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Jonathan Speelman vs Tony Miles
"Rook on the Bright Side" (game of the day Sep-13-2006)
British Championship (1975), Morecambe ENG, rd 9, Aug-13
English Opening: General (A10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-13-06  think: 25. Kc1 threatens to win the game by
26. hxg7+ Kg8
27. Bxh7#
It wasn't possible the previous move because the light-squared bishop is pinned.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: It's the hallmark of rank amateurs at chess to develop rooks via h4 and Rh3.

Or is it?

Sep-13-06  EmperorAtahualpa: What a peculiar opening! You get the impression that White is doing all the original moves, but actually 1...b6 is already a very original reply to 1.c4.

There are 20 games in this database with the same first 9 half-moves (1.c4 b6 2.Nc3 Bb7 3.e4 e6 4.d4 Bb4 5.Qc2), but this is the only game in which Black moved 5...Bxc3+!

The opening explorer suggests Black has much better chances after 5...Qh4: Opening Explorer

Sep-13-06  backyard pawn: The b-pawn wends its way across the chessboard to deliver the coup-de-grace at e7 What a long strange trip it was. I used to advance my pawns like that, before I learned that it was important to protect one's king. ; ) Clever game by Speelman.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <backyard pawn> For another "long strange trip" by a b-pawn, check this game: Marshall vs Alekhine, 1924
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Sneaky was right,that was the first thing I noticed-the sequence of h4 followed by Rh3.

Who would have thought that the b-pawn would deliver the lethal blow at e-seven?

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Tony Miles - not too bright? just Britain's first GM.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Considering the travels of the b-pawn, perhaps a better pun would have been "Miles to go".
Sep-13-06  mack: <What a peculiar opening!>

Yeah, one of my faves too. This sort of chess was all the rage back in the 70s in Britain.

Sep-13-06  schnarre: Both sides using a little English in this game!
Apr-24-07  Ybrevo: 1. - b6 is a very good answer to the English Opening, but I think 5. - Bxc3 is premature. Why not keep the pin as long as possible? The early moves with the h-pawn and the Rook came as a total surprise, when I tried this game in "Guess the Move". But this kind of creativity is what makes chess so much fun!
Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: In 'Play 1...b6' the 1...b6 expert Christian Bauer confirms <EmperorAtahualpa>'s suggestion of 5...Qh4 as best, giving the sample line 6 Bd3 f5 7 Nf3 and only now 7...Bxc3+ (he credits this with an exclamation mark, since 7...Qg4? 8 0-0 Bxc3 allows nasty intermezzi 9 h3 or 9 Ne5) 8 Kf1 Qh5 9 bxc3 and 9...Ne7 or 9...Nf6, with the statement "The positions after either knight move are critical for the assessment of 5 Qc2, and in my opinion Black is doing well." Looks that way to me too.

Miles' continuation is weaker since Black's major aim in most lines like this is ...f5; I find Miles' early expansion in the center as opposed to ideas based on ...f5 the real mistake in Black's opening, rather than 5...Bxc3 (even if it is, indeed, a bit premature).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <mack> - <This sort of chess was all the rage back in the 70s in Britain.>

That must be the reason I still play it. A bit like listening to those old vinyl things from one's yoof.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: In "The King's Gambit" ( Paul Hoffman has a long interview with Nigel Short. Short says that Speelman has two switches: the positional one and the maniac one. It was hard to prepare to play him because he was so unpredictable. In this game, obviously the maniac switch was on!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: In playing through games from this British Championship, I'm noticing four main types:

1) Well-Played Games. Not surprising. These are strong players.

2) Listless Draws

3) Time Pressure Blunderfests and Other Disasters

4) Monty Python's Flying Circus

This game is defitnely Type 4. It may also be Type 1, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

Oct-04-16  JimNorCal: In one of his books GM Rowson quotes Speelman as saying his emotions took over here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plaskett: Many times in the late 70s and early eighties, IM Bob Wade said that Speelman " ...could be the strongest British player EASILY!"

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