Timman has been a strong chess player for a long time and he knew these bright boys in his latest book, Timman’s Titans, which sounds like a publisher’s title and not one Jan himself would have thought up.
While a story about Alekhine’s “last” chess set is his connection with Alekhine, there are 9 other titans in this book but the one I feel best about was Petrosian. Petrosian beat Botvinnik for the crown, then defended it against Spassky and eventually lost to Spassky.
Petrosian had a tough life growing up and the miracle was that he managed to make it as far as he did not because he didn’t have talent but because of having a coat which didn’t keep him warm when he was young. The Soviet system engaged in the collusion of drawing games to “allow” Petrosian to move through more efficiently in the 1962 Candidates instead of letting him do it himself, which, he probably could have done.
He was a world class blitz player but before that his Father was a street sweeper to bring home the bacon to the Petrosian household. His wife (Rona) was the Ultimate protector of her husband Tigran. Ron Gross (Las Vegas now) met her at the Piatigorsky Cup and said she is a lot nicer than has been portrayed though she had no aversion to tipping her man off to some indiscretion if she thought it would help him!
In other words the Petrosian portrait is a sympathetic view of a man who was a very strong player and who, by his own admission, suffered from high blood pressure (I have it too) which caused him to draw games he might have been able to win. On top of that, as if those things were not enough, he was hard of hearing, which some might believe to be a stroke of “luck,” but who, except for an idiot, would seek such a physical problem ?
If you haven’t had enough about Kasparov or Fischer you can get more from Timman’s recollections and find out still more about Smyslov, Tal, Euwe and the others. If you would like to start doing business with the Chess Butler, you can contact Bob Long at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t bite (anymore), even if you aren’t always with the program, but if you are looking for a good chess dealer to rely on, contact me. Don’t be a chicken s—, just email me. Big inventory, great (stupidly great) prices, and knowledge from doing this for almost 50 years. If they (chess players) mattered, I knew them. Send for a free chess catalog, but you must have an email address. And you will get some Chess Gazettes too, similar to the ones I mailed out in the 90s.
Lest I forget, congratulations to Magnus Carlsen’s retaining his title. He is a true champion and he tried much harder than did Karjakin. But to Karjakin’s credit, he defended (if you gave him enough time) with the stubbornness of a Pamplona bull’s tormentors!
If you want to get a copy of Timman’s book, send payment to us via PayPal (email@example.com), credit card (call 563-271-6657 with your card information), or a money order. The amount = $23.95 + $3.99 for S&H in the USA. It’s that simple.