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Anthony Miles vs Boris Spassky
"Miracle Miles" (game of the day Nov-12-2005)
Montilla-Moriles (1978), rd 2, Aug-??
Queen's Indian Defense: Miles Variation (E12)  ·  1-0



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Given 32 times; par: 37 [what's this?]

Annotations by Raymond Keene.      [407 more games annotated by Keene]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-12-05  EmperorAtahualpa: Although I don't get the pun for this GOTD, the game itself is absolutely fantastic!

This game is full of deep calculations but thanks to the very instructive annotations, even a novice chess player such as me can follow what is going on.

These are the very games why is one of my very favorite websites. Thanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Wow, what a great game to wake up to on Saturday morning. Ray Keene is a blessing to this site. Can anyone plug the position after Black's 15th move into a computer and see if it comes up with Qg4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: What a great, great game! Thanks to and <ray keene> for the notes.

<An Englishman> I had a similar reaction to yours. But here is what Vuckovic has to say after his seven pages of annotations on the Pillsbury-Tarrasch game:

<This famous game has taken its place in chess literature as a classic example of an attack on the castled king which is stronger than the counterattack on the queenside. But in light of my annotations, which differ fundamentally from all annotations hitherto, from Tarrasch to Reti, this game takes on a new appearance. Black's numerous opportunities to strengthen his game at various stages point rather to the equal balance between attack and indirect defense, and it was only the decisive mistake on the thirty-eighth move which swung the balance in White's favour. This view of the game also qualifies it as a good example of the importance of indirect defence against an attack on the castled king, and of the part played by operations with wing pawns in particular.>

Vukovic then makes an interesting assertion:

<Indirect defense by means of advancing a pawn majority on the queenside was at one time held in high esteem and was more often practiced than nowadays; the real reason for this is that we have acquired a better understanding of the centre and the technique of centralization, thanks to the hypermodern school. It is clear that the player who has a majority on the wing, when the material is equally balanced, will usually not have the greater influence of pressure in the center, nor whill he have the necessary conditions for a central action. A majority on the wing is created at the expense of the centre and means giving up lateral pressure on the centre, and that is the sort of strategy which the masters of today are reluctant to adopt.>

Perhaps you could say that you see "indirect defense" in Vukovic's sense as practiced by Pillsbury and Spassky today more in positions in which the center pawns are locked, as in the classical King's Indian, where white advances his queen-side pawns and defends his king.

But here is an example from a QGD in which a queen-side pawn advance fared better:

Pillsbury vs Schlechter, 1895

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The horses romp in this one-chasing black men around with every hop.
Nov-12-05  bishopawn: I think Mr. Spassky had an off day, since he was oblivious to Miles K-side attack. However, Mr. Miles is to be commended for working out ending. Indeed, <Kevin86>, knights were made for games like this.
Nov-12-05  backyard pawn: <EmperorAtahualpa> Miracle miles exist all across the U.S. They are typically a stretch of road around which a great amount of develpment in a short amount of time has occurred. They tend to be shopping districts. Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles has one, as well as Long Island, NY. Steely Dan references Miracle Mile in their song, "Pearl of the Quarter" about New Orleans, so maybe there was one there, too.
Nov-12-05  Chess Addict: What a wild game.
I'm lost here.
Nov-12-05  Norman Glaides: It's amazing to think that it's four years since Tony died. He beat Spassky twice with this Bf4 system.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: <chess addict> play it thru and you will see the notes-they may help to orientate you
Nov-12-05  Gowe: Amazing, every single move in the right order. White made a wonderful job. Can't believe it. so perfect.
Nov-13-05  whatthefat: Hmmm, I've studied this game with the trusty Fritz 8 by my side, and I don't really agree with some of the annotations. Perhaps someone can point out any problems with my analysis.

To start off with, 13.g4 is fun for sure, but after 13...Nxe5 14.dxe5 Ne4 black has equalised. Hence, 13...b5?! might be considered Spassky's first real error.

The real issue however is this: 23...Rxd5 is surely an error. After 23...Bd6! instead, white's getting nowhere fast. Following the best line: 24.Bd4 Rc7 25.Qf3 Nef5! (there are no playable alternatives) 26.h6 Nxd4 27.hxg7+ Kxg7 28.Rxd4 (28.Qh1? is met by ...Ne2+; 28.exd4?! Be7 and black's holding on, while white's pawn structure is a mess) Be5 and the position is pretty much even (Fritz would even argue that black holds a small plus).

From white's 18th move to black's 22nd (inclusive) the game is forced, so if the evaluation here is wrong, then white must try 23.Nxd7 which leads to 23...Qxd7 (23...Bxd7 24.Qd4 Rg8 25.a3 Ba5 26.Bf6 Qe8 and white has reasonable compensation) 24.Qxd7 Bxd7 25.Kg2 (cutting out ...Bh3), and again white looks a little happier, but there's no clearcut win.

