Speelman's Agony #68

by Jonathan Speelman
1/14/2018 – A reader from Sweden gets a second crack at Jon who looks at two wild gambit games. Fancy Jon taking a look at your games? Send them in! If you appear in 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!

Fritz 16 - He just wants to play! Fritz 16 - He just wants to play!

Fritz 16 is looking forward to playing with you, and you're certain to have a great deal of fun with him too. Tense games and even well-fought victories await you with "Easy play" and "Assisted analysis" modes.


What the Cochrane?

Chess players tend to divide roughly between strategists and tacticians. The former, of course, prefer relatively quiet clean positions while the latter revel in mess. But the dichotomy is really something of a caricature. Tactical soundness underpins everything and if you scratch any really strong player however apparently dry their games, you will find a ferocious tactical intelligence underneath.

Some players — and I count myself among them — have two quite different modes (strategist and hacker) depending on mood and opportunity and this week's games come from one such.

A year and a half ago, I published in Agony #8 a couple of very positional games by Tomas Yttling a Swede who will be 40 this year. They were both highly positional involving the exploitation (one successful one only ending in a draw) of superior pawn structures but Tomas also mentioned that he sometimes likes to "go all in" and sent me two highly tactical ones, apparently from a quite different player.


Click or tap on the second game in the game list below the board to switch

Meeting the Gambits Vol.1 - Gambits after 1.e4

On Meeting the Gambits Vol. 1; Gambits after 1.e4, FIDE Senior Trainer Andrew Martin provides you with an excellent selection of repertoire choices and teaches you the right approach to take against gambiteers.


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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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Tomas Yttling Tomas Yttling 1/16/2018 09:23
Wow, I didn't expect these games to make the cut!

I remember quite vividly my thought process during what little time I spent preparing for my game against Curt. I knew from all our previous encounters that the Petroff was his weapon of choice against 1. e4 and well, I've never really gotten a feel for the positions arising from the regular lines. So, I took a few hours the night before the game looking up the Cochrane and the only thing I do remember now, some 5 years down the line, is that 5... Qe8 was the move for choice in that line. It threatens capture on e4 and true enough, so does Qe7 but the former is vastly superior - it gives the queen access to the e8-a4 diagonal and does not block the bishop on f8 from developing to e7, so I knew right there and then that my chances just went up a bit.

I was quite pleased that I managed to hold back my aggression and finish my development rather than go for a premature attack as I am want to do. That was the best part of the game for me as an amateur!

That was the first and only time I've played the Cochrane in a classical game.

The Albin, on the other hand, I have used more than just a few times over the years and I knew that Ne7 is the move of choice and that after Be6 whites attack on the queenside is faster than blacks counterpart on the kingside but I also knew that at my level of club chess, these lines are not studied and kept fresh in mind so I decided to gamble. It's always nice when it pays off :)