Remembering Euwe: Anand lecture & simul in Amsterdam (VIDEO!)
75 years ago, on December 15th, 1935 to be exact, Max Euwe became World Chess Champion. To celebrate this, the Max Euwe Centrum organized festivities on Saturday, December 18th, which included a lecture and a simul by World Champion Viswanathan Anand from India. Dutch GMs Anish Giri and Jan Smeets also gave a lecture and simuls, and performed an exhibition blitz match. Big photo & video report!
On December 15th, 1935 Max Euwe drew the 30th and decisive game of his first match with Alexander Alekhine, to become the 5th World Chess Champion. Many Dutch media paid tribute to the fact that this month it was exactly 75 years ago, and of course the Max Euwe Centrum in Amsterdam didn't forget about it either.
There were lots of activities on Saturday, December 18th at the Max Euwe Square in the heart of Amsterdam. According to schedule, at 10.30 the World Champion himself, Viswanathan Anand, would give a lecture about Euwe. Then from 12.00 to 14.00 a first rapid game between Anish Giri and Jan Smeets (the last two Dutch champions) would be played, followed by simuls by Anand, Giri and Smeets from 14.00 till 17.00, and then from 17.00 till 19.00 the second rapid game between Giri and Smeets.
However, things went a little bit different. Anand, not the first time this year, had travel issues. After the London Chess Classic he would fly to Amsterdam on Friday the 17th, but as you might know many, many flights were cancelled that day because of the heavy snowfall. So was Vishy's flight. The World Champ decided to take the train to Brussels, stay the night there and then take an early train to Amsterdam on Saturday morning.
Seeing the risk that Anand wouldn't be able to come to Amsterdam at all, the organizers decided to get Anish Giri to Amsterdam already on Friday. The young Dutch GM thus spent the night in Hotel American, in the room of the World Champion. On his arrival, a little note said: 'Welcome, Mr Anand.'
Because the Dutch railways weren't well prepared for the snow either, Anand's morning train had a two-hour delay and so he finally arrived at the Max Euwe Square around 12.30. By then the chess fans had enjoyed an improvised, two hour lecture and blitz session by Giri & Smeets, and free coffee and tea. Outside it was cold but very pretty, inside the big, wooden 'tent' gave a nice, grandcafe-like atmosphere.
Anand started his a lecture by showing his very interesting game with Carlsen from London. He then showed a few positions from his games, which were very similar to games played by Euwe. We'll post videos of this lecture at a later stage.
After the lecture Anand answered a few questions from the audience. We've put his answers together in one file, as the questions weren't audible in our recording. But the questions were basically, in this order: 1. What kind of player was Euwe (the audio starts in the middle of his answer but no worries; the first part is in the video), 2. Have you read some of his books? 3. Are you planning to get even with Magnus at Tata? 4. What do you think of Wijk aan Zee now having an Indian sponsor? 5. Can you say something about the cultural aspect of chess? 6. Do you agree that the cultural aspect is underestimated? 7. Can you say something about the role of computers? 8. What do you think of Magnus' decision not to play in the Candidates? 9. I think the World Champion should enter the next cycle in the semi-finals. Don't you think that would be better? Here's the audio (thanks to Macauley Peterson):
Around 14.00 Anand started his simul, and elsewhere Giri and Smeets also held simuls. After a few hours of play Anand had won all but one of his games. "I tried a little joke but it backfired," he said. It was the oldest participant, in fact, who beat the World Champ. Throughout the day one of the younger players was followed by a Dutch TV crew, who were doing a report for Jeugdjournaal (the national youth news program).
As the organizers had booked him a six o'clock train to Frankfurt, Anand stayed a bit longer and chatted with a few people. Among them were the grandson (who had sponsored the event) and great-grandson of Max Euwe.
As none of their two scheduled rapid games would be played, Anish Giri and Jan Smeets improvised even further end finished the day with a duo-simul. One after the other made a move at the boards (about fifteen chess fans participated) and every now and then there was some consultation between the two.
The author of this report couldn't resist sitting down as well, and in fact ended up as the only one who beat the GM duo. Especially for King's Indian fans it's a nice little game I think, especially because of Black's 20th move.
Game viewer by ChessTempo
Anish Giri and Jan Smeets started with an improvised but entertaining lecture about Euwe
Anish Giri during the lecture...
...entertaining both the audience and Jan Smeets
A few blitz games afterwards, always good for some spectacle
Anand starting his lecture by showing his game with Carlsen from the London Chess Classic
About 60-70 people attended the lecture...
...as you don't see the World Champ in town every day...
...among the spectators were the two Dutch GMs
After his lecture Anand ansered several questions from the audience
...and seemed to enjoy that bit quite a lot
It's about the little details: there was free tea, coffee and special chess cakes
The Anand simul - 20 boards - with an illustrator capturing chess faces
This little boy managed to hold for a few hours - OK, being a few pieces down....
...and later that night he would be on Dutch national TV
'We're in trouble!' - at least Smeets had an excuse, in his hand ;-)
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