MARK RUBERY CHESS
Jan Greben was Pretoria’s most dominant player of the 1980’s winning many of the events held in the then Northern Transvaal. A sound positional player with a good theoretical grounding, Jan was amongst the country’s top players competing in numerous SA Closed tournaments. Born in Holland, Jan showed great promise as a youngster and boasts a 2-0 record over the redoubtable Jan Timman. Here is a win over the future grandmaster who would later become a many-time candidate for the world championship.
Playing through the game with a chess engine I chanced upon an extraordinary possibility for White on move 28 that could only be refuted by a ‘novotnylike’ interference move. These themes normally dwell in the realms of studies but in this game they lurked just below the surface…
The position was shown to the regulars at the Madeira Bar and they were unable to find either of these remarkable moves.
Jan Timman - J Greben [E80]
Amsterdam IBM III (7), 1967
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3
(The Saemisch Variation with which Timman used successfully to trouble Kasparov at the beginning of the Russian’s career) c6 6.Be3 a6 (The Byrne Variation-one of the lesser explored tributaries in this opening) 7.Qd2 b5 8.Bd3 bxc4 9.Bxc4 d5 10.Bb3 dxe4 11.fxe4 (11 Nxe4 was used successfully by Botvinnik in his 1958 WCh match with Smyslov)…Ng4 12.Nf3 Nxe3 13.Qxe3 0–0 14.0–0 (With the center and open f file White stands better)…Qb6 15.Na4 Qa7 16.Nc5 Nd7 17.Rac1 a5 (17…e5!?) 18.Ng5 Nxc5 19.Rxc5 e6 20.e5 a4 21.Bc2 Qb6 22.Ne4 (22 Qc3 was a safe way of retaining the advantage, but Timman wants more)…Ba6 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Rf3?! (24 Rf2 avoids Black’s counter-play)… Qxb2! 25.Bd1 Rad8 26.Rc3 Qb4 27.Rf4 Bh6 28.Rh4? (Capitulating at once. Instead Timman had the cunning resource of 28 Qd2! where …Bxf4? loses in stunning fashion to 29 Rh3!!. Greben would then have to find 28…Bd3!! a remarkable example of the interference theme, 29 Rh4 Qxd4+! 30 Rxd4 Bxd2 31 Rxd8 Rxd8 winning. Sometimes with Fritz whirring in the background, one can feel like Carter stumbling across Tutankhamun’s tomb…) 28… Bxe3+ 29.Rxe3 h5 30.Bxh5 g5 31.Rhh3 Kg7 32.Rhg3 Qb1+ 0–1
A wooden board, thirty-two chessmen, what could be simpler? You might not suppose there was any need for an elaborate international organization to arrange anything so uncomplicated as playing chess. But you would be wrong. The politics of chess is enormous, proliferating, horrendous. The reason is that chess arouses deep and violent human passions. The history of the World Championship with its rows and tantrums and clashes of strong personality is evidence enough that fact. (David Spanier)