Speelman's Agony #59

by Jonathan Speelman
8/20/2017 – This week's column comes from the game of San Francisco bay area computer scientist Dr. Shivaji Shivkumar, a FIDE Master, with experience on open source chess projects. He sent in two games: a win over GM Anna Zatonskih, and a loss against GM Georg Meier. Here he is (photo) playing chess with his eight-year-old daughter.

"Sacrifices and hair-raising complications!"

Over the last month or two, this column has appeared somewhat irregularly and we're now going to have a new schedule with two a month on the first and third Sundays. Today's features Dr. Shivaji Shivkumar, a computer scientist and strong FM who lives in Northern California. He has an eight year old daughter and his hobbies include hiking and ping pong.

Dr. Shivkumar writes:

“I am a 37 year old tech entrepreneur, CEO of TuringEye, a product for financial market managers. I have built and grown data analytics teams at a few large firms before that.

I have a PhD in Computer science [which] fuelled by my interests in computer chess, though my thesis topic has nothing to do with chess. I have contributed to several open source chess projects. A notable example is picochess which is now sold as the DGT Pi. It allows a full blown chess computer to be enjoyed from a chess clock without a computer screen.

I reached FM level more than a decade ago. I have not played tournament chess for a few years now. For the last decade, even when active, I played just one or two tournaments a year. Not playing in many events hampers your chess progress. My current rating is 2300+ USCF, but only 2263 FIDE. 

I am enclosing two of my interesting games. A win against GM Anna Zatonskih, and a loss against GM Georg Meier. I am a part-time chess player my whole life. I never truly studied the game but preferred to play or analyze with peers. The two games I have chosen showcase attacking play. I like playing with the initiative. Against stronger players, I feel my calculation skill in time pressure is far better than my positional ability. Both games feature many sacrifices and hair-raising complications! I have beaten many strong players in complicated positions. With the initiative, I can be dangerous. However, my positional skills are not yet at the next level."

The two games Shiv sent were certainly full of excitement and we start with the “Agony” against Georg Meier — though that's surely much too negative a characterisation of a battle royal against a German grandmaster who's currently only just outside the top hundred.

The notes to both games are mostly Shiv's, and as usual I've added my thoughts as 'JS'.


Submit your games

Did you enjoy the column and instructive analysis by GM Jonathan Speelman? Do you wish you could have a world-renowned grandmaster analyzing your play? You can!

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See also:

Jonathan Speelman, born in 1956, studied mathematics but became a professional chess player in 1977. He was a member of the English Olympic team from 1980–2006 and three times British Champion. He played twice in Candidates Tournaments, reaching the semi-final in 1989. He twice seconded a World Championship challenger: Nigel Short and then Viswanathan Anand against Garry Kasparov in London 1993 and New York 1995.
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