Click to follow
The Independent Culture
HARD ON the heels of Michael Adams's splendid first place in Dos Hermanas (and sandwiching my own shared first in Katrineholm), Tony Miles has signalled a welcome return to form with an excellent victory at the Capablanca Memorial tournament in Havana.

Miles was first by himself on 8.5/13 ahead of Atalik, Bruzon and Bessera 8, Arencibia and Morovic 7.5, Slobodjan and Baburin 7, Nogueras 6, Vera 5.5, Hoffman 5, Comas and De la Paz 4.5, and Godena 4.

A superb player once he gets into the game, Miles has sometimes in recent years had trouble with the black pieces (and indeed his repertoire as Black is arguably no better than my own somewhat coliform agglomeration). But in Havana he was rock solid, remaining unbeaten - Suat Atalik was the only other such - and scoring two wins and the rest draws with both colours.

I gave his first-round win as Black against Alexander Baburin just under a fortnight ago. This is the final phase of his other impressive win as Black.

Walter Arencibia

vs Tony Miles (to play)

After Arencibia, a strong grandmaster, played the opening indifferently, Miles got a space advantage on the queenside which eventually led to a clearly better endgame in which he could squeeze White - a scenario at which Tony is absolutely world class.

Arencibia continued to defend staunchly and here Black needs to act since if 54 ...Nd7 55 Kh2 Nf6 56 Ne1 en route to g2 will hold. So Miles bravely played: 55 ...Nc4!

This is easy enough to contemplate at home, when you can retract anything that goes wrong. But it takes considerable confidence to pitch the horse in in the heat of battle.

A) The game lasted just three more moves: 55 Kh2? Nd2 56 Nxb4 axb4 57 a5 Nc4! and White resigned since if 58 bxc4 b3 59 a6 b2 60 a7 b1Q 61 a8Q Qb2+ 62 Kg1 Kg3! wins immediately.

B) But Arencibia should have taken the knight 55 bxc4 dxc4! (not 55 ...b3? 56 Na3 and with the pawns blockaded White wins) when:

B1) The obvious 56 d5 leads to b3 57 Na3 c3 58 d6 c2 59 d7 (59 Nxc2? bxc2 60 d7 c1Q 61 d8Q Qc2+ should win easily) c1Q 60 d8Q Qb2+ 61 Kf1 Qxa3 62 Qh8+ Kg3 63 Qe5+ and I think that White can just about deliver perpetual check, though it would be impossible to determine this at the board after 55 ...Nc4.

B2) But 56 Kf2! is much more interesting. The main line now goes: 56 ...b3! 57 Na3 c3 58 Ke2 Kxh3 59 Nb5! g4 (not 59 ...c2?? 60 Kd2 g4 61 Nc3 g3 62 Ne2 g2 63 d5 and wins!) 60 Nxc3 g3 61 Kd2 g2 62 Ne2 b2 63 Kc2 Kg4! 64 d5 Kf3! 65 Ng1+ Kf2 66 Nh3+ Kg3! with a draw.