Joop van Oosterom, who died last year, sponsored many great tournaments that produced some wonderful games.
Joop van Oosterom, a Dutch software developer and billionaire, died last October at the age of 78, though news of his passing only appeared in the last week or so. He was a strong player in his youth, winning the Dutch Youth Championship in 1955 and competing in the World Youth Championship later that year. But it was in correspondence chess that he made his biggest mark as a player, winning the 18th and 21st World Correspondence Chess Championships in 2005 and 2008, respectively.
Joop van Oosterom
His greatest fame in the chess world came not as a player, however, but as a sponsor. He created a tournament called Melody Amber (later just simply Amber), which was named for his daughter, and was held annually from 1992 to 2011. All of the world’s best grandmasters, except for Garry Kasparov (by the latter’s choice), participated. The competitors would play two games against all the other players – one a standard rapid game and one a blindfold rapid game.
Oosterom also sponsored a number of other chess events on a regular basis, including various youth vs. veterans and (older) male vs. female competitions. Many beautiful games were played in his events, including the following two:
Kramnik, Vladimir vs. Topalov, Veselin
Amber-blindfold 12th |Monte Carlo |Round 2 |16 Mar 2003 |ECO: B82 |1-0
1. e4Kramnik has generally played the Closed Openings, but at different
periods in his career, including the period from around 2003-2005, he has
switched to 1.e4, often with success. 1... c52. Nf3e63. d4cxd44. Nxd4Nc65. Nc3d66. Be3Nf67. f4a6This Rauzer Variation-style plan appears a little
slow against White's setup.
( 7... Be7and )
( 7... Bd7appear more popular
at the moment. )
( 8... Nxd49. Bxd4b5is a funny and untested
idea initially suggested by the computer. It may not be very good if White
castles queenside, but the immediate attempt to crush Black with 10. e5isn't so dangerous: 10... dxe5!11. Qxa8exd412. O-O-OBe713. Qa7Qd714. Qxd4Qxd415. Rxd4Bc516. Rd3Bb7gives Black fair counterplay. )
9. O-O-OBd710. Nb3The bloodthirsty
( 10. g4may be best of all. Black can win the g-pawn
with 10... Nxd411. Rxd4!e512. Rc4Bxg4, but White is much better after 13. Qg3!Qd714. Na4!+/- )
10... Rc811. Kb1b512. Bd3Nb413. g4Bc614. g5Nd7In his notes to the game in the Informant, Kramnik considered
( 14... Nxe4(?) and rejected 15. Nxe4due to 15... d5, but he missed the
fantastic 16. Nf6+!gxf617. Bd4, which gives White a winning advantage
thanks to Black's permanently terrible king. )
( 15. Be2!is a
surprising move suggested by the computer. It makes excellent sense, avoiding
the exchange and threatening to trap the knight with a3, but what about 15... Nxc2, intending to meet Kxc2 with ...b4? Surprisingly, White can calmly retreat
the second bishop, too: 16. Bf2!b417. Nd5!One unexpected move follows
another. 17... exd518. exd5Ba419. Rc1White will regain the piece and
re-establish material equality, but his king is much safer than its
counterpart. Black's position is nearly lost. )
15... g6?Black wants the
bishop on g7 to help his attack, but the mileage White will get out of f4-f5
exceeds the value of Black's fianchettoed bishop.
( 15... Nxd316. cxd3b417. Ne2leaves Black without any attacking chances. White's plan is to put a
knight on d4, a rook on c1, and then resume his own attacking plans. )
( 16. Bf1!Bb717. Bd4 )
16... Bg717. f5!Ne518. Bb6!Pushing
the queen so she'll have to give up the c-file, and either the defense of the
d-pawn or an active position. 18... Qd7
( 18... Qb8was probably better, even
though it leaves f7 a little loose. 19. Be2Nxc220. f6!Bf821. Rd2Nc422. Bxc4bxc423. Na5Nb424. Qe3 )
19. Be2!At last Kramnik retreats the bishop, and his reward is a winning position.
White has two big threats: first, the familiar idea of a2-a3; second, the even
bigger threat of Nc5, winning either the queen and a pawn for a rook and
knight (in case Black plays ...dxc5) or a piece (in case of ...Qe7 f6). 19... Qb720. Na5Qb821. f6Bf822. a3Collecting the piece. 22... Nxc223. Kxc2
( 23. Rc1is even stronger. )
23... Bxe4+24. Kb3Ba825. Ba7
( 25. Ka2was safest, when
Black could resign without a second thought. )
25... Qc726. Qb6?!Trading
queens looks as logical as could be, but Black gets a little counterplay after
this. 26... Qxb627. Bxb6h6First
( 27... Nd7, and only after 28. Bd4is it
time for 28... h6 )
( 28... axb529. Bxb5+Nd730. Rc1Rb8?31. Rc7is crushing. Black's problem is that he can't take on b6: 31... Rxb632. Rc8# )
29. Bd4Not the most efficient choice, nor the simplest, but Kramnik had
calculated a fantastic finish - blindfold and with a short time control.
( 29. Rc1! )
29... Bd5+30. Ka4axb5+31. Bxb5+Bc6
( 31... Nc632. Bf2 )
32. Bxe5!Bxb5+33. Kxb5Rc5+34. Kb6!Rxe5Black has regained his piece, and is
about to activate the rook on h8 in the process of destroying White's kingside.
Unfortunately for him, White is going to deliver mate, thanks to his very
active king. 35. Rc1!Rxa5
( 35... hxg536. Rc7+Ke837. Rfc1Rc538. R1xc5dxc539. Kc6Be740. Rc8+Bd841. Nb7and as Black can't castle, there's nothing he can do on the board to
stop 42.Rxd8#. )
( 36. Kxa5d5offers some hope. )
36... Kd837. Rfc1Rc5
( 37... Ra838. Kb7! )
38. R1xc5dxc539. Kc6!White's threat
is simple: 40.Ra7 and 41.Ra8#, and there is no good way to meet it.
