Ah, if only they came up with writers of the calibre of Potter nowadays. But nostalgia is an easy trap to fall into. And I couldn’t resist it myself, especially with so many memorable Roddy McKay moments over the years, as he won his eighth Scottish championship title, of remembering it was 30 years ago that he was also involved in an intriguing match with Tony Miles, who in 1976 became Britain’s first grandmaster.
In June 1983 Cathcart Chess Club arranged the match-up between their top player, McKay, and Miles, England’s top player. The four-game match, held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cathcart club, and organised by the late Alan Shaw, a Cathcart executive member and co-founder of the Chess Suppliers company, was staged at the Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow. Sponsorship was secured from Stakis for the venue and from Langs, the whisky firm. TV coverage had been promised but was usurped by Margaret Thatcher holding the General Election on the eve of the match.
No match of this status had been seen in Glasgow since Fairhurst vs. Eliskases 50 years earlier. Miles – who died in 2001, aged 46 – was world number 17 at the time, and scored a narrow victory 2.5-1.5 but McKay missed chances to equalise in the final game.
A Miles - R McKay
Langs Supreme Challenge, 1983
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0–0 6 Bf4 Bxc5 7 e3 b6 8 Nf3 Bb7 9 Rd1 Nc6 10 Be2 Rc8 11 0–0 Be7 12 h3 Na5 13 b3 d5 14 Qb2 Bb4 15 Nb5 a6 16 a3 Be7 17 Nc3 Qe8 18 Ne5 Bd6 19 cxd5 exd5 20 Ng4 Be7 21 Be5 Nxg4 22 Bxg4 f5 23 Bf3 Bxa3 24 Qxa3 Qxe5 25 Nxd5 Rb8 26 Ne7+ Kf7 27 Rd7 Ke8 28 Rfd1 Bxf3 29 gxf3 Rf7 30 R1d5 Qe6 31 Qa4 Rxe7 32 R7d6+ b5 33 Qxa5 Qc8 34 Qd2! f4 35 Kg2 fxe3 36 fxe3 Rc7 37 Qd3 g6 38 Qd4 1-0