(1928 - 2000)

Guy Miller, standing 2nd from right, Ladysmith 1956 (photo courtesy Mrs Churton)
From left: Brookes, Earp, Levy, Van Voorst, Boulle, Miller, Claudius; Front: Wallis, Churton

Guy Miller was a young farmer from Newcastle who burst on to the Durban chess scene in 1956. He won the Reserve section of the Durban championship in 1956, and then won the Durban title in 1957, going undefeated in both events.

Miller only played twice in the Championship section. In 1957 he finished with the very fine score of 10 out of 11, ahead of multiple title winners Mackessack, Kolnik and Blackburn. He came joint 2nd on defending his title in 1958, scoring 6½ out of 10, which was 3 points behind the redoubtable Kolnik!

In June 1959 Miller was invited to the South African championships and was the surprise leader after the first week, on 5½ out of 7. He then lost to Moss Kolnik in round 8 and slumped to 7½ out of 13 in the end. I am told that he was hospitalised for a while, after his mental collapse in this event. Guy took a lengthy break from the game.

Then the South African Chessplayer reported that Miller won the OFS Open held in Sasolburg at the end of 1964 and that he also won the 1965 OFS Open, held in October in Bloemfontein. In July 1966 he took part in the SA Open held in Durban, scoring 6½ points from his 11 games. Shortly thereafter he disappeared and his family imagined the worst.

It turned out that Guy had gone to Europe to play chess and he only returned to South Africa about 4 years later. He suffered from mental illness, staying at Valkenberg hospital and Town Hill hospital for many years. My thanks go to his nephew for helping me tell this sad story.


Here is a selection of games. Game 1 is the first game I could find between Miller and Kolnik, where Miller came within inches of a first round upset at the 1956 Natal Open. Game 2 vs Kolnik effectively decided the 1957 Durban championships. Then in game 3 Miller won the best game prize at the 1958 Eastern Province Open.

Several more games can be found in South African Chessplayer but these were mostly losses by Miller.

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