December 23, 2010 0:30

Remembering Euwe: Anand lecture & simul in Amsterdam (VIDEO!)

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.

Video report


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

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...

anand-lecture6 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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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Wouter Otto Levenbach aka Dave's picture

Haha you weren't cheap on exclamation points for your own moves !
Just kidding, nice game indeed!

Maybe readers forgot that you were once close to 2300 fide...

E's picture

Yeah sure, go right ahead and beat two GM's together while you're at it.

And all the while i was thinking it was special just to even draw one!

Great game! I love the KID. I think i'll give the Gallagher variation a try myself next time. I have been playing the Panno up untill now.

E's picture

I lost to Timman on wednesday btw. Mixed up the move order in a Ruy Lopez with deadly consequences. Not that i was expecting to even draw him with the right move order... Maybe someday (if i stil get a shot) ;)

Henk de Jager's picture

Nice report. But this ,,On December 15th, 1935 Max Euwe won the 30th and decisive game of his first match with Alexander Alekhine, to become the 5th World Chess Champion" is incorrect. The final game was a draw, although generously awarded by Euwe in a winning position.

Rini Luyks's picture

It seems beating two IGMs in a simul is easier than to beat one :)!

L's picture

I was there Saturday! I didn't see the lecture, because the lecture started at 10.30 AM, but I did see the simul. I never saw Anand in real life before, but he looks just like in the photos and videos. His voice is also very recognizable. Anand looked very sympathetic to me - much more modest and friendly than Kasparov in my opinion, who sometimes seems a little arrogant.

The tent wasn't really large, rather a little small. When I came there, I expected it to be more crowded. I think it was a little bit too dark in the tent, though. Anand played very quick, actually, on most boards he just played instantly. He was round in two minutes. Anand lost one game and won the rest, so that's 19-1. I stood behind Henk Strating watching the board, when Anand resigned. In a winning position, Anand overlooked a piece sacrifice by Strating, which made the position winning for Strating. Strating - 75 years old and 1642 elo - was very proud and said after the game jokingly: "Now I am the World Champion."

It was a great day, seeing Anand and being in a nice atmosphere. And thanks for the free coffee and tea!

Thorn's picture

Congrats on your win - nice game... :)

Peter Swindler's picture

Smeets should make up his mind. Does he want his shirt in? Or does he want his shirt out? :)

And as for Anand trying a little joke... That'll be my excuse too next time i lose ;)

It would have befitted him more saying nothing. Or just that he lost. Sure, it is extra hard for the world champion to lose to a 1600+ amateur. But knowing the trouble he went through just to get there only shortly after the London classic... I would have understood it.

Bjorn's picture

Sounds a great day, nice to see there is such an easy and friendly atmospere in the Dutch chess scene.
Thanks for the great reports this year! Looking forward to Tata.

CatPower's picture

There is a great account of the match by Tartakower which is based on his reporting in a Dutch newspaper. It is in Dutch and hard to get by.

Chess Book Fan's picture

there is also a good book by Purdy called "Extreme chess" I think featuring Alekhine -Euwe 35 and 37 and Fischer - Spassky 72.

I think Botvinnik did book on 1937 match as well. I think Dover published a book on 1937 match with comments by both players.

I would love come over to Amsterdam one day to visit the Max Euwe centre they seem to put on ome nice events.

sundararajan ganesan's picture

by taking part in the Euwe commomoration, vishy has provided himself yet again as an excellent ambassador for chess, just like Max Euwe!

monoceros4's picture

Has there ever been a good account written of the 1935 Alekhine-Euwe match? There's a good story in there somewhere but what little I've picked up about the events of the match has been from scattered sources, e.g. "My Great Predecessors."

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