Speelman's Agony: An English, a London, a Morra

by Jonathan Speelman
1/5/2020 – "How could I refuse the author of my favourite endgame books, so I decided to submit four games", writes Justin Baptie. GM JON SPEELMAN provides his instructive comments on four club-level games. | Send in your own games! Jon welcomes submissions 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!

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Agony & Ecstasy #113

Today's games are by Justin Baptie, a businessman with whom I chatted at the closing dinner of this year's London Classic. A strong club player he kindly agreed  to provide some material for this column and sent me two pairs of games, one pair against a father and son the other two games against a clubmate from Baslidon Chess Club.

He writes:

headshot"How could I refuse the author of my favourite endgame books so I decided to submit four games.

To give you some background. I play only locally these days as with a young family taking off for the weekend for some congress or other might lead to a costly divorce and then I would miss my wife and 2 daughters! I have been playing for about 40 years (having turned 50 a couple of months ago). I had just managed to get over 200 ECF a couple of years ago (2200 JS) when I had a string of bad results and slumped back into the (high) 180s (180 is 2020 and 190 2120 JS) . I am hopeful to get back over 200 again soon. I don’t get to play any FIDE-rated events so that here my rating has sat at 2099 for a decade or so. My favourite chess event these days is the Pro Biz event at the London Chess Classic each year. This year I was fortunate enough to have partnered Levon [Aronian] again. But I still haven't managed to win the event…one day though!

The time limit for the four games selected was: All moves in 80 minutes with a 10 second increment. All played after a hard day at work (ok my colleagues worked hard and I turned up, at least!?)

The first two games were against (I believe) son and father (in that order). Pavel Sygulski (first game) is the younger and I suspect is Artur’s son. I thought I was worse in the ending but expected to hold. But Pavel kept asking questions, as they say, and induced me to err.

Artur Sygulski (the second game) is a Polish IM but to be fair he doesn’t play as much, otherwise I am sure he would have had no trouble in beating me. He actually resigned in a drawn position as we had both missed the saving move. The computer of course finds it quickly. But the game was interesting.

Games 3 and 4 were both against Radu Bara who is a member of Basildon Chess Club (where I am also a member). He has an ECF grade around 180.”

Justin included quite a lot of notes and I'd added my own comments as JS.


Click or tap any game in the list to switch

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To submit your games just upload a PGN or ChessBase file (.pgn or .cbv archive), along with your name and e-mail address. Send one success story (Ecstasy) and one loss (Agony).

Tell why you chose them, where or when they were played. Please do include your email address, so Jon can reply, and preferably a photo of yourself for our article.

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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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