The size of his hope

Nobody ever imagine how much optimism and passion that Danish had in his soul. His name was Bent Larsen, and he could have been anything he liked in this life. He, fortunately, chose chess.

He died in the twenty-first century, but touched the skies in the 20 th and played as played in the nineteenth. That is, not afraid of anything, risking the game and pride just to knock down the opponent’s king. The name Larsen means blood .

The Nordic had a very personal way to understand the game. For him, it was a generous war but till death and he faced it with a bizarre spirit, which earned him the love of public and colleagues. He was original at all costs, and was also a fan of unused openings (like the one of the Bishop or the Viennese), and never accepted fashion lines or the help of a coach.

Larsen saw the game only through Larsen’s eyes. He had plenty of talent, ambition, strength, and the romantic chess of his predecessors could be seen, nostalgically and perennially, in each of his moves. That chess contaminated him since he was twelve, when a thorough study of the King’s Gambit came to his hands.

It did not take long for him to become Thisted´s best chess player, his hometown, and at 19 he also became Denmark’s national champion. Thus, exploding bombs in every tournament he attended, he broke through in awe of the universe, which ended kneeled at his feet in Moscow 56 Olympics, when he finished as the best first board (8.5 of 11) ahead of the formidable monarch Mikhail Botvinnik. Then, FIDE (French acronym of World Chess Federation) awarded him the title of Grand Master.

Then … then he started winning tournaments, dealing as wild bull against the prodigious Soviet school and the equally portentous Bobby Fischer, although he invariably lost each and every one of the Candidates Matches in which he was involved and so, the dream of reaching the to of the universe was gradually fading.

However, Caissa never forgets Larsen. That aggressive game finished off by a fine technique and sacrifices of other times, does not deserve to be forgotten. As there can be omissions with his immortal book ¨Playing to Win¨, a distinctive manifest of his position against drawing without fighting.

He was a highly educated genius , a surprising polyglot and a delicious manner man; his rivals always spoke glowingly on him. Lev Polugaevsky, a great player, said this: “He had a style of his own, and played the openings of the romantics in a modern way. He attacked and defended with equal skill. His game denotes a broad chess culture and a willingness to fight. Larsen was a great lover of chess, he read all innovative publications and always made theoretical discoveries which he applied at major tournaments looking to surprise their opponents. “

He made ​​a few jewels, but the best of all was conceived at the expense of universal monarch Tigran Petrosian in the memorable 1966 Santa Monica tournament, in a Sicilian defense capable of satisfying the most rigorous gourmet of chess boards.

White: B. Larsen. Black: T. Petrosian

e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. B e3 Bg7 6. c4 Nf6 7. Nc3 Ng4 8. Qxg4 Nxd4 9. Qd1 Ne6 10. Qd2 d6 11. Be2 Bd7 12. 0-0 0-0 13. Rad1 Bc6 14. Nd5 Re8?! (it was better 14…Nc5) 15. f4 Nc7 16. f5! Na6

Petrosian wants to take this knight to the strong point of e5, but the plan is too slow.

17. Bg4!? (b4 was even stronger, but Larsen has another idea)

17 … Nc5 18. fxg6 hxg6 19. Qf2 Rf8 20. e5!

Much better than the tempting move 20. Bxc5 dxc5 21. Nf6 + Bxf6 22. Rxd8 Raxd8 with enough compensation; to understand the depth of Larsen’s idea we should take into account the variant: 20. Qh4 Bxd5 21. Rxd5 e6, with good positioning for black pieces.

20 … Bxe5 21. Qh4! Bxd5 22. Rxd5 Ne6? (The difference with the previous parentheses is that if now 22 … e6 23. Qxd8 Rfxd8 24. Rxe5 dxe5 25. Bxc5, and the two bishops are worthier than a rook) 23. Rf3!

23 … Bf6? (It could be better 23 … f5 24. Rh3 Ng7!) 24. Qh6 Bg7 (white pieces coordination is perfect to finish with an explosive combination) 25. Qxg6!

25…Nf4 (25…fxg6 would lead to what happened in the game; and if 25…Nc7 26. Qxg7+!! Kxg7 27. Rg5+ Kh8 28. Rh3 checkmate) 26. Rxf4 fxg6 27. Be6+ Rf7 (or 27…Kh7 28. Rh4+ Bh6 29. Bxh6 Rf5 30. Rxf5 gxf5 31. Bxf5+ Kg8 32. Be6+ Kh7 33. Bf7!, and there is nothing better that 33…Qb6+ 34. Kf1 Qd4 35. Rxd4 Kxh6 36. Ke2, with decisive advantage) 28. Rxf7 Kh8 29. Rg5! b5 30. Rg3!


THE PHRASE: ” The stomach is an essential part of chess master.” Bent Larsen.

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