Speelman's Agony #84

by Jonathan Speelman
9/16/2018 – This week's lovely pair of games are by David Sprenkle an American who was 60 in April. A former Illinois champion, he now lives in Spokane, Washington. One game even reminded Jon of a classic Nezhmetdinov game. Jon can always use more material 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!

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

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Rare exclam

This week's lovely pair of games are by David Sprenkle an American who is a former Illinois champion and writes:

I'm 60, married with two daughters, and an Instructor of English at Northwestern Michigan College here in the wilds of Traverse City, Michigan. I'm pretty much retired from tournament chess these days — except to fend off pesky, talented young players in small local events (the photo I've attached shows one such encounter). But I like to follow the international chess scene on the internet — including ChessBase.com, of course!

Roupe and Sprenkle

Sprenkle, playing black against Gavin Roupe in 2016

In any case, on to the games. As a strong player, David sent just a few notes but in highly relevant places. I've left these untouched and added a few comments of my own as JS.

We begin with the Agony, in which near the end of the US Open, he conjured up a splendid attack but then imploded. David writes:

This is my agony submission, as much for the significance of the game as for the outcome. After a modest start to the tournament, one of the strongest U.S. Opens of that era, my 25-year old self had managed to conjure up a five-game win streak and after ten rounds I found myself tied for 3rd with Igor Ivanov and Fedorowicz at 8½-1½, sitting just behind Korchnoi (yes, that Korchnoi, #3 in the world at that time) and Christiansen at 9-1. As my reward, I was paired with the youthful Yasser Seirawan (then #10 in the world) on board 3. I was duly crushed, but, with one round left, there was still hope for a fine result.

Then this happened:


Click or tap a game in the game list below the board to switch

David sent the games to the ChessBase drop box (see below) a while ago but I didn't get round to them because there was no email address and it was only when I looked properly that I realised how excellent the material is.

Please, if you have sent games to the drop box without an address then send it there now. There may be a problem with the formatting (people sometimes send a single .cbh ChessBase file rather than the .cbv archive or .pgn which is necessary) or I may want to clarify something.

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Submit your games and win free Premium!

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

To submit your games just upload a PGN or ChessBase file, 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 also include your email address, so Jon can reply, and preferably a photo of yourself for our article.

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See also:

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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