Jon Speelman: Five abreast

by Jonathan Speelman
2/4/2024 – In the final round of the Tata Steel Masters, five players started first equal and four of them won. Big pile ups do occur quite often at the end of open Swiss tournaments, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen this before at the end of a top-class all-play-all. The last round was a fantastic spectacle, so I thought I’d add some of my own observations now, augmented by some incredible moves from our silicon lords and masters. | Photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit / Tata Steel Chess

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.

More...

Unprecedented?

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

A fortnight or so ago, I bought some dictation software to offset my execrable typing, so I thought I’d give it a run out today with a nice polysyllabic rant.

At the height of the pandemic, our glorious politicians used a single word to excuse their many incompetencies: unprecedented. I realise, poor darlings, that they had to make enormously difficult decisions which were not what they thought they’d signed up for. But surely that is exactly what being elected entails.

In any case, the use of the u-word particularly riled me as, with a single flick of the tongue, they disavowed millennia of history. History is not my strong suit, but of course there have been pandemics from time immemorial. And from a British and European perspective I can easily pick out the Black Death, which apparently killed about 50 million people, half of the population of Europe in the 14th century; the Great Plague of London in 1665, which probably killed about a hundred thousand, nearly a quarter of the population of London at the time (to be fair, this wasn’t a pandemic as such since contained geographically); and most relevantly the “Spanish flu” a century ago, which killed over 20 million when there were just 2 billion people on the planet.

Pierart dou Tielt

Miniature by Pierart dou Tielt illustrating the people of Tournai burying victims of the Black Death (ca. 1353)

Of course, there are times when “unprecedented” events do occur and one was in the last round of Wijk aan Zee a week ago, when five players started first equal and four of them won. Big pile ups do occur quite often at the end of open Swiss tournaments, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen this before at the end of a top-class all-play-all — though perhaps readers can advise me otherwise?

The last round was a fantastic spectacle and while you will have seen the games at the time, I thought I’d add some of my own observations now, augmented by some incredible moves from our silicon lords and masters.

Select an entry from the list to switch between games



Attack like a Super Grandmaster

In this Fritztrainer: “Attack like a Super GM” with Gukesh we touch upon all aspects of his play, with special emphasis on how you can become a better attacking player.


Links


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.
Discussion and Feedback Submit your feedback to the editors