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Photo copyright (c) 2007 John Saunders  
Jonathan Speelman
Number of games in database: 1,775
Years covered: 1969 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2518 (2522 rapid, 2562 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2645
Overall record: +549 -224 =913 (59.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      89 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (100) 
    A15 A17 A13 A14 A10
 Queen's Pawn Game (96) 
    A46 A45 D02 A41 A40
 Reti System (68) 
    A04 A06
 Sicilian (57) 
    B52 B81 B92 B67 B31
 King's Indian (55) 
    E92 E60 E97 E61 E91
 English, 1 c4 c5 (44) 
    A30 A33 A35 A34 A32
With the Black pieces:
 Caro-Kann (159) 
    B17 B12 B10 B14 B18
 Queen's Pawn Game (104) 
    A41 A40 A46 E00 D02
 English (77) 
    A10 A13 A15 A14 A17
 Sicilian (73) 
    B57 B56 B30 B22 B63
 French Defense (70) 
    C07 C11 C10 C02 C01
 Nimzo Indian (54) 
    E54 E32 E48 E33 E46
Repertoire Explorer

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Staunton Memorial (2005)
   Simpsons 175th (2003)
   1st Malmo Masters (2003)
   World Senior Teams +50 (2015)
   Taxco Interzonal (1985)
   British Championship (1975)
   Brussels World Cup (1988)
   Gibraltar (2010)
   Gibtelecom (2009)
   Gibraltar Masters (2004)
   Gibraltar Chess Festival (2008)
   Gibtelecom Chess Festival (2006)
   Bled Olympiad (2002)
   36th Olympiad (2004)
   Tradewise Gibraltar (2011)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Jon Speelman's Best Games by suenteus po 147
   Taxco Interzonal 1985 by suenteus po 147
   Taxco Interzonal 1985 by Tabanus
   Reykjavik World Cup 1991 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1992/93 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings 1977/78 by suenteus po 147
   London Phillips & Drew 1980 by suenteus po 147
   Hastings (1981/82) by Chessical
   Phillips & Drew Kings Chess Tournament 1982 by keypusher
   Linares 1991 by suenteus po 147

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

(born Oct-02-1956, 59 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 71; games 1-25 of 1,775  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Speelman vs J T Fletcher 1-018 1969 BCF-ch U14C57 Two Knights
2. Speelman vs E Warren  1-031 1970 Thames ValleyD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
3. Miles vs Speelman 0-129 1970 IslingtonB32 Sicilian
4. Speelman vs G H Bennett 1-033 1971 IslingtonA45 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Speelman vs Miles  1-020 1971 British U21A23 English, Bremen System, Keres Variation
6. R O'Kelly vs Speelman 0-129 1971 MiddlesexE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
7. Holtzl vs Speelman 0-128 1971 HastingsB02 Alekhine's Defense
8. Speelman vs Jean-Jacques Hanau  1-043 1971 NiceD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
9. A J Mestel vs Speelman  ½-½28 1971 HastingsB86 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
10. J S Emsley vs Speelman 0-171 1972 BCF-chA10 English
11. Speelman vs R B Edwards ½-½30 1972 BCF-chA25 English
12. R C Lemon vs Speelman  1-046 1972 BCF-chE75 King's Indian, Averbakh, Main line
13. Speelman vs M Schauwecker  0-148 1972 HastingsB23 Sicilian, Closed
14. Speelman vs S J Hutchings  ½-½19 1972 BCF-chA17 English
15. Speelman vs T K Hemingway 0-130 1972 LondonB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
16. J Littlewood vs Speelman 1-028 1972 BCF-chB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
17. Speelman vs R Bellin  ½-½29 1972 BCF-chB25 Sicilian, Closed
18. Pachman vs Speelman 1-034 1972 Islington opE61 King's Indian
19. M Haygarth vs Speelman  1-038 1972 BCF-chB06 Robatsch
20. Speelman vs C W Pritchett  ½-½45 1972 BCF-chA22 English
21. A Trangmar vs Speelman 1-035 1972 BCF-chE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
22. Speelman vs G James  ½-½27 1972 BCF-chC00 French Defense
23. M Basman vs Speelman 0-138 1972 BCF-chB02 Alekhine's Defense
24. H Baumgartner vs Speelman  0-124 1973 Schilde op U18 9thB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
25. Speelman vs R Pye  ½-½22 1973 Schilde op U18 9thA22 English
 page 1 of 71; games 1-25 of 1,775  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 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-11-09  Bobsterman3000: Isn't this guy known as "Marathon Man" on
Feb-01-10  mkirk: Speelman is having a good tournament in Gibralter, so far. Excellent.
Mar-01-10  asianwarrior: As I was reading his biography, I noticed that he has a poor eyesight which was later corrected. I too have poor eyesight that I can't hardly see the whole chessboard. I wish he can allow me to know about his eye defect and how it was correxcted so as to help me not only in my playing chess but more on my job.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: According to Dominic Lawson, GM Jon Speelman was the only Grandmaster he met who actually feels sorry for his opponents when he beats them.
Oct-02-10  rapidcitychess: Happy Birthday.

