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Jonathan Speelman
Photo copyright (c) 2007 John Saunders  
Number of games in database: 1,910
Years covered: 1969 to 2019
Last FIDE rating: 2503 (2523 rapid, 2569 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2645

Overall record: +587 -234 =968 (59.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 121 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (109) 
    A15 A17 A13 A10 A14
 Queen's Pawn Game (104) 
    A46 A45 D02 A41 A40
 Reti System (69) 
    A04 A06 A05
 King's Indian (60) 
    E92 E60 E97 E90 E91
 Sicilian (58) 
    B52 B81 B92 B58 B40
 Nimzo Indian (47) 
    E54 E44 E46 E41 E42
With the Black pieces:
 Caro-Kann (157) 
    B17 B12 B10 B13 B18
 Queen's Pawn Game (113) 
    A41 A40 A46 E00 D02
 English (88) 
    A10 A13 A15 A14 A17
 French Defense (83) 
    C07 C11 C10 C02 C00
 Sicilian (76) 
    B57 B30 B58 B60 B67
 Nimzo Indian (66) 
    E54 E32 E48 E49 E33
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   A Sokolov vs Speelman, 1988 0-1
   Y Visser vs Speelman, 2006 0-1
   Speelman vs J T Fletcher, 1969 1-0
   Speelman vs Azmaiparashvili, 1994 1-0
   Chandler vs Speelman, 1985 0-1
   Kasparov vs Speelman, 1989 0-1
   Speelman vs Miles, 1975 1-0
   Speelman vs Sutovsky, 2006 1-0
   Speelman vs Short, 1988 1-0
   Mikhalevski vs Speelman, 2008 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   BCF-ch (1978)
   BCF-ch (1986)
   BCF-ch (1985)
   Maribor (1980)
   BCF-ch (1984)
   Subotica Interzonal (1987)
   BCF-ch (1982)
   Hastings 1983/84 (1983)
   Politiken Cup (1996)
   Amsterdam Zonal (1978)
   BCF-ch (1998)
   BCF-ch (1987)
   Thessaloniki Olympiad (1988)
   Valletta Olympiad (1980)
   Dubai Olympiad (1986)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Jon Speelman's Best Games by suenteus po 147
   Taxco Interzonal 1985 by Tabanus
   Reykjavik World Cup 1991 by suenteus po 147
   Chigorin Memorial, Sochi 1982 by Chessdreamer
   Taxco Interzonal 1985 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1977/78 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1992/93 by suenteus po 147
   Linares 1991 by suenteus po 147
   Phillips & Drew Kings Chess Tournament 1982 by keypusher
   London Phillips & Drew 1980 by suenteus po 147

   🏆 4NCL Div 1a 2018/19
   D Howell vs Speelman (May-06-19) 1/2-1/2
   Speelman vs Rapport (May-05-19) 1/2-1/2
   J P Le Roux vs Speelman (May-04-19) 1/2-1/2
   Speelman vs Firouzja (Mar-11-19) 0-1
   M J Turner vs Speelman (Feb-10-19) 1/2-1/2

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Jonathan Speelman
Search Google for Jonathan Speelman
FIDE player card for Jonathan Speelman

(born Oct-02-1956, 65 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Jonathan Simon Speelman was born in London, England. Awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1980 he was British Champion in 1978, 1985 and 1986. Early in his career he had a problem with his eyesight but when this was resolved his strength increased dramatically. In 1987 he was 1st= at the Subotica Interzonal and as a Candidate in 1988 he beat Yasser Seirawan (+3, =2, -0) and Nigel Short (+2, =3, -0). Then, in 1989 he lost to Jan Timman (+1, =5, -2) in the semi-final. He is a superb analyst and a noted and well respected author. His books are often highly technical, two well known ones being Endgame Preparation and Endgame Analysis. He has a highly original chess style often playing less obvious moves and a wide opening repertoire. His highest ever FIDE ranking was joint 4th in the world in 1989.

