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Timman Defeats Portisch in Sixth Game; Wins Match

February 9, 1989

ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) _ Jan Timman of the Netherlands defeated Lajos Portisch of Hungary in the final game of their World Chess Championship Candidates quarterfinal Wednesday to win the six-game match 3.5-2.5.

It was the second consecutive victory in the hard-fought contest for the 37-year-old Dutchman, who had luck on his side, just as in the previous game, when he tied the match.

In Wednesday’s encounter, he was never in danger of defeat, but chess experts said a draw was the most he should have gained.

Portisch played black in the Taimanov variation of the Sicilian defense and was clearly aiming for a peaceful outcome, which would have caused the match to go into overtime.

He sacrificed a pawn and exchanged queens early on, simplifying the position until the two sides were almost completely evened out.

Timman had only a virtually worthless extra pawn and a slight spatial advantage to fight on with.

But fight on he did, taking risks that made Dutch grandmaster Genna Sosonko say, ″He might lose the game, and with it the match, if he goes on like this.″

It turned out to be part of Timman’s strategy.

″Just as in the previous game, it was my aim to terrorize my opponent by doing the unexpected,″ Holland’s strongest chess player said afterwards.

Unable to stand the strain, Portisch nervously sought to create counter chances. Experts said he should have resigned himself to a passive defense.

About 50 moves into the rooks and bishops endgame, the Hungarian made the decisive mistake, allowing a white pawn advance on the queenside.

Timman quickly concentrated his forces to support the lonely pawn and coasted to final victory on his 64th, when Portisch resigned under the thunderous applause of the 200 spectators packing the tournament hall.

The victory earned Timman a berth in the semifinals, to be played in October in London.

He will play Britain’s Jonathan Speelman, while former world champion Anatoly Karpov takes on fellow Soviet grandmaster Artur Yusupov in the other semifinal match.

The winner of the final, whose date and venue remain to be chosen, gains the right to challenge world champion Gary Kasparov of the Soviet Union.

Portisch meanwhile announced his withdrawal from the world championship race.

He said he would continue to play tournament chess, but said that ″at 51 and having competed in the Candidates series eight times since 1964, enough is enough.″

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