If Black really is okay here, then 17...Bb4 is fine. I don't mean to be critical of what is a really beautiful and daring game. If we're going to try to be objective about it though, I think the soundness of white's 23rd move needs to be examined.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: <what the fat> computer analysis is revealing many hitherto unsuspected defensive resources-dont forget that chess is a fight and the clock, the way you play your moves, even your charisma can influence the result. most game analysis predates the computer era and books like kasparovs great predecessors are beginning the lengthy task of revision of the accepted canon. the notes to this game are pre computer assistance so your contribution is a useful extension of our understanding of blacks defensive resources!
Nov-13-05  AlexanderMorphy: fantastic game!
Nov-13-05  whatthefat: <ray keene>
For sure - as Tal might put it: minutes at the board, and years of study are not quite the same thing! The bravado involved in such an attack never fails to impress; particularly when it's against a player of Spassky's calibre!
Nov-13-05  EmperorAtahualpa: <backyard pawn> Thank you for your explanation.
Mar-07-09  WhiteRook48: running too much miles
May-19-09  TrollKing: What a beat down! A lengthy yet precise series of moves.

If only this could be distilled and bottled. I'd buy a gallon!!

Nov-03-11  DrMAL: For fun I put on computer overnight to get eval after 5.e3 of "top" 8 moves, here are their scores and starting lines.

Houdini_20_x64: 30/69 11:56:10 440,563,132,413
-0.04 5. ... Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 Nxc3 8.bxc3
-0.08 5. ... Nh5 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.Nc3
-0.12 5. ... Be7 6.Nc3 Nh5 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0
-0.13 5. ... h6 6.h3 Bb4+ 7.Nbd2 Bd6 8.Bxd6
-0.13 5. ... Nc6 6.Be2 Ne7 7.0-0 Ng6 8.Bg3
-0.14 5. ... Ne4 6.Nbd2 Nxd2 7.Qxd2 Nc6 8.a3
-0.16 5. ... d6 6.Nc3 Nh5 7.Bg5 Be7 8.Bxe7
-0.18 5. ... a6 6.Nc3 Nh5 7.Bg5 Be7 8.Bxe7

Note that with 6.Nc3 top move 5...Bb4+ transposes from Bogo-type move to variation of Nimzo not bad for black. This can be avoided with almost identical score using 6.Nbd2 instead, best line for this according to Houdini 2.0 is:

5. ... Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.h3 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bh2

Note also GM Keene's move 5...Ne4 (L Day vs Keene, 1978) is strong as he indicated. Score difference here are negligible, what matters is getting move order correct and character of line. In Keene game, white went 6.Nfd2 leading to different line, there are of course many options above is just one set.

Nov-04-11  DrMAL: <ray keene: computer analysis is revealing many hitherto unsuspected defensive resources> Indeed. One example is in commentary on move 8. As computer reveals, 8...Nxd5! was better for black, not white. Annotation is surprising to me, as 8...Nxd5! does indeed look better for black, N can be either swapped or moved, opening B on b7.

Houdini_20_x64: 26/63 27:11 16,620,919,018
+0.08 8. ... Nxd5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10.Bd3 Qa5+ 11.Nd2
-0.25 8. ... exd5 9.Rc1 c5 10.Be2 Bd6 11.0-0
-0.37 8. ... Bxd5 9.Rc1 Bb7 10.Be2 Nbd7 11.0-0

Looking at other games provides only limited help, game lines typically have inaccuracies anyway, manual analysis by same player (such as Kasparov often did) and verified by others was very useful but these often if not usually had numerous flaws. Kasparov taught by example to revisit games aided by engines, more gets revealed. This statement rewords what GM Keene posted but is important enough to repeat.

As second example, here is eval before and after 13.g4?! computer shows it loses all advantage.

Houdini_20_x64: 27/67 1:01:17 38,601,198,279
+0.39 13.Qf3 Re8 14.Rad1 Ra7 15.Ng4 Nxg4 16.hxg4
+0.26 13.Ng4 Nxg4 14.Qxg4 Bc8 15.Qg3 Bh4 16.Qf3

Houdini_20_x64: 28/70 45:48 27,979,894,588
0.00 13. ... b5 14.g5 Ne8 15.h4 Nxe5 16.Bxe5 Qd7
0.00 13. ... h6 14.Qf3 b5 15.a3 Re8 16.Rad1 Qb6

Third, in annotation, Timman caught 17...Bb4?! but overdid 18.Nd7! it was strong but not "already the final blow."

Houdini_20_x64: 30/70 50:00 32,645,639,623
-0.65 18. ... Bc8 19.Nxd5 Kh8 20.N5f6 Ra7 21.d5 Ne7 22.a3 Bxd7 23.Nxd7 Rxd7 24.axb4 Nxd5 25.b3

In fact Miles missed 22.a3! playing 22.Be5 instead for basically equal game. In very complicated positions with many options, engines today are big help. Analysis using deep computations for key moves is much more reliable today than ever before.

