Speelman's Agony #86

by Jonathan Speelman
11/4/2018 – This week Jon examines two games from the top scorer for Sri Lanka in the Batumi Chess Olympiad. As the coach of the team, he was impressed by the play of the youngest member, fifteen-year-old Harshana Thilakarathne (pictured). But continue sending in your own games! 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! | Photo: Panagoda Buddhi

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.


Speelman and Sri Lanka

During the Batumi Olympiad, I was assigned by FIDE, under the scheme which matches coaches without a country to countries without a coach, to captain Sri Lanka. They were a lovely team who worked hard and even managed to get into the top playing hall with two rounds to go. But sadly after the expected defeat by Bosnia in the penultimate round we lost even more heavily to Yemen in the last and ended up only just above our seeding: 112th as compared to 115th.

Sri Lankan team

The Sri Lankan open and women's teams with coach GM Jon Speelman | Photo: Panagoda Buddhi

The best result was scored by the youngest player, our board two: fifteen-year-old Harshana Thilakarathne. He would have made an IM norm with a round to spare had he not, unfortunately, had a default against Djibouti in round 2; and a draw in the final round against Yemen would still have been enough for a norm. Sadly he lost as you can see in the first game below but I'm sure he'll soon get some norms. In the World Youth Championship which has just finished in Greece he made an unbeaten 7/11 which netted 100 rating points and by December he expects to have gained over 200 points in two months to hit 2446!

When I asked Harshana whether I could use his games here he kindly agreed so I'm starting with the Agonising last round loss and then moving on to an, if not Ecstatic, certainly rollicking draw with a grandmaster a few days earlier. All notes are mine.


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

Sicilian Najdorf 6.Bg5

There are few opening systems which have been undergoing such a fast and furious renaissance as the 6.Bg5 Variation of the Najdorf System. Inspired by Radjabov’s victories over Anand and Karjakin in 2006, a great number of games have been played since then, meaning that the theory has developed enormously. But even before then it stretched to such distant horizons that makes it all the more important to have someone who can explain the ideas which underlie the variations. That is exactly what Alexei Shirov does on his DVD.

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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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