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Friday, May 24, 2013

FM Morris Giles

      This old news which I just discovered the other day while surfing the net but it left me stunned.  
     On Sunday, December 23, 2012 FM Morris Giles of Chicago died. Giles was struck by a tow truck the previous morning when the truck driver failed to yield before making a left turn and struck Giles as he was in the cross walk. The driver was subsequently cited for “failure to yield to a pedestrian” and “failure to exercise due care”. Giles was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he died Sunday at 2:30am.
      It was written of Giles that he impressed others with his brash and daring style, yet had a soft and humble demeanor. I can attest to that because some time in the early 1970s I played in a Chicago tournament and scored 4-0 then had to play Giles in the last round. I no longer have the game score but remember I had White and got crushed. More than that though I remember the post mortem I had with Giles because he was very gracious in his praise of my play.
      Giles took a break from chess in the 70s only to return with a vengeance in the early 80s and at the 1988 U.S. Open in Boston he scored 9-3 beating GM Alexander Ivanov and drawing with GMs Lev Alburt, Andrew Soltis in the process. His only loss was to GM Benjamin. Despite only having the FM title pretty much everyone agrees – he was IM strength.
      As a person, Giles was a quite, gentle fellow but as a player he used aggressive openings: the King’s Gambit, Sozin Attack against Sicilian, Najdorf and Scheveningen Sicilian with black, King’s Indian, the Grunfeld and an occasional Dutch with black, always playing the most theoretical lines.
     His USCF rating was 2423 and 2360 FIDE. It’s not certain exactly when he gave up chess; his cousin told The Chess Drum that he had simply lost interest in chess, gave it up and never returned. 
      He worked in the computer field and for a time was employed by Sears in the IT department. His older brother, Dr. Roscoe C. Giles, III, a professor at Boston University, tried to persuade Morris to spend time in Boston and resume playing, but he wasn’t interested.
      Like I said, this is old news, but I have never forgotten the impression Giles made on me that Sunday afternoon in Chicago so many years ago. Giles Games

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