Speel your heart out!

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "One of the secrets of winning is not to try too hard."

- GM Jonathan Speelman

Happy Birthday GM Speelman!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: My son bought "Best Games of Chess" Jon Speelman thinking (as I think the seller honestly thought it was) it was HIS games - however it is a lot of great games of famous players and others and is good - but be wary of that.

That said, Speelman should do a book of his own games (he did put one of his own games in the collection). So "Best Chess Games 1970-80" by Jon Speelman is NOT his games (except for one) but it is very good. It is a great book.

Also, he gets confused with Rudolf Spielmann.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gejewe: <Richard Taylor> He actually did, back in 1997. The title is "Jon Speelman's best games", published by Batsford ISBN 0-7134-6477-1. Great book with 38 annotated games. Last chapter "Blood on the board" ! I hope that you are still able to find it because my former teammate in the Dutch league is an original thinker and great chessplayer (and besides one of the kindest people among chessplayers..)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Game Collection: Jon Speelman's Best Games
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Gejewe> Thanks. We can look for that. I sell books so I should know how to find it! My son had read about Speelman. I got him confused with Mestel who is in a book called "Play Better Chess" by Barden. But if he was in the top 4 at one stage he must have played some interesting games... Good to hear he is also considerate person - rare in chess. Mind you I (and Speelman!) are at least 2 exceptions that proves that rule!

<Benzol> Thanks for the link.

Jul-05-11  xombie: I happened to own "Analysing the endgame " written by him, which I had chanced upon in Berkeley's half priced books. It is a singularly instructive book. I would even rate it as one of my best (though obviously, it would be a little too precise to call it my best ever). You just get sucked into it.

In spite of being a relatively slim affair of 156 pages, it sort of contains enough to become an expert endgame player. Furthermore, there is a quality about it that oozes a depth of understanding, without being repetitive or boring.

Feb-24-12  AlphaMale: <Jonathan Spelman's Privacy Injunction Refused By High Court >

Close but no cigar.

Feb-25-12  Paint My Dragon: Close, but no second 'e'.

Difficult to imagine why the real 'Spess' would need a privacy injunction.

To protect his 1978 analysis of a line in the Caro-Kann perhaps? Or maybe to prevent the Daily Mirror from discovering the extent and whereabouts of his fisherman's jumper collection? Someone's only going to spill the beans on Twitter, aren't they?

Jul-19-12  smurph: What does he work at now?What kind of a living would players like speelman make after they retire?
Aug-16-12  Cemoblanca: Kasparov VS Speelman

Part 1:

Part 2:

Oct-02-12  LoveThatJoker: Happy Birthday, GM Speelman!


Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

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