He‘s very happy. Despite the fact that since Sunday evening he no longer qualifies as the last Dutch winner of the prestigious Tata Steel tournament: chess grandmaster Jan Timman. He lost his honorary title to Jorden van Foreest. But he doesn’t grieve. “That‘s not bad at all, because it’s good for chess in our country,” says Timman one day after Van Foreest‘s victory in Wijk aan Zee.
The 69-year-old Timman, who won the 1985 tournament, has not played at the highest level for years. Yet he is still following the sport closely. “I’ve watched everything. That 21-year-old Van Foreest won is surprising, and a very happy circumstance. It means we have someone for the top of the world.”
Former World Champion Garri Kasparov is also full of praise for Van Foreest‘s victory. “The time when Dutch players were seen as easy targets is over,” he tweeted:
Jorden van Foreest, who comes from a true chess family and only made his debut in the main tournament in Wijk aan Zee two years ago, did indeed show that he was no less than the global top-20. In fact, he won the decisive party of compatriot Anish Giri, who for years is one of the best chess players in the world.
Van Timman, by the way, did not have to have that decisive party at all. “It was me who would win. They didn’t fall for each other and both deserved the title. But there must be a winner, I understand that too.”
Yet it has not always been so. In 1981, Timman won the tournament for the first time, together with Genna Sosonko. “I am still in favour of sharing a title.”
Van Foreest‘s profit may therefore be unexpected, but according to Timman it certainly is not a coincidence. “He won it in preparation. He must have spent his time in the run-up to the tournament very well, so he read the games well. Even in the armageddon he could do something surprising.”
That’s exactly where things went wrong for world champion Magnus Carlsen, who turned sixth, thinks Timman. “Yeah, you just saw that. He was less prepared and therefore simply not good enough.”
clear that Van Foreest has now put himself on the map. But the fact that he has it in him to become world champion is not a matter of course. “There are not so many world champions,” says Timman, who himself was twice close to the world title.
“ I don‘t know if he’s cold-blooded enough for that. But it is certainly not excluded.”
In 2019, the Van Foreest family was also present at the Tata tournament where Jorden debuted in the main tournament: