November 18, 2010

Trivia - Solution from last week

Previous week, on 11th November, I posted the following Trivia question: In Amsterdam, very close to Max Euwe Plein (Square), there is a bridge...After whom is the bridge named?
Jan Hein Donner

The obvious answer would have been...Max Euwe?!:) Maybe there is also another bridge in Amsterdam, named after the Dutch World Champion, but it's not the one I was asking about:)
How's that bridge called than?! Of course it is named after another famous Dutch Grandmaster: Jan Hein Donner!

Johannes Hendrikus (Hein) Donner (July 6, 1927 – November 27, 1988) was a Dutch Chess Grandmaster and writer. Donner was born in The Hague and won the Dutch Championship in 1954, 1957, and 1958. FIDE awarded him the GM title in 1959. He was the uncle of the current Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Piet Hein Donner.
On August 24, 1983 Donner suffered a stroke, which he wrote happened "just in time, because when you are 56 you do not play chess as well as you did when you were 26". After surviving the stroke, he went to live in Vreugdehof, which he described as "a kind of nursing-home". He was unable to walk, but had learned to type with one finger, and wrote for NRC Handelsblad and Schaaknieuws.
Donner was also a chess columnist and writer. He was famous for his outspoken and often outrageous columns about subjects such as women, politics, and fellow Dutch Grandmaster Lodewijk Prins, whom Donner claimed "cannot tell a kinght from a bishop".
In 1987, the book De Koning ("The King") was published, which contained 162 of his chess columns, all but the last written between 1950 and 1983. Also in 1987, Donner received the Henriette Roland-Holst Prize, one of the Netherlands' most prestigious literary awards, for Na mijn dood geschreven ("Written after my death"), a selection from the mini-columns he had written for NRC Handelsblad. In 2006, New in Chess published an English translation of De Koning, entitled The King: Chess Pieces.
Quotes from Donner:
  • "I love all positions. Give me a difficult positional game, I'll play it. Give me a bad position, I'll defend it. Openings, endgames, complicated positions, and dull, drawn positions, I love them all and will give my best efforts. But totally winning positions I cannot stand."
  • Writing of Lodewijk Prins, after Prins had won the Dutch Championship: "He hasn't got a clue. He is the worst player in the whole wide world. ... Dear Lodewijk. ... You've won the title and I want to congratulate you. But I think you cannot tell a knight from a bishop and I'm prepared to prove it, too. ... We'll play a match." Prins declined Donner's match offer.
  • "After I resigned this game with perfect self-control and solemnly shook hands with my opponent in the best of Anglo-Saxon traditions, I rushed home, where I threw myself onto my bed, howling and screaming, and pulled the blankets over my face."
  • Donner's remark about winning from a dead-lost position: "I couldn't resist saying something that I had never said before after winning a game of chess. I may have thought it, but I had never said it. I said, 'Sorry.'"
  • "Chess is and will always be a game of chance."
  • "It is mainly the irreparability of a mistake that distinguishes chess from other sports. A whole game long and there is only one point to score. Just one mistake and the battle is lost, even though the fight may go on for hours. ... That's why a mistake hits so hard in chess."
  • On playing the Black pieces against the move 1.e4: "I don't like this move. And they know it." Donner, The Master Game, BBC2
  • "How different is chess in the United States. The game of chess has never been held in great esteem by the North Americans. Their culture is steeped in deeply anti-intellectual tendencies. They pride themselves in having created the game of poker. It is their national game, springing from a tradition of westward expansion, of gun-slinging skirt chasers who slept with cows and horses. They distrust chess as a game of Central European immigrants with a homesick longing for clandestine conspiracies in quiet coffee houses. Their deepest conviction is that bluff and escalation will achieve more than scheming and patience (witness their foreign policy)."
  • "... it doesn't take much insight into human nature to predict that Fischer will not be world champion for long. His quirks, moods and whims will turn against him at the moment when he has reached the top. He'll hit out hard, but at nothing but thin air."
  • "The difference between the sexes is remarkable in chess, but not any more so, to my mind, than in any other field of cultural activity. Women cannot play chess, but they cannot paint either, or write, or philosophize. In fact, women have never thought or made anything worth considering."


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