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World Chess Championship
1993 Karpov - Timman FIDE Title Match

The 24 game FIDE match began on 6 September, one day before the rival Kasparov-Short PCA match began in London. Both Karpov and Timman had been eliminated in the Candidates matches by Short. As Short was given little, if any, chance against Kasparov, the FIDE match looked to be between runners-up, and generated almost no interest in the mainstream press.

Karpov was ranked 2nd in the world, Timman 34th. Both players were 42 years old and had met many times in top chess competitions. In the 67 games contested before the match, Karpov had won 23, Timman 5. The two players had met in 1990, for the Candidates Final in Kuala Lumpur, where the result was 6.5 - 2.5 in Karpov's favor.

The first twelve games were scheduled for Zwolle, Arnhem, and Amsterdam, three cities in Timman's native Holland. The last twelve games were to be played in the Emirate of Oman, the newest member of FIDE. The prize fund was announced as 4.000.000 SFR, half from the Dutch organizers and half from the Oman organizers. 5/8 of the prize would go to the winner.

The time control was 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours, then 16 mives in 1 hour, followed by an adjournment. A tied match would be decided by a maximum of four two game mini-matches, both games played on the same day at 40 moves in 1 hour then 20 moves in 15 minutes.

Timman's seconds were Jeroen Piket, Ulf Andersson, and Yasser Seirawan. Karpov's seconds were Vladimir Epishin and Mikhail Podgaetz. The chief arbiter was Dr. K.A. Lim of Singapore, assisted by H. Metzing of Germany. The match director was Geurt Gijssen.

Why was this match played?

When Fischer forfeited the title in 1975, Karpov automatically became champion - he was not asked to contest another match with someone else. Timman, having lost in the Candidates Finals to Short, could have been declared champion, but no one would have taken the decision seriously. This would not have been fair to Timman, who is known throughout the chess world as a gentleman, and is a well respected personality in Holland.

It was not completely clear why Karpov, who had been eliminated in the Candidates Semifinals, was seeded directly over Yusupov, who had lost to Timman in the Semifinals. After all, Karpov had lost his title eight years earlier and had never defeated Kasparov in a match. Fairness would have indicated a short match between Karpov and Yusupov, although another Timman-Yusupov match would not have been logical after their Candidates Semifinal match.

The only conclusion is that this match was a reaction by FIDE to reinforce its claim to ownership if its title. Florencio Campomanes, FIDE's controversial president, said during the opening ceremony:-

The 1993 match is historical. It symbolizes the chance given to each player to aspire to the highest title... FIDE, with its members throughout the world, is keeping the democratic traditions.
It was a surprise to many that the World Chess Championship is considered a democratic process by FIDE.

Games 1-3; Zwolle

The first three games of the match were held in a movie theater in Zwolle, located in the East Netherlands, a town with 100.000 inhabitants.

In the first game the players repeated a variation of the Caro-Kann which they had last played in 1988. Timman sacrificed a bishop on his 20th move and resigned on his 56th move.

Game 1 : Timman - Karpov
after 20.Bf4-h6(xP)

Timman evened the score in game 2, a Queen's Indian Defense, when he won the exchange on move 19 and converted it to a won game.

Game 2 : Karpov - Timman
after 16...b5-b4

In game 3, Caro Kann, Timman obtained an advantage, but was unable to convert it into a win

Games 4-6; Arnhem

After the third game, the match moved to the outskirts of Arnhem, a town on the Rhine river, known for the World War II battle which was featured in the movie A Bridge Too Far.

Karpov avoided a sharp variation of the Queen's Gambit in game 4 and the game petered into a 20 move draw. For game 5, Timman switched to 1.c4 which Karpov answered 1...e5. In some time pressure but with the better game, Timman sought complications, but Karpov played accurately and the game was agreed drawn just before adjournment.

In game 6, Karpov allowed the sharp variation which he had avoided in the fourth game. Timman defended inaccurately, and Karpov won with a precise attack

Game 6 : Karpov - Timman
after 30.f6-f7+

It emerged during the Arnhem portion of the match that the Dutch orgaizers had only pledged 500.000 SFR toward the match, which was earmarked for expenses rather than for the prize fund. Oman also withdrew its offer to finance and organize the second half of the match.

