Korchnoi vs Miles

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Viktor Korchnoi vs Anthony Miles (0-1)

Tilburg 1985

One of the most famous and controversial physical injury incidents ever was Tony Miles’ back problem at Tilburg 1985.

A couple of rounds into the super-tournament, Miles felt his back give way as he sat at the board.

This was a recurrence of an old spinal problem from which he had suffered intermittently since his youth.

This attack proved far worse than normal, however, and he found that the only position he could assume which did not result in acute spasms of pain was lying flat.

Just when it seemed he would have to withdraw from the tournament, a solution was found which involved his playing his games whilst lying flat on his stomach on a massage table, placed next to the board. It created a rather irregular appearance in the tournament room, but from Miles’ viewpoint, it enabled him to play pain-free.

There would probably have been no more than a few jokes made about it had it not been for the fact that he suddenly started winning games, one after the other!

There had to be an explanation for this, of course, and so several players filed a written complaint, saying that Miles’ appearance was distracting his opponents.

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