<The Dutch championship of 1979. In the second round Gert
Ligterink, who was to become champion that year, played against
Piet van der Weide, the father of the afore-named Karel. There was
a terrible time scramble in which many a piece was inadvertently
lost. When the smoke cleared, Piet van der Weide was a bishop up.
Ligterink had to resign, but it was not his move. After any normal
move that Van der Weide would make, moving his bishop, moving
his king, to whatever square he fancied, Ligterink would in fact
But first Van der Weide went to get a cup of coffee, to calm his
nerves. When he came back at the board his flag was down, which
he had expected; but in the meantime it had also turned out -
something which he had not expected - that he had only made
thirty-nine moves instead of the required forty. He had lost on
He took it as a man. "A pity, but such things can happen," he said
and sportingly he shook hands with the opponent. The other
players in the tournament didn't think at all that this was one of
these things that are bound to happen now and then. "Why for
heaven's sake didn't you make an arbitrary extra move before you
went for a coffee, or even two, to be quite sure?"
This had indeed been considered by Piet, but he had rejected this
course of action. But why? He explained his decision with the
parable of the inexperienced air traveler.
"You always see these inexperienced travelers at airports who
arrive much too early, just to be sure and because you never know.
And then they have to hang around there for hours. The
experienced traveler arrives on time, but not too early. And so I
thought that an experienced chessplayer has to make forty moves
before the time control, and not nervously one extra to be quite
All well and good, but in this way the experienced traveler had
helped a dangerous rival of ours to an extra point. How important
that would be, only became clear at the end of the tournament. It
was exactly by this one point that Ligterink was ahead of Timman
and me. Otherwise the three of us would have shared first place.>