16 February 2017

Joop van Oosterom (1937–2016)

It's been a bad period for former World Correspondence Champions. Last month we lost Hans Berliner (1929-2017), and this month we learned of the disappearance of Johannes Jacobus [Joop] van Oosterom (1937–2016).

Along with correspondence chess, Berliner was known for world class contributions to computer chess. Van Oosterom was a world class chess philanthropist. Here is a photo from his first (Melody) Amber chess tournament (wikipedia.org), Roquebrune, France, February 1992.

Europe Echecs, March 1992

The Polgar sisters, van Oosterom, and GM Karpov
(Photo: Alain Fayard)

And here is a list of van Oosterom's top correspondence chess achievements, from my page on the World Chess Championship : Correspondence Chess:-

Why list the 14th event, where van Oosterom did not participate? The first game in Tim Harding's '64 Great Chess Games : Masterpieces of Postal and E-Mail Chess' (Dublin 2002), van Oosterom - Timmerman (15th CC World Championship Final), explains,

These two great Dutch rivals have had parallel careers in CC for two decades. Timmerman, a mathematician, is the current (15th) Correspondence Chess World Champion and has also won several other major tournaments.

For several consecutive years, he was the world's highest rated active correspondence player. As Timmerman is world champion, I have made a special exception and he is the only player with two wins in this book.

Van Oosterom (founder of Volmac software, which is now part of the Cap Gemini corporation) is a wealthy man who lives with his family in Monaco. He is well known as a sponsor of both OTB and correspondence tournaments (e.g. the Melody Amber series, named for his daughter, the NBC Millennium email tournament, and the ICCF Jubilee Champions and Elite events).

Van Oosterom was just starting the 14th World Championship Final in 1994 when illness forced him to defer his place and so he was fated once more to be thwarted by Timmerman in the next final which began two years later.

About this game: This was one of the most important games in the 15th World Championship Final, in which van Oosterom was also a contender for a high placing. At the time this game was played, he had never beaten Timmerman, a psychological factor that may have counterbalanced his colour advantage.

Van Oosterom finished the event a point behind Timmerman. In his book, Harding also included one of van Oosterom's wins: van Oosterom - Reynolds (15th CC World Championship Final). Both games can be fouund on Chessgames.com...

...along with many more of van Oosterom's games.

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