1. d4Nf62. c4g63. Nc3Bg74. e4d65. Nf3O-O6. Be2e57. O-ONc68. d5Ne79. Nd2Nakamura has won many beautiful games with Black in the Classical
King's Indian. Here's one from the 2015 Sinquefield Cup.
( 9. Ne1Nd710. f3f511. Be3f412. Bf2g513. Nd3Ng614. c5Nf615. Rc1Rf716. Kh1h517. cxd6cxd618. Nb5a619. Na3b520. Rc6g421. Qc2Qf822. Rc1Bd723. Rc7Bh624. Be1h425. fxg4f326. gxf3Nxe427. Rd1Rxf328. Rxd7Rf1+29. Kg2Be3As great as the game was, it would have been even greater had Nakamura found ...30. Bg3hxg331. Rxf1Nh4+32. Kh3Qh633. g5Nxg5+34. Kg4Nhf335. Nf2Qh4+36. Kf5Rf8+37. Kg6Rf6+38. Kxf6Ne4+39. Kg6Qg5#0-1 (39) So,W (2779)-Nakamura,H
(2814) Saint Louis 2015 )
9... Ne810. b4f511. c5Nf612. f3f413. Nc4g514. a4Ng615. Ba3Rf716. a5A year later Gelfand played the better
( 16. b5, but he also went down in a blaze of glory. 16... dxc517. Bxc5h518. a5g419. b6g320. Kh1Bf821. d6axb622. Bg1Nh4In subsequent games Black has
preferred ...23. Re1?Nxg2!24. dxc7?Nxe1!25. Qxe1g2+!26. Kxg2Rg7+27. Kh1Bh3!28. Bf1Qd3!29. Nxe5Bxf1!Insisting! 30. Qxf1Qxc331. Rc1Qxe532. c8=QRxc833. Rxc8Qe6The dust has settled and Black is up a piece for nothing, so White
resigned. 0-1, Gelfand,B (2761)-Nakamura,H (2708) Bursa 2010 )
( 16... Bf8 )
17. b5dxc518. b6!
( 18. Bxc5transposes to the Gelfand-Nakamura game
given above, and to many others as well. )
( 18. Na4!? )
18... g419. bxc7Rxc720. Nb5Everything seems to be going smoothly for White, who is crashing
through on the queenside and in the center. 20... g3!!21. Nxc7!If White
tries to keep the kingside shut with
( 21. h3, Black will rip it off: 21... Bxh3!22. gxh3Qd7!23. Nxc7Qxh324. Rf2gxf2+25. Kxf2Qg3+26. Kf1Ng4!27. fxg4f3!28. Ne6!fxe2+29. Qxe2Nf430. Nxf4Rf831. Bc1exf432. Ra2hxg433. Nd6Bd434. Qg2Qd3+35. Qe2Qh3+36. Qg2Qd3+ )
21... Nxe4!22. Ne6White had to play the cold-blooded
( 22. fxe4!Qh423. h3Bxh324. gxh3Qxh325. Rf2gxf2+26. Kxf2, when it doesn't look like Black has enough attack
for the material. 26... Qg3+27. Kf1f328. Nxa8fxe2+29. Kxe2!Nf4+30. Kd2Qd3+31. Kc1Qxc4+32. Qc2Nd3+33. Kb1Qxe434. d6seems to
win for White, or at least give him excellent winning chances. )
22... Bxe623. dxe6gxh2+24. Kxh2Qh4+25. Kg1Ng326. Bxc5e4!27. Ra4!Rc8!White is up a rook for one measly pawn, but the burden is on him to maintain equality. Black threatens the bishop on c5, the rook on f1, has designs on
playing ...e3 and ...Qh1#, and in return White has only one unit that can bother Black somewhat, and that's his e-pawn. 28. Bxa7?This meets with a visually stunning refutation.
( 28. Nd6exf329. Bxf3Rxc530. e7Nxe731. Re1 )
( 28. e7Nxe729. Nd6exf330. Bxf3Rxc531. Re1This
position is identical to the one at the end of the 28.Nd6 variation. )
28... b5!!It seems that players often miscalculate lines where an en passant capture
is involved. White could take the pawn, but then the bishop on a7 no longer
covers the d4 square, and Black wins with a simple tactic. 29. Rb4
( 29. axb6?Bd4+30. Qxd4Nxe2# )
29... bxc4Now Black is almost
equal in material, and his attack continues unabated. White is lost. 30. Bxc4
( 30. Rxc4!?Rd8!Black should beware. It looks as if ...31. Qc2e3!32. Bxe3Qh1+33. Kf2fxe3+34. Kxe3Qxg2and wins, e.g. 35. Rf2Qg136. Qxg6Nf1+37. Bxf1Qxg6 )
30... Qh1+Nothing wrong with
( 30... e3this time. )
31. Kf2e3+32. Bxe3fxe3+33. Kxe3Nxf1+
( 33... Qh4 )
( 33... Nf5+ )
( 34... Qg1+35. Ke2Qc5Black has an extra piece (for three pawns), and his ongoing attack will soon bear fruit. )
Dennis Monokroussos is a FIDE master who has written about chess on his blog “The Chess Mind,” since 2005. He has been teaching chess for almost 20 years and for the last 10 years has been making instructional chess videos, which can be found at ChessLecture.com. Between 1995 and 2006, he taught philosophy, including a four-year stint at the University of Notre Dame.
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