Jan Timman Biography

Jan Timman is a Dutch chess grandmaster who was one of the world’s leading chess players from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.

He was born on December 14, 1951, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to mathematics professor Rein Timman and his wife Anneke, who was a mathematics student of former world champion Max Euwe. His older brother, Ton (1946–2014), held the chess title of FIDE Master

Chess Career

Timman received the International Master title in 1971 and attained Grandmaster status in 1974, making him the Netherlands’ third grandmaster after Max Euwe and Jan Hein Donner. 

His first notable international success was at Hastings 1973/74, where he shared victory with Tal, Kuzmin, and Szabó.

Timman won the Dutch Chess Championship nine times. He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship several times, with his best result being in 1993 when he reached the final match against Anatoly Karpov. He lost the match, however, and did not become world champion.

Playing Style

Timman was known for his positional and strategic play, as well as his ability to play both aggressively and defensively. He was also known for his deep analysis and preparation, which he often demonstrated in his games.


At the peak of his career, Timman was considered to be the best non-Soviet player and was known as “The Best of the West”. As of September 2023, Timman has a FIDE rating of 2522, with a peak rating of 2680 in January 1990.

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He continues to play actively, with notable results in recent years including equal first place in a tournament in Reykjavík in 2004 and equal second at Amsterdam in the same year.

Timman is also one of the chief editors of the magazine New In Chess and has authored several chess books, including “The Art of Chess Analysis”

Notable Games

One of Timman’s most famous games is his victory over Soviet grandmaster Garry Kasparov in the 1985 Interpolis tournament in Tilburg, Netherlands. In this game, Timman played the black pieces and used a variation of the Ruy Lopez opening to outmaneuver Kasparov and win a complex endgame


Jan Timman is a highly respected chess grandmaster who has made significant contributions to the game of chess.

He is known for his deep analysis and preparation, as well as his positional and strategic play. Despite not becoming world champion, he has had a long and successful career, and continues to play actively and contribute to the chess community.