Wikipedia article: Jon Speelman

 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,943  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Speelman vs J T Fletcher 1-0181969BCF-ch U14C57 Two Knights
2. Miles vs Speelman 0-1291970IslingtonB32 Sicilian
3. Speelman vs E Warren  1-0311970Thames ValleyD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
4. Speelman vs G H Bennett 1-0331971IslingtonA45 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Holtzl vs Speelman 0-1281971HastingsB02 Alekhine's Defense
6. Speelman vs Jean-Jacques Hanau 1-0431971NiceD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. R O'Kelly vs Speelman 0-1291971MiddlesexE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
8. Speelman vs Miles  1-0201971BCF-ch U21A23 English, Bremen System, Keres Variation
9. Speelman vs T K Hemingway 0-1301972LondonB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
10. Speelman vs M Schauwecker 0-1481972HastingsA07 King's Indian Attack
11. A J Mestel vs Speelman ½-½281972Hastings Challengers 1971/72B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
12. M Haygarth vs Speelman  1-0381972BCF-chB06 Robatsch
13. Speelman vs R Bellin  ½-½291972BCF-chB25 Sicilian, Closed
14. R C Lemon vs Speelman  1-0461972BCF-chE75 King's Indian, Averbakh, Main line
15. Speelman vs S J Hutchings  ½-½191972BCF-chA17 English
16. M Basman vs Speelman 0-1381972BCF-chB02 Alekhine's Defense
17. Speelman vs R B Edwards ½-½301972BCF-chA25 English
18. A Trangmar vs Speelman 1-0351972BCF-chE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
19. Speelman vs C Pritchett  ½-½451972BCF-chA22 English
20. J S Emsley vs Speelman 0-1711972BCF-chA10 English
21. J Littlewood vs Speelman 1-0281972BCF-chB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
22. Speelman vs G James  ½-½271972BCF-chC00 French Defense
23. Pachman vs Speelman 1-0341972Islington opE61 King's Indian
24. Speelman vs R Pye  ½-½221973Schilde op U18 9thA22 English
25. Speelman vs Hoi 1-0651973Schilde op U18 9thC00 French Defense
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,943  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Speelman wins | Speelman loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-02-12  LoveThatJoker: Happy Birthday, GM Speelman!


Oct-02-12  waustad: Happy B'day!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "Jon Speelman was quite an unnerving opponent to play. His favourite habit was to insert a pen into his mouth so that it all but disappeared; apparently he retained a grip on the very tip. This made me incredibly nervous, as I always had the fear that if the pen slipped out of his grasp, I would need to respond instantly to the resulting medical emergency. Jon's habits are entirely unconscious, and he would never intend to distract his opponents, but distracted they sometimes are."

- GM John Nunn

Oct-02-13  Kikoman: <Player of the Day>

Happy 57th Birthday GM Jonathan Speelman! :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday <POTD>: Jonathan Speelman.
Mar-07-14  epistle: "Another reason chess is unlikely to take off (and the support of the ignorant couch potato plus know-nothing stadium-clogger are an important financial factor) is the variable charisma of those who play the game. If all players were as intelligent, voluble and linguistically assured as Gary Kasparov, the game could print its own cheque-books. But the truth is that pawn pushers <en masse> tend to belong to the train-spotter tendency. Anoraks, plastic bags, old sandwiches and an introverted excitement are some of their characteristics. Television did its chivvying best with the species: two of channel 4's resident grandmasters were Daniel King, whose shoulder-length hair and colourful shirts looked positively <vie de Boheme> in the context, and the bankerish figure of Raymond Keene (nicknamed 'the Penguin' for his well-lunched stomack and the rather Antarctic set of his head on his shoulders). The third, however, was the far more compelling--or, if you were a ratings-bothered television channel controller, uncompelling--figure of Jon Speelman.


"...Speelman, for all his great savvy on the board, and the affectionate respect in which he is held, is never going to be the Agassi of the sixty-four squares. His name was once misprinted in <The Times> as Specimen, and the sobriquet is still remembered and apt. Tall, gawky and shy, with downcast eyes, thick-lensed spectacles and a circular shrubbery of comb-free hair, Specimen is the ultimate boffin version of the chess player. His other nickname, from the days when he had a wild beard as well, was Speelwolf. There exists a rare footage of him on the dance-floor after a chess olympiad. Unwinding is what he seems almost literally to be doing: a sort of frenetic, uncoordinated whirling response to all the self-imposed discipline of the previous days. Boadicea with knives on her chariot wheels cleared less space around her than the grandmaster on the dance-floor. Despite his regular appearances on television over a period of three months, it would be a fair bet that no clothing chain has subsequently approached him with the suggestion of a sponsoring deal. He is, in brief, a sports marketer's worst nightmare. This is, of course, all to the greater and more serious glory of the sport he takes part in. But the alarming and true presence of Specimen stands like an emblematic bar to the popularizer's dreams."

--Julian Barnes in an article about the Kasparov-Short WCC

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Speelman still writes a weekly column for the Observer newspaper, part of the Guardian group. It's perhaps my favourite chess column in the print media: he usually provides in-depth analysis of one or two recent GM games. Speelman is a superb analyst, whether of openings, middlegames, or endings. I agree with <xombie> that 'Analysing the Endgame' is a great little book.

The Speelwolf also continues to play. In the past month he played for the top-seeded English team in the World Senior (over 50) team championships, along with Short and Nunn. Unfortunately, England were beaten by eventual winners Slovakia, and only finished 3rd.

May-23-15  TheFocus: <Chess is simply a medium through which concentration and a higher state of mind is achieved is like contemplating your navel, only better> - Jon Speelman.
Oct-22-15  offramp: Jon's latest Observer column mentions that normally TWIC has about 2000 games. Then he says that the latest one has over 6000! (6055 games). He says it's a time of huge activity for chess.
May-05-16  Chessinfinite: This Speelman, having contributed nothing as a second to big guys, now writes columns with some of his usual nonsense and useless information, but maybe a bit better than the other Brit Daniel King, whose analysis is more like that of a 1700 player imo.

