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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

GM Anthony Miles

British GM Anthony Miles passed away 10 years ago this month at the age of 46. He suffered from diabetes and died in his sleep of heart failure in 2001.

Miles was a controversial figure. Once, in the last round of a tournament Miles needed a draw for first place and his opponent was also willing to draw to secure a top place so they agreed to a draw without playing any moves. The arbiter decided to give both players a loss; both players claimed prearranged draws were commonplace so there was really no reason to actually play a fake game. The incident started big brouhaha in the British chess journals.

Miles also had disagreements with chess authorities and with his fellow English players, particularly GM Raymond Keene and Nigel Short. Miles made accusations regarding payments that Keene had received from the BCF for acting as his second in the 1985 Interzonal and became rather obsessed with the affair, eventually suffering a mental breakdown because of it. He was arrested in 1987 because he was under the belief that he had to speak to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about the matter. He was subsequently hospitalized for two months.

In the November 2003, GM Nigel Short wrote in the Daily Telegraph, "Tony was insanely jealous of my success, and his inability to accept that he was no longer Britain's number one was an indication of, if not a trigger for, his descent into madness."

Miles was also noted for his acerbic wit and often attacked chess personalities in published articles. He attacked former World Champion Anatoly Karpov in an article entitled , “Has Karpov Lost His Marbles?” His review of NM Eric Shiller’s book Unorthodox Chess Openings consisted of just two words: "Utter crap".

In 1987-88 Miles spent a brief period in the US before moving to Germany, but he eventually returned home to Birmingham. He played in the 1988 US Championship and did rather poorly, winning only one game and finished 11th out of 12 with +1 -4 =6. I visited a couple rounds of that tournament and sat in on a couple of PM’s of Miles games and was rather surprised at how quiet he was, offering little in the way of comments as he played through the games with his opponents. OBITUARY

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