Houdini_20_x64: 28/76 1:49:12 70,415,443,799
+0.73 22.a3 Bxd7 23.Nxd7 Rxd7 24.axb4 Nxd5 25.b3
+0.15 22.Be5 Rxd7 23.h5 Bd6 24.Bc3 Rc7 25.Qf3 b4

Fourth example is lack of question mark 23...Bd3 was only move to survive but 23...Rxd5? was big blunder here is eval.

Houdini_20_x64: 24/82 1:38:21 58,342,981,161
-0.14 23. ... Bd6 24.Bc3 Rc7 25.Qf3 b4
-4.28 23. ... Ng8 24.Qh4 Nxf6 25.Bxf6 Qxf6
-4.56 23. ... Rb7 24.Qf4 Ng8 25.h6 Nh5
-5.30 23. ... Rd6 24.Qh4 gxh5 25.Nxh5 Ng6
-5.92 23. ... Ra7 24.Qf4 Ng8 25.Nxh7 Re8
-5.97 23. ... Nef5 24.h6 Rd6 25.hxg7+ Nxg7
-7.38 23. ... Nxd5 24.h6 Nxf6 25.hxg7+ Kg8
-7.71 23. ... gxh5 24.Nxh5 Ng6 25.Bxg7+ Kg8
-8.16 23. ... Re8 24.h6 Nef5 25.hxg7+ Nxg7
-8.46 23. ... Rxd5 24.Qh4 Nef5 25.Bxf5 Nxf5

This was completely missed and assessment of position was further clouded by remark about 24.Qf4 being best. After 23.Rxd5 one can play with some inaccuracy and still win.

Houdini_20_x64: 25/78 24:23 15,580,190,423
+8.79 24.Qh4 Nef5 25.Bxf5 Nxf5 26.Nxd5+ Kg8
+3.28 24.Qf4 Bd6 25.Bxd6 Qxd6 26.Qxd6 Rxd6
+3.28 24.Qg3 Bd6 25.Bxd6 Qxd6 26.Qxd6 Rxd6

Back then manual analysis was only way there were no alternatives, but I still have to applaud hard work strong players did to make annotations. Analyzing game is much easier than playing it OTB, but analyzing with computer is much easier than without. Computer also gives person confidence, if still unsure of idea one can simply let it compute longer, as I did in Fischer vs Geller, 1967 when unsure of defense to idea 24.Rh3 move I thought was best 24...Rc8 turned out to be second best to 24...d5 as revealed under deep computation. Without computer showing this difference, my analysis would have been incomplete, thus fundamentally flawed. I can personally vouch for power of computer in chess, when I became master as teenager nearly twenty years ago, most of my effort was spending many hours at a time manually pouring over games. If you don't believe this about computer (or, if you do) please watch it from greatest player of all time on video that I very much recommend for anyone who loves chess to watch over and over. Towards end of this clip and into next clip (especially around minutes 4-6 there) is one spot where Kasparov remarks on topic, cheers.

Nov-04-11  Shams: <DrMAL><Towards end of this clip and into next clip (especially around minutes 4-6 there) is one spot where Kasparov remarks on topic, cheers.>...

Actually that is the wrong link, you want Part 28 here:

Nov-04-11  DrMAL: Thanx <Shams> for correcting, IDK what happened to link. Also, I made typo <Fourth example is lack of question mark 23...Bd3> this should read 23...Bd6 of course, cheers.
Jan-23-14  Lonnie Lurko: <Notes by Raymond Keene, with excerpts from Jan Timman, and Tony Miles>

I'm curious to know what's Keene, and what's Miles or Timman - as well as where Miles and Timman wrote.

The Keene notes appear to derive from The Spectator of 30 November 2002 (not currently available online) although they were reused in an apparently shorter form in The Times for 14 November 2011. But where did Miles' and Timman's notes appear?

Jan-24-14  lost in space: <<OhioChessFan:> Wow, what a great game to wake up to on Saturday morning. Ray Keene is a blessing to this site. Can anyone plug the position after Black's 15th move into a computer and see if it comes up with Qg4?>

yes, already with d=12 (after 5 seconds) shredder 12 gives 15. Qg4 as best here. Will let "him" run deeper. BTW, I would have played it OTB.

Apr-24-14  Rookiepawn: Just my half a cent: why 17. Bb4?

I don't see Black's B too active there, in fact both Black's Q and B in a5 and b4 look a little sad until the end of the game, lining up a "battery" pointing to nowhere.

Black's position was begging for 17... b4 imho, it seems natural and the only way to get some counterplay.

Apr-24-14  Rookiepawn: Hey, I see the notes there now, sorry. Wow, seems I hit the nail!

So it is clear Spassky was in a very bad day, or suffered some hallucination. If I can spot it, then for Spassky's level 17. Bb4 has to be an outright blunder.

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