Speelman's Agony: California dreamin'

by Jonathan Speelman
2/17/2020 – Two games with "considerable violence" quips GM JON SPEELMAN as he takes a look at his latest submission. | 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 #116

This week's very interesting pair of games are by Erik Grubbs, a Californian who sent them after I requested material while streaming. For a while now, I've been considering expanding the column to include a recorded masterclass of the material alongside (obviously only if the player would like to). And when I've sorted out the technical details with ChessBase it's possible that Erik will very kindly initiate the process.

For the moment, here are the two games played on the internet. Both involve considerable violence, and we start with a queen sacrifice which didn't quite work out in the end.

 

Click or tap the second game in the list to switch


Sicilian Defense with 2.c3 - Alapin Variation

Sergei Tiviakov started playing the line 1.e4 c5 2.c3 in the Sicilian Defence as White in 1988. Since then, he has employed it in more than 100 games, including a yearlong period when he I managed to win twelve 2.c3-games in a row. White tries to occupy the centre with a second pawn, and Black must know his stuff very well in order to be able to equalize. And this is only possible with 2...Nf6 – all other lines give the first player a small edge everywhere. Especially against stronger opponents, 2.c3 is an excellent weapon.


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

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.

If your game is selected Jon will contact you personally, and 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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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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