In 1979 IM Gert Ligterink became chess champion of the Netherlands. He beat all the big guns of the day, GMs like Jan Timman, Hein Donner en Hans Ree, and often in grand style. Big joy over here, front page news in the northern newspapers.
Nowadays he is chess columnist in a top newspaper and commentates at the big chess events. In the 2001 Hoogeveen Essent tournament he commented on the so called crown group in which Victor Korchnoi, Judith Polgar, Loek van Wely and Lazaro Bruzon among others played in the well known formation: a legend, the strongest woman ever, the Dutch champion and the youth world champion. Around the same time Korchnoi published “My best games with white” and Gert reviewed it in his column.
Having it signed by Victor himself, I thought that it would make a very nice present to thank my driver, a retired professor, who gave me ride every round, as we were both messing around in the amateur group. Gert, as a favour to an old mate, agreed. But the book was not yet in the bookstores at the time, so I asked Gert, if he would be so kind to bring it along so I could present it. He promised to do so, but forgot, so he said. But who saved me? None other than Hans Böhm, our most famous chess ambassador.
Let us say, we also know each other. So I explained the situation: “Ah well Ligterink,” he said, “that guy cannot be trusted.” Easy to imagine why he said that: the only thing you have to do is see the diagram!
“But Hans, maybe you can help me out?”
But before he could answer my question, there was Korchnoi, without his new book of course, and the former teammates of Volmac had a lot to talk about. That took a while, but then the boot of his rusty old Japanese car opened up, chock-full of olympic logbooks and other publisher’s remnants. But between all that also: “De 32 stukken”, authored by Hans Böhm himself.
“If you sign it, this would also make a very nice present for my driver,” I said. That is what happened, but believe or not, nowadays Bohm and Ligterink act like brothers in arms, on stage together, entertaining audiences with their juicy comments while showing the masterpieces of the grandmasters.
Recently I mailed Hans, to ask for some pictures and showed him, what I was going to write. “I never said that”, he claimed. “I said: Nothing beats Groningen or something like that.” Well Hans, being a columnist for the right-wing paper de Telegraaf, a small question…
Any idea, where his former anarchist enemy of the state was hanging around on 14-06-1966?
Jacques Jambon will produce an image column on a daily basis during the Chess Festival, where text and pictures will give you a surprising vision of the chess world, in his own words and through the eyes of a person who has seen it all (and may make you feel the same). He does not sit on the fence, run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. He manages to combine a romantic style with an eye for the painful truth about that twilight world, where grandmasters and patzers meet. Jambon is not only a chessplayer but also erstwhile reporter for the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (a northern newspaper), anarchistic enemy of the state, goal- and, barkeeper, poet,-fashion icon, (the list goes on).
Important to know: the reflections of Ham are not automatically shared by the tournament organization. The organizers tried their very best to contact the photographers and ask permission for using their pictures. If necessary, please contact us.