Imagination can be a terrible burden for a chess player. The trouble is that the game is, whatever creative claims may be made for it, primarily one of accuracy and correctness. The vast majority of decisive games are lost through clear mistakes rather than being won through inspirational ideas.

Jonathan Speelman must know this better than most. While other players may struggle to come up with anything original at all, his problem has always been one of keeping his imagination under restraint. In the following game from the British championship, he concocted a remarkable strategy from a dull opening variation, displaced his own king, seized the white squares, advanced his pawns in front of his own king in an imaginative space-gaining move ... then everything fell apart.

When Black played 8...Nd5, he must have seen the idea of Bb5+, followed by Bxd7+, Ne5 and Qa4+. Black's king has to stagger to e7, but in return he gains a bind on the Q-side with 14...c4 after creating room to untangle his central mess with the time-gaining 13...f6.

His problems began when White shifted his queen to the K-side with 16.Qb5 and 17.Qh5+. Black's subsequent K-side pawn advances only left his position more vulnerable.

After 28.h4! Black was struggling to make sense of his position. His plan of h4, f5 and Qxc3 was imaginative and positionally flawless, but 33.Rxe6+! was a complete tactical refutation. 35...Qxd2 would lose to 36.Qf7+ Kxg5 (or 36...Kg4 37.f3+ Kg3 38.Ne4 mate) 37.Ne4+.

White: Malcolm Pein

Black: Jonathan Speelman

1 d4 e6 21 Bd2 b6

2 e4 d5 22 Re2 Bh6

3 Nc3 dxe4 23 Rfe1 Bxd2

4 Nxe4 Nd7 24 Rxd2 g5

5 Nf3 Ngf6 25 b3 Nf4

6 Nxf6+ Nxf6 26 Qe3 Kg6

7 c3 c5 27 bxc4 Qxc4

8 Be3 Nd5 28 h4 Nd5

9 Bb5+ Bd7 29 Qg3 Re7

10 Bxd7+ Qxd7 30 hxg5 h4

11 Ne5 Qc7 31 Qf3 f5

12 Qa4+ Ke7 32 Nd6 Qxc3

13 0-0 f6 33 Rxe6+ Rxe6

14 Nf3 c4 34 Qxf5+ Kh5

15 Nd2 Nb6 35 Qxe6 Nf4

16 Qb5 Kf7 36 Qf7+ Ng6

17 Qh5+ g6 37 Ne4 Qa3

18 Qh3 h5 38 Qf5 Qc1+

19 Rae1 Re8 39 Kh2 Qc7+

20 Ne4 Nd5 40 Kg1 resigns