Thursday, January 3, 2013

Morris Giles, 1953-2012

Story on The Chess Drum.  I am just stunned.  FM Morris Giles was a genius and a gentleman: I will miss him.

Much more to follow. For now, here's Giles's masterpiece (and arguably the most brilliant game ever played by a Chicagoan): he beats six-time U.S. Champion Walter Browne on Browne's home turf, the Najdorf Sicilian, with a positional piece sacrifice for an enduring light-square attack, then a queen sacrifice leading to a smothered bishop mate.

Giles,Morris (2451) - Browne,Walter (2617) [B98] 
U.S. Open, Boston, 1988
[GM Robert Byrne]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 

The most aggressive attack against the Najdorf Sicilian is 6 Bg5, which inhibits the original intention of this sharp, counterattacking defense - 6...e5? - which would yield White a hammerlock on the center after 7 Nf5. Nevertheless, the criterion of 6 Bg5 is whether it leads to more victories than the almost-as-ambitious 6 f4 or 6 Bc4 or the conservative 6 Be2 or 6 Be3 or 6 a4. The verdict is not yet in.

6...e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Nbd7

Developing with 8 . . . Nbd7?! has been considered so bad that the leading texts on the Najdorf refuse to analyze it. The unanimous opinion is that Black must prevent the potent 9 Bc4 by 8...Qc7 Yet Browne had played it at least twice before, against the grandmaster Nick DeFirmian in last year's [i.e., 1987's] United States invitational championship and also against the international master Patrick Wolff in Philadelphia last year. It is remarkable that on both occasions, his opponents chose the forgiving 9 O-O-O, allowing him to reach regular lines of play with 9 . . . Qc7.


Giles was not so generous, but played 9 Bc4 with the intention of breaking up the black formation.


9...Qc7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 followed by 12 Ng7 and 13 Nf5. On 9 . . . h6, Giles, of course, could not make any immediate sacrifice.

10.Bxf6 Bxf6 

Browne could not recapture with 10...Nxf6 11.f5 e5 12.Nde2 which gives White a hammerlock on the d5 square.

11.0–0–0 Qb6 

White to play
12.Nxe6!? fxe6 13.Bxe6

It is more than likely that Browne had prepared and relied upon 10 . . . Bf6 11 O-O-O Qb6 to get him through the opening without incident. But he must have minimized Giles's sacrifice with 12 Ne6!? fe 13 Be6, opening the black king position and achieving a powerful grip on the light squares.


 Browne could not play 13...Ne5, as 14.Qh3 Nd7 15.e5 Be7 16.Nd5 is overwhelming.

14 Bb3 Be6

What is remarkable is that even after Browne had plugged the worst gaps in his position with 13...Nf8 and 14...Be6, Giles was still coming.

15.e5! dxe5 16.fxe5 Bg5+ 17.Kb1 Rd8 18.h4 Be7 


A devastating shot, one point being that 19 . . . Bd7? would be smashed by 20 Rhf1 Qg6 21 h5!

19...Nd7 20.Nd5 Qa5

It was futile to play 20...Bxd5 21.Qxd5 Qc7 because 22.e6 b5 leads to mate after 23.Qh5+.

21.Rhf1 Rf8 22.Qh5+ Rf7 23.Bb3 g6 24.Qxg6 Nf8 

Now Giles abruptly ended the struggle:

White to play
25.Nc7+! Qxc7 26.Qxf7+

 In the face of 26 . . . Bf7 27 Bf7 mate, Browne gave up.



Frederick Rhine said...

That is terrible news. Morris was an extremely strong player and a very nice man. He played in quite a few tournaments that I directed at the Chicago Chess Center in the late '70s and early '80s. He won most of them.

Albert Chow said...

R.I.P. Master Morris Giles. It was an honor and privilege to know and play a true gentleman and Chicago champion with a winning style from the Fischer era.