Chess: Results are miles better

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The Independent Culture
TONY MILES, who became Britain's first grandmaster in 1976, has been having his most consistent set of results for several years. He took first place in both Cappelle-la-Grande and Chicago, and finished only half a point away from a third victory in Toulouse, all in the space of the past month.

15 years ago, Miles was edging towards a place in the world's top 10, and with a couple of victories over Karpov (including a historic win with Black which opened 1. e4 a6), seemed capable of rising higher. When Kasparov shot past him in the fast lane, however, it seemed the start of a demoralising process that led to a total loss of form.

Now long out of the world-title hunt, Miles has developed an effective style to win open tournaments. While he no longer plays 1 . . . a6, he has a range of odd openings that can disorientate opponents, as the following games show.

In the first, he defeats an American grandmaster in an off-beat Alekhine's Defence with 4 . . . c6 instead of the well-trodden Bg4 or g6. Slinking back with his knight to c7, Miles' position looked passive, but he broke out with 12 . . . b5] Regaining the sacrificed pawn, Black achieved a more or less equal position, but De Firmian became over-ambitious with 23. h4.

With the centre wide open, such an attack does not deserve to succeed and 26 . . . Nc3] showed how loose White's game was. With Ne2+ in the air, he had trouble holding it together. 27 . . . Qd6] turned those troubles into a crisis. 28. Bc2 loses to Nxa2, and 28. Re3 loses to Ne2+. After 28 . . . e5, any knight move is again killed by Ne2+.

White: De Firmian

Black: Miles

1 e4 Nf6

2 e5 Nd5

3 d4 d6

4 Nf3 c6

5 Be2 dxe5

6 Nxe5 Nd7

7 c4 Nc7

8 Nf3 g6

9 0-0 Bg7

10 Nc3 0-0

11 Re1 c5

12 d5 b5

13 cxb5 Nb6

14 Be3 Ncxd5

15 Nxd5 Nxd5

16 Bxc5 Bxb2

17 Bc4 Bb7

18 Rb1 Bf6

19 Bd4 e6

20 Bxf6 Qxf6

21 Qd4 Rfc8

22 Rbc1 Qe7

23 h4 Rc5

24 Ne5 Rac8

25 Nd3 R5c7

26 Bb3 Nc3

27 Qg4 Qd6

28 Nf4 e5

White resigns

The next game, from Cappelle, is still more drastic. Showing that he is sufficiently versatile to move either knight at move one, Miles quickly reached an old line of the Scotch Game. White's pawn hunting with 8. Nb5 was imaginatively punished, beginning with 12 . . . Nb4] Not liking the look of 13. cxb4 Qxb2 14. Qc3 Re8+ 15. Kd1 Qxf2, White tried to remedy his lack of K-side development, but after 15 . . . Nxd5] he capsized. 16. fxg4 Nf4 and 16. Qxd5 Rad8 both give Black powerful attacks, but the way White played meant he did not even have material compensation for his suffering.

White: Lupu

Black: Miles

1 e4 Nc6

2 d4 e5

3 Nf3 exd4

4 Nxd4 Qf6

5 Be3 Bc5

6 c3 Nge7

7 Qd2 0-0

8 Nb5 Bxe3

9 Qxe3 d5

10 Nxc7 Rb8

11 Nxd5 Nxd5

12 exd5 Nb4

13 Qd2 Re8+

14 Be2 Bg4

15 f3 Nxd5

16 0-0 Nf4

17 Bd1 Rbd8

18 Qf2 Bh3

White resigns