Grandmasters can make enormous blunders too

by Jonathan Speelman
4/21/2019 – JON SPEELMAN is currently fighting with the English team at the Senior World Team Championship in Rhodes, but he sends this column with games courtesy of a senior American who spent his career as a maths teacher. Send 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!

The true value of pieces The true value of pieces

There are many cases of material imbalance in chess. In this video series, GM Dejan Bojkov of Bulgaria makes an attempt to systematise the most important ones and gives valuable advice on how to handle the resulting positions.


Speelman's Agony #96

This week's games are by Manuel Infante, an American in his mid-sixties who featured here a couple of years ago. He wrote then:

Manuel InfanteI was born on 18 March 1954 at Vance Air Force Base in Enid Oklahoma and grew up as an Air Force brat. I survived cancer when I was 12 years old. God gave me a second chance and I decided to dedicate myself to helping others and became a Mathematics school teacher and coach. I taught 26 years, the last 20 where at the school I graduated from, Western Heights public schools in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

While there, I was the chess club sponsor, and my kids won back to back state chess championships in 1996 and 1997. I took early retirement from teaching in 2002 and currently work at Tinker Air Force Base. I enjoy listening to classic rock music and reading books on military history. I started playing chess in high school and was so terrible my opponents would give me queen odds. I played over the board and postal chess in the 80s and started to show improvement but had to put my chess studies and tournaments temporarily on hold as being a parent was more important After retirement from teaching and no young ones at home I was able to renew my chess studies and began once again to participate in chess tournaments.

His two games today feature an “Agonising” loss which he really should have won and a nice win, somewhat spoilt at the end by a huge double blunder. Manny was a little embarrassed by this but I assured him that grandmasters can make enormous blunders too and I'm appending my own rather extraordinary game against Daniel Campora, in which after a huge time scramble my 40th move put a whole queen en prise but so shattered was he too, that he failed to take her!


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

My Secret Weapon: 1.b3

Meanwhile, 1.b3 has also found its way into the practice of today's world elite, and now finally a modern top ten player has taken on the subject for ChessBase: none other than Grandmaster Wesley So!

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 analysing your play? You can!

To submit your games just upload a PGN or ChessBase file (.pgn or .cbv archive), 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 do 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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