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Jonathan Simon Speelman (born 2 October 1956) is an English Grandmaster chess player, mathematician and chess writer.

Jon Speelman
black and white photograph of dark-haired male wearing glasses, seated at chess game
Speelman (unknown date)
Jonathan Simon Speelman

(1956-10-02) 2 October 1956 (age 62)
Alma materWorcester College, Oxford
Spouse(s)Lindsay Thomas
Scientific career
Fields • Chess
 • Mathematics
 • Writing


Early life and educationEdit

He was educated at Worcester College, Oxford, where he read Mathematics.[1]


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:

Speelman's highest ranking in the FIDE Elo rating list was fourth in the world, in January 1989.[2]

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

In the April 2007 FIDE list, Speelman had an Elo rating of 2518, making him England's twelfth-highest-rated active player.


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), a thesis-like analysis of nearly fifty of the best games by top players from that decade, and Jon Speelman's Best Games (1997). Latterly 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.


  1. ^ 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."
  2. ^ All Time Rankings Archived 2009-11-26 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit