Speelman's Agony: Facing "quite a strong player"

by Jonathan Speelman
4/5/2020 – The protagonist of this week's column was defeated by "quite a strong player". JON SPEELMAN finds out who was the mysterious opponent and annotates the game in detail. | 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 #119

This week's pair of games are by James Coleman, an Englishman in his early forties rated round about 2200. He sent me this note with them: 

I just thought I'd submit a couple of games for your column. The first (Agony) was against quite a strong player in the London League. He really worked me over big time. For the life of me, I can't remember his name but I do remember his post game comment in the bar: "You didn't really oppose any of my moves", he chastised. He was right as well. A couple of years later, I'd learned from this experience and played quite a decent game in a vaguely similar setup (Ecstasy), against the well-known Serbian trainer IM Slobodan Mirkovic.

James is on the left

When I looked to see if I'd ever played James myself, I discovered that said forgettable strong player was me. I hope I wasn't too bombastic in the bar and at least paid for the drinks. I always make some notes after London League games, and so I've slightly modified what I did for myself and added some written notes as explanation.

All the notes in both games are mine.


Click or tap the second game in the list to switch

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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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