Speelman's Agony: "Excruciatingly insipid, and duly punished"

by Jonathan Speelman
10/6/2019 – GM Jon Speelman analyses three d4 games from a class A player for your instruction and amusement. | Send in your own games! Jon can always use more material from readers. If your games are selected for the Agony column, not only will you get free detailed commentary of your games by one of chess’s great authors and instructors, and former world no. 4 player, but you also win a free three-month ChessBase Premium Account!

Typical mistakes by 1600-1900 players Typical mistakes by 1600-1900 players

Some mistakes repeat themselves often in amateur games. With themes such as "Miscalculating Forcing Lines", "Being Too Materialistic" and "King Safety" Nick Pert shows you how to avoid making typical mistakes.


Speelman's Agony #107

Editors note: Thanks to all those who have answered our Speelman's Agony survey. The survey will remain open for another two weeks, after which we'll announce the prize winner, in column #109.

This week's game are by Mark Houlsby who plays for Ulverston Chess Club in Cumbria and often frequents my Twitch stream as Tchitcherine.

When I solicited the stream for games for here, Mark kindly obliged with three games.

Mark HoulsbyThe first, which is indeed Agonising is characterised by Mark thus: “White's play was excruciatingly insipid, and was duly punished.”

The second is a hard fought battle which ended in a draw, and he writes:

I was reasonably happy with the timing of kingside pawn breaks in this game. They helped to secure a draw against a more highly graded player. 

The third is a nice attacking game in which he explains:

Not long ago I should think that the effect which my Queen's being en prise might have produced would have provided sufficient provocation to persuade me to exchange it, however, one thing that I learned from Igor Nataf, who used to teach me, remotely, on ICC, before he became a full-time mentor to Radjabov, is that if a piece is on the board, it's playing for you (in other words, in many circumstances the initiative overrides other considerations). So, not minding that my Queen was en prise, I ran with the initiative and conducted an attack.

All notes are mine apart from an aside quoting American GM Ben Finegold, at the end of the third.


Click or tap any game in the list to switch

Typical mistakes by 1800-2000 players

On this DVD GM Nick Pert shows you typical mistakes by 1800-200 players. Themes as when to exchange pieces, how to convert an advantage, passive pieces, anticipating your opponents plan, openings and pawn structure are shown throughout the DVD.

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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.


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