1993 FIDE World Championship Timman - Karpov

When Kasparov walked out with title, FIDE found itself in the same situation as in 1975 when Fischer refused to play, only that this time the official challenger left too. FIDE took the title away from Kasparov and decided to held a World Championship match between the loser of the Candidates final (Timman) and semi-finalist (Karpov). Why they left out the other semi-finalist (Jussupow) who had just as much right for the Championship match as Karpov is unclear. Since not many were interested in the FIDE championship, they needed a name who would atract sponsors and public. And Karpov is just a much bigger and more famous name than Jussupow. They could justify their decision on technicality that Karpov was beaten by Short who walked out, thus Karpov gets his spot.


Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov
Karpov had bad years (for him) in 1991 and 1992. In that period he was overtaken by Ivanchuk on the rating list, but soon regained the number 2 spot again. He came back to form in late 1992 by winning the tournament in Baden-Baden. In 1993 he finished 1st in Wijk ann Zee, 2nd (behind Kasparov) in Linares, 1st in Dos Hermanas, 1st in Dortmund, and 3rd in Leon.

Jan Hendrik Timman
Timman's talent was spoted early on. At only 15 years he finished 3rd in the World Junior Championship.
In 1972 he finished 2nd in the Dutch championship, which won two years later. Same year (1974) he became a GM.
His first notable international success was at Hastings 1973/74, where he shared victory with Tal, Kuzmin and Szabo. A string of victories quickly followed at 1974 Sombor, 1975 Netanya, 1976 Reykjavik, 1978 Amsterdam, 1978 Niksic and 1979 Bled/Portoroz.
By 1982 Timman was ranked 2nd in the world, behind only World Champion Karpov. Throughout 1980's he was considered as the best non-Soviet player in the world.
In the 1980's he won a number of very strong tournaments, including 1981 Amsterdam, 1981 Wijk aan Zee, 1985 Wijk aan Zee, 1988 Linares, 1989 Euwe Memorial and 1989 World Cup tournament in Rotterdam.
One of his notable later successes was the 2nd Timman Rapid Tournament in 1991. In this knock-out format tournament he defeated Gata Kamsky 1.5-0.5, Karpov 2-0, Viswanathan Anand 1.5-0.5 and finally the World Champion Garry Kasparov 1.5-0.5 to win the first prize of approximately 75,000 USD. His performance was equivalent to an Elo rating of 2950.
Timman's first appearance in Interzonal was in 1979, where he failed to progress. He also failed to proced from the 1982 interzonal, but he won the Taxco Interzonal in 1985. He lost in the first round of Candidates to Jussupow. In the next cycle, after winning the 1987 Tilburg Interzonal he defeated Salov, Portisch and Speelman, but lost in the final to Karpov in 1990. He reached the final round once again in 1993, but lost to Short. However, after Short and Kasparov left FIDE, Timman was invited to compete against Karpov for the FIDE version of the world title.

Match conditions:
  • match was played from September 6th to November 1st, 1993
  • games 1-3 were played in Zwolle, games 4-6 in Arnheim, games 7-12 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • games 13-21 were played in Jakarta, Indonesia
  • time controls were 2.5 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for next 16 moves, repeatedly
  • best of 24 games
  • in case of 12-12 tie, there would be 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, repeatedly
The Match

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The match was plagued with problems. During the match it emerged that the Dutch organizers do not have the funds (2 Milion Swiss Franks) agreed for the 1st half of the match. In fact, there were only funds to cover the match expenses, and nothing to pay the players. To add to the problems, the Oman organizers refused to continue with the 2nd half of the match, and droped their commitment for an additional 2 Milion Swiss Franks. So on September 25th, the match was stopped after 12 games. On October 17th the match continued in Jakarta with a purse of 1 Milion Swiss Franks (1/4 of what was originally announced) which was paid by FIDE.

Karpov won the match quite convincingly (see here for more details) and became the new FIDE World Champion. The majority of chess public didn't recognize Karpov as the World Champion. Karpov was mocked as a 'paper Champion' and Kasparov was quick to remind Karpov that he was "given" the title for the second time in his career.

Impact on the future

Both PCA and FIDE organized it's own World Championship cycle (which had about the same format as previous cycles) with many players participating in both cycles.