For this week’s annotated game, we look at Short vs Timman 1991. The game was played during the Interpolis Tournament, held in Tilburg, Holland.
The game is an Alekhine’s Defence and sees Timman fianchetto his King’s bishop. This is never a decision that can be taken lightly, as this can leave the squares around the King vulnerable later on, especially if the piece is exchanged. This is actually what happened in this game.
Also a factor, is the decision by Black to bring his Queen out very early and to neglect the development of his light-squared bishop. Both pieces suffer due to this decision; and, in turn, so does Black’s whole position.
With good, solid positional play, Nigel Short rapidly takes control of the game. A firm grip on the Kingside, coupled with ownership of the d-file, sees Jan Timman completely frozen out.
However, Black had one trump in the game, which was bishop and Queen lined up towards the White King. With his knight and g-pawn limited in movement, the question remained as to how White would open up the Black King in order to deliver the final blow.
In answer to this, Short’s own King travels up the board with a calm swagger, in order to support the Queen and win the day. Black is left helpless.
There is no doubt that this game sees a rare and truly beautiful finish. However, it cannot be ignored that, like most beautiful finishes in chess, it was brought about by the sound and insightful positional play that led up to it.