Really, what did this mediocre player contribute as a second baffles me ? Maybe he should stick to mathematics, where i do not how he is doing .. one wonders.

Aug-22-16  Pyrandus: Le fils de Spielmann?
Oct-02-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Jonathan Speelman.
Oct-02-16  diagonal: Won: twice in Hastings: 1983-84 (joint with Lars Karlsson) and 1986-87 (joint with Bent Larsen, Smbat Lputian, and Murray Chandler), Dortmund 1981 (joint with Gennadi Kuzmin, who won on tie-break, and Lubomir Ftacnik), Banja Luka 1983 (joint with Krunoslav Hulak who won on tie-break, and Andras Adorjan), Brighton (Zonal) 1984 (joint with Nigel Short ahead of Jonathan Mestel), Bath (Zonal) 1987 (ahead of Glenn Flear), Beersheva 1987 (joint with Viktor Korchnoi), Moscow GMA World Cup Final Open 1990 (best on tie-break, <one of the strongest swiss system ever, with 26 players of Elo Top 50!>, including Tal, Polugaevsky, Beliavsky, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Portisch, Sax, Seirawan, Miles), twice the London Lloyds Open: 1992 and 1993, Katrineholm (Sweden) 1999 (joint with Viktor Gavrikov, ahead of Ulf Andersson), London Simpsons 2003 (175th, Mini-Tournament of four players) outright, three times in a row the Staunton Memorial, London: 2003 as clear first, 2004 (joint with Daniel King) and 2005 (joint with Jonathan Levitt). He played the traditional Hoogovens at Wijk aan Zee once (1983), but was out of form.

Co-Winner of the 1987 Subotica Interzonal (alongside with Sax and Short), maybe his biggest tournament success: Speelman qualified thus for the Candidates' matches of 1988-89 where he beat Yasser Seirawan (+3=2-0), defeated Nigel Short (+2=3-0), but lost the semi-final to Jan Timman narrowly (+1=5-2). In the next Candidates cycle of 1991, he drew Short (+2=4-2) - but lost the rapid play-off (45’ first 60 moves) 0.5-1.5. Short won the cycle, advancing to challenge Kasparov (the notorious split title championship 1993).

British national Champion in 1978, 1985 and 1986, Vice Champion in 1981, 1982 and 1984. A participant in fourteen Olympiads in a row between 1980 and 2006 where he collected five medals.

His highest ever FIDE ranking was joint 4th in 1989 (January-June at ELO 2640, with Beliavsky). Best rating: ELO 2645 in 1988 (July-December, Jonathan Speelman was then ranked sole 5th).

He has been a second at the world championship for Nigel Short and Viswanathan Anand against Garry Kasparov in London 1993 and New York 1995 respectively.

Speelman has a highly original chess style often playing less obvious moves and a wide opening repertoire. He likes puzzles especially cryptic crosswords and killer sudokus.

Happy birthday, Grandmaster Speelman!

The chess community is looking forward to your next Agony Colummn, a series launched by Jon in ChessBase this year, shedding some light in the fog :)

Oct-02-16  Chessinfinite: Have a good day GM Speelman..
Well, even little guys in chess have a day they can celebrate ! your insignificant contributions to chess will be forgotten for a day :)
Aug-28-19  Chesgambit: 2737 rating
Premium Chessgames Member
  halito27: Speelman is the author of one of my favorite chess quotes.

In his book, "Best Chess Games, 1970-1980", he spends nearly two pages analyzing a complex, double-sided position from some GM game, going through variations and sub-variations. After showing all the possible permutations, his conclusion is epic: "Neither side can possibly hold."

I still love that line. Both sides are thoroughly busted! Haven't you ever been in a position in which you and your opponent are BOTH lost? :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Halito,

Jon stayed a while in Edinburgh and I would pick his brain about various aspect of the game.

One question was what the best way to prepare prior to a game, look at some openings, some endings, some blitz...his answer:

"Just get a good nights sleep."


'Neither side can possibly hold."

There is a chess note out there...somewhere.

My fading grey cells are tugging at Staunton though it is possibly from the pen of Tartakower.

"Both sides appear to be lost."


Oct-03-19  JimNorCal: A similar quote I've seen from an exhausting, hard fought, up and down battle went something like this: "Both players are missing not only the point of their opponent's moves, but even the point of their own moves"
Premium Chessgames Member
  halito27: Haha, I love these. Thanks to you both for a good chuckle.
Oct-04-21  spingo: Here's a good quiz.

On Saturday 2nd October GM Speelman was 65.
All the following people British people or singers also had the same birthday as Speelman.

Can you guess their ages?

Sir Trevor Brooking
Don McLean
Phil Oakey

You have 10 seconds.

Oct-05-21  Albertan: The joys of Codgerdom:

Nov-08-21  Albertan: The joy of Endgames:

Nov-21-21  Albertan: The hacking of steely sprogs:

Dec-06-21  Albertan: Single battles:

Jan-17-22  Albertan: Bring your own bottle and fork:

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