Sep-14-16  Ron: Concerning move 30, and going by memory here:

Some of us felt that 30. b4, though giving the highest evaluation, and giving us a pawn advantage in a end-game, was really a drawish endgame. I believe that it was <Thorsson> who pointed out that it was drawish because all the remaining pawns were one side of the board.

I found my comments:

<Ron: If I am reading <RandomVisitor>'s forum correctly, the best line for us is: <After 29.e3 Rb6 30.b4 axb4 31.a5 Rb7 32.Nxc6 Nc3 33.Nd8 Ra7 34.Nxe6+ Nxe6 35.a6 Nxd1 36.Rxd1 b3 [36...Nc7 37.Rb1 Ra8 38.Rxb4 Nxa6 39.Rb5 scores 1.03/30ply] 37.Rxd5>

and continues: (28-ply) Update 1800 21Jan
1. (0.90): 37...Nc7 38.Rd7+ Kh8 39.Kg2 b2 40.Rd8+ Kg7 41.Rb8 Nxa6 42.Rxb2 Nc5 43.Kf3 Ra3 44.Bc4

I have tried to win the endgame after the 44th move here, and I have failed. In spite of the high evaluation, this seems to be a draw with best play on both sides.>

Now I plugged 30 b4 into Stockfish 7, and play went: 30. b4 axb4 31. a5 Rb7 32. Nxc6 Nc3 33. Nd8 Ra7 34. Nxe6+ Nxe6 35. a6 Nxd1 36. Rxd1 b3 37. Rxd5 Nc7 38. Rd7+ Kh8 39. Kf2 b2 40. Rd8+ Kg7 41. Rb8 Nxa6 42. Rxb2 Nc5, eval .82

After this, I still cannot win the endgame for White, after trying different things.

Sep-15-16  YouRang: Another bit of re-analysis, this time for Timmerman's famous (infamous?) 36th move:

click for larger view

He played <36...Rc7>, which surprised the team. We were expecting 36...Kf6 (and we were pretty much in despair about our winning chances).

But his surprise move appeared to have been at least an inaccuracy. Here's what the new analysis says:

Stockfish_16090806_x64_modern @ 48 ply:
+0.39 36...Kf6 37.Rc5 Ra7 38.Rf1 Ke7 39.f5 Kd6
+0.53 36...Kf7 37.f5 Rc7 38.Rc5 gxf5 39.Rf1 Nd3
+0.84 36...Rc7 37.Rc5 Ra7 38.h4 Ra6 39.Rcc1 Kf6
+1.10 36...Rd7 37.h4 Kf6 38.Rc5 Ra7 39.Rf1 Ke6

So indeed, the team seemed to evaluate the position better than Timmerman in this case.

Sep-18-16  YouRang: BTW, sliding forward, I tried to find some way for Timmerman to avoid a loss after <36...Kc7?>, but given that white finds <38.h4!>, I haven't found a way for him to escape.
Sep-18-16  WorstPlayerEver: World... here I come! :)
Jun-27-18  whiteshark: "... I didn't pick up correspondence chess again until ten years later in 2007, in a special exhibition match that featured <Top CC GM and 15th world CC champion Gert Jan Timmerman>. In the match, he faced the "rest of the world". I was part of the world team, and in reality, it was about 20 or so of us that he took on (and not really the rest of the world). We used a 'hydra' style approach and would investigate branching lines of analysis on each move and report back our findings. Every now and then during the game, someone would suggest an interesting alternative to look at, and we'd spend hours and hours reviewing the new positions with engine software. I found this to be enjoyable because there was no paranoia or accusations about engine use. It was all 'on the table' so to speak, with both sides knowing full well that we've been exhaustively using engines to develop the deepest possible complexities in each and every move we played.

In the end, we could not quite find a forcefully winning endgame line, but we knew that with Jan being just one person, our best bet was to keep making the most difficult moves to solve. This approach eventually cracked Jan's defence as he missed the game-saving drawing line and went down in defeat. It was a wonderful experience to work very hard hand-in-hand with the engines and create a game that was at least at the time far beyond any human or engine could do on their own."

-- Wolff Morrow aka User: firebrandx


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