Jon Speelman: Forward to the past

by Jonathan Speelman
6/6/2023 – Jon Speelman has an eye for unusual constellations and interesting chess games, and in his column he presents a game that was played recently, but brought back memories of times gone by: "Over the last few weeks, the game which has made much the greatest impression on me is the splendid rapidplay battle between Richard Rapport and Jan-Krzysztof Duda at the Superbet tournament in Warsaw. This magnificent slugfest quickly entered some sort of time portal and resurfaced in the mid-nineteenth century with White a huge amount of material down but the Black king under intense fire." | Photo: Jan-Krzysztof Duda at the Superbet Tournament in Warsaw 2023 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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[Note that Jon Speelman also looks at the content of the article in video format, here embedded at the end of the article.]

In the nineteenth century, Black would surely have tripped up and got himself checkmated, but Duda defended brilliantly – indeed both players acquittedly themselves superbly with limited time on the clock – and it ended in a very honourable perpetual check.

I imagine that many if not most readers will have seen the game already but I'm presenting it anyway with fairly extensive notes. Centaur anlysis (man plus machine) has been the norm for well over a decade and we've got increasingly good at it. I wonder whether such throwbacks will become ever more prevalent as the silicon influence creates increasing chaos (to the human eye) which invites us to move forward to the past.

I've supplemented  the game with a famous previous example of what a centuar can achieve against mere carbon.

Select an entry from the list to switch between games

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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.