Imagine playing some blitz chess in a buzzing Amsterdam bar and then all of a sudden you face some grungy guy who once beat Garry Kasparov! It happened to popular chess streamer Anna Cramling when she went on a blitz binge of more than four hours in a pub called De Laurierboom about a year ago. There, among many others, she met and played the local chess hero Manuel Bosboom. Two of their blitz games are shown in one of Cramling’s most popular streams, ‘Guy In Bar Said He Beat Kasparov’ which has since gathered almost 10,000 likes and many more visitors.

Cramling’s opponent looks shabby and quite tipsy when they play their last game, when it’s already dark outside. Despite all the beer he has consumed, Manuel is courteous and gracious (‘I like your move’) and his play shows class. Still, many of Cramling’s followers are skeptical – did this dropout really ever play the thirteenth World Champion and even beat him? Yes, he sure did – in an elite blitz tournament at Wijk aan Zee in 1999, where Manuel just happened to walk in. And this is just one of many fabulous stories from the life of this chess legend. In Dutch chess circles he’s been a cult hero for decades, famous for winning countless blitz tournaments with a lot of pizzazz (and often high on marihuana) and for his flashes of brilliance. He never made it further than the International Master title, but beat many grandmasters, also in classical games, including former World Championship Challenger Peter Leko in 2014. The famous Hungarian reminisced on his crushing loss to Bosboom during an online commentary session with Lawrence Trent and Jan Gustafsson during the 2021 Tata Steel Tournament. ‘It shood be in a boook!’ cried Leko, not knowing that such a book was being written at that very moment and would appear at the end of 2021 with New In Chess: Chess Buccaneer by Peter Boel and Merijn van Delft.

A fragment from the Kasparov story in the book:

The entire chess universe shrivels up and zooms in on this moment, on this spot. Garry Kasparov, the super-professional who once sniggered at ‘tourists’ and ‘amateurs’ in serious tournaments, who is always immaculately dressed and coiffed behind the board, is now facing some vague, lean, chisel-faced, shaman-like figure.

What happened next on that 18th of January, 1999, and what was the real climax of that fateful day for Manuel Bosboom, can be read in Chess Buccaneer. As well as much, much more on his erratic chess life. If you like a little rock-’n’-roll in chess and you’re curious about this swashbuckling master with his amazing talent, be sure not to miss this one! Anna Cramling didn’t.