FIDE had obviously failed to procure the bank guarantees which had always been its routine procedure in agreeing match sponsorship. It was not clear how much of the match arrangements had been a bluff on the part of Campomanes in reaction to the PCA match. Timman commented, 'This is the first time I have ever played a 12-game match for free.'

Games 7-12; Amsterdam

The match moved to Amsterdam after the sixth game.

The seventh game, another Caro Kann, was drawn after 21 moves. In game 8, the opening followed the sixth game. Timman offered the exchange on four consecutive moves, but Karpov refused each time. The game was drawn on move 24.

In game 9, Timman switched to 1.Nf3. The players castled on opposite wings and the game became very sharp with each player launching his pawns against the other's king. Timman seemed to have the upper hand, but Karpov defended accurately and the game was drawn.

Game 9 : Timman - Karpov
after 41...Bc8-a6(xP)

In game 10, Timman switched to the Gruenfeld Defense. Karpov reached a slightly better endgame and won after Timman failed to develop counterplay.

Game 10 : Karpov - Timman
after 53.g4-g5 1-0

Game 11 was an 11 move draw. This was attributed to the players' dissatisfaction with FIDE's handling of the affair. Game 12 was another Gruenfeld which ended in a drawn bishop and pawn endgame. At mid-point in the match, Karpov led 7-5.

The last game in Amsterdam was played on 25 September. For a week and a half, no one knew if the match would be finished.

On 6 October, FIDE announced that the match would continue in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the 17th. The total prize fund would be 1.000.000 SFR, FIDE's minimum guarantee.

Games 13-21; Djakarta

The Jakarta portion of the match was organized by Bob Hasan and played in the Jakarta Hilton.

The thirteenth game, played 17 October as announced, was a Reti Opening. Neither player took chances and the game was drawn on move 27.

Against Karpov's 1.d4 in game 14, Timman abandoned the Gruenfeld Defense and returned to the Queen's Indian. The game followed the eighth game until Karpov varied on his 11th move. Timman was almost forced to give up an exchange for a pawn or two, but Karpov played more accurately and converted his advantage to a win.

Game 14 : Karpov - Timman
after 15.Bc4-d5

In game 15, Timman switched back to 1.d4 and allowed Karpov to play a Nimzo Indian. It was now suspected that Timman's opening strategy was based more on surprise than on any deep preparation of particular openings. Karpov played aggressively and had a won position by move 20. It was his second consecutive win.

Game 15 : Timman - Karpov
after 19...Rb8-b3(xP)

In game 16, Timman played the King's Indian, which Karpov met with the Samisch Variation. Timman got into trouble and gave up the exchange for a pawn in order to liberate his pieces. In mutual time pressure, the two players exchanged inaccuracies until the time control was reached, where Karpov had an advantage. By the time the second time control was reached, Timman had a lost game, and Karpov went on to score his third consecutive full point. The match score was now 10.5 to 5.5 in Karpov's favor.

For game 17 Timman switched back to 1.e4, which had not been seen since the first game in Amsterdam. He met Karpov's Caro Kann with 3.e5 and later sacrificed a pawn to weaken Karpov's pawn structure. With both players' kings exposed to attack, the queens were exchanged. Timman had a slight advantage which was not enough to win and the game was agreed drawn on the 33rd move.

Game 18 followed the opening of game 16 until Karpov varied on his 8th move. The game was agreed drawn after 38 moves.

Game 19 was another Queen's Indian as in game 11, but Timman played 4.a3 instead of 4.g3. In a position where he was not worse, Karpov sacrificed a pawn to force a theoretically drawn bishop and pawn endgame. Karpov now led 12-7 and needed only a draw to win the match.

In game 20, for the first time in the match, Karpov varied from 1.d4 and the game settled into an English Opening. Karpov had some problems to complete his development and allowed Timman to open the center before White had castled. With only the heavy pieces on the board, Timman pursued Karpov's exposed King and won his only game in Indonesia.

Game 20 : Karpov - Timman
after 19...d7-d5

In game 21, Nimzo Indian, after 19 moves, Timman offered a draw in a position where he was slightly worse. Karpov accepted and was once again the FIDE World Champion. It was the second time that he had won the title after the reigning champion had been eliminated by forfeit.

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