Jon Speelman

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Jon Speelman
Full nameJonathan Simon Speelman
Born (1956-10-02) 2 October 1956 (age 67)
Marylebone, London, England
TitleGrandmaster (1980)
FIDE rating2497 (May 2024)
Peak rating2645 (July 1988)
Peak rankingNo. 5 (July 1988)

Jonathan Simon Speelman (born 2 October 1956 in Marylebone, London)[1] is a British chess player and author. He was awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1980.

Early life and education[edit]

Speelman was educated at St Paul's School, London and Worcester College, Oxford, where he read mathematics.[2]


A winner of the British Chess Championship in 1978, 1985 and 1986, Speelman has been a regular member of the English team for the Chess Olympiad, an international biennial chess tournament organised by FIDE, the World Chess Federation.

He qualified for two Candidates Tournaments:

In 1989, Speelman beat Kasparov in a televised speed tournament and then went on to win the event.

On 7 December 1990, Speelman was featured in an experimental interactive BBC2 broadcast called Your Move, which was hosted by Rob Curling and commentated by chess writer William Hartston. In the groundbreaking one-off episode, Speelman was pitted against the audience, who would use a special telephone line to submit their moves, with the move played by the viewers being decided by a democratic vote.[3] Speelman won the match. The broadcast went for approximately three hours, about double the time that it had been scheduled for.[4]


He has written a number of books on chess, including several on the endgame, among them Analysing the Endgame (1981), Endgame Preparation (1981) and Batsford Chess Endings (co-author, 1993).

Among his other books are Best Games 1970–1980 (1982), an analysis of nearly fifty of the best games by top players from that decade, and Jon Speelman's Best Games (1997). Today he is primarily a chess journalist and commentator, being the chess correspondent for The Observer and The Independent and sometimes providing commentary for games on the Internet Chess Club.[citation needed]



  • Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Analysing the Endgame. Batsford (London, England). 142 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-1909-2.
  • Speelman, Jonathan (1981). Endgame Preparation. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 177 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4000-3.
  • Speelman, Jon (1982). Best Chess Games, 1970-80. Allen & Unwin (London, England; Boston, Massachusetts). 328 pages. ISBN 978-0-04-794015-6.
  • Speelman, Jonathan; Tisdall, Jon; Wade, Bob. (1993). Batsford Chess Endings. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 448 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-4420-9.
  • Speelman, Jon (1997). Jon Speelman's Best Games. B.T. Batsford (London, England). 240 pages. ISBN 978-0-7134-6477-1.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Birthday of GM Jonathan Speelman".
  2. ^ The Spectator, Volumes 258–259, Issue 8306, 1987, p. 92: "Jon was educated at St Paul's School, London, and went on to Worcester College, Oxford, where he gained a second in mathematics."
  3. ^ 1990: INTERACTIVE CHESS on Your TELEVISION! | Your Move | Retro Gaming | BBC Archive, retrieved 13 June 2023
  4. ^ "Your Move - UKGameshows". Retrieved 13 June 2023.

External links[edit]