Anthony Miles (1955-2001)
As I sit here in my room in Melbourne on 12 November 2001 surfing the Internet, I suddenly came across the news of the death of Anthony Miles. It was first announced on the Chessbase web site (www.chessbase.com) and the news came two days after the news that International Master Nikolay Minev underwent a heart surgery. Two shocking news coming one after another turned out to be very hard to swallow. This is especially true about the news of Miles' sudden demise. I used the word 'sudden' because he was only in his forties and was still going strong in chess tournaments.
In this article, I am not attempting to write anything about Miles' life since you, dear readers would have read so much about it in the countless obituaries that appeared on the Internet after his death. What I am attempting to do here is to express my admiration of the character and strength that propelled him to the top of British chess in the 70s and early 80s. Throughout his chess career, he showed great determination. It is this same determination that pushed him towards successfully becoming Britain's first Grandmaster. It is also the same determination that drives him to defy the Soviet domination of the chess scene.
It is such determination that everyone should emulate. Never mine if there are people who labeled him as outrageous and eccentric. Look at the positive side of Miles' life that consists of: determination, courage, the will to win and an unparalleled fighting spirit.
Miles was well known for surprising his opponents with unusual, weird openings. In other words, his play can be best described with the word 'proactive'. By using unusual openings, he set problems for his opponents right at the beginning of the game. Just look at his historic victory against Karpov in the European Championship in 1980. In that game, Miles played the whole game proactively even though he only had the Black pieces. Karpov, being unable to solve the 'proactive' problems set by Miles lost the game.
However, there are times that Miles played 'reactive' chess too. When he did so, he was pretty good at it too. The game that I am presenting below best exemplifies the 'reactive' nature of Miles' game. Within such 'reactive' characteristic, the reader should be able to see the determination and fighting spirit of a man who never failed to work hard all his life.
Rowson,J (2514) - Miles,A (2565) [C67]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6
4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8
9.Nc3 Bd7 10.Rd1
10...Kc8 11.Ng5 Be8 12.b3 b6 13.Bb2 Kb7
14.Rd3 Be7 15.Nge4 Rd8 16.Rad1 Kc8 17.h3 h5 18.Bc1 Rxd3 19.Rxd3 h4
A) 26...Ne6? 27.Bxd8 Nxd8?? (The lesser evil will be: 27...Kxd8? 28.Nxb6+) 28.Ne7+ Wins the Knight.;
B) 26...Bxg5 27.Nxg5 Nf5 Necessary in order to prevent Ne7+ that would lead to White's invasion of the eighth rank. 28.Nf6 (Stronger would be: 28.e6! fxe6 29.Nxe6 c6 30.Nf6 Bf7 31.Ng5 Be8 32.Nge4 White has a very strong advantage.) 28...Nh6 29.e6! fxe6 30.Nxe6 Bc6 Black has thwarted most of its problems and its Bishop has gained greater scope in the ending that has arisen. ]
21...Nd4 22.Bxe7 Nxf3+ 23.gxf3 Rxe5 24.Ba3
24...f5 25.Ng5 Re1+ 26.Kg2 c5!
28.Bxc5 Bc6+ 29.f3 Rc1 30.Bb4 Rxc2+ 31.Kg1 Bd7 32.Nd5 Rxa2 33.Bf8 a5 34.Bxg7 Rd2 35.Ne7+ Kb7 36.Ng6 c5 37.Kf1 a4 38.bxa4 bxa4 39.Ke1 Rh2 40.Bf8 c4 41.Kd1 Bb5 42.Bb4 Rb2 43.Bc3 Rb3 44.Kc2 Ra3 45.Kb2 Rb3+ 46.Kc2 Ra3 47.Kb2 1/2-1/2
"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch
"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.