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Spassky - Larsen Candidates Semifinal Match

Boris Spassky5.5/8(+4 -1 =3)[games]
Bent Larsen2.5/8(+1 -4 =3)[games] Chess Event Description
Spassky - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1968)

The match took place in Malmö in July. Bent Larsen beat Lajos Portisch (5½-4½) in the Larsen - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1968) at Porec, Croatia in May, and Boris Spassky qualified through the Spassky - Geller Candidates Quarterfinal (1968) earlier that year.

Malmö, Sweden, 6-20 July 1968

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Spassky 1 1 1 = 0 = 1 = 5.5 Larsen 0 0 0 = 1 = 0 = 2.5

Spassky went on to win the Spassky - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1968) and the Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Rematch (1969). Larsen went on to the Larsen - Tal 3rd place Candidates Playoff (1969), from which he qualified for the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970).

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Spassky-Larsen 1968), by User: Hesam7.

 page 1 of 1; 8 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Larsen 1-0391968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
2. Larsen vs Spassky 0-1481968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalA25 English
3. Spassky vs Larsen 1-0521968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalB25 Sicilian, Closed
4. Larsen vs Spassky ½-½421968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalA25 English
5. Spassky vs Larsen 0-1381968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalC46 Three Knights
6. Larsen vs Spassky ½-½561968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalA21 English
7. Spassky vs Larsen 1-0481968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalB25 Sicilian, Closed
8. Larsen vs Spassky ½-½311968Spassky - Larsen Candidates SemifinalD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-09-13  Everett: Spassky handled Larsen with seeming ease, winning the first three, then cruising to victory in this short match.
Jul-09-15  Troller: Spassky was unstoppable in this cycle. Only in the WC match against Petrosian he can be said to have had some slight trouble.

In the Candidates he went
3-0 =5 against Geller
4-1 =3 against Larsen
4-1 =5 against Korchnoi

In all these matches he was ahead after game 1 or 2, never to let his opponent catch up.

In this semifinal he played the exchange Slav in game 1, but managed to win anyway. There may be something to the theory that Spassky would play calm lines against Larsen, waiting for him to do something reckless. In any case there is little doubt who was the strongest player here (and for that matter, in the world).

Jun-08-16  Caissanist: From a 1968 interview with Larsen by Ben Crane for Chess Life:

Crane: To what do you attribute your loss to Spassky?

Larsen: The main reason would be the way FIDE President Rogard organized this match. He did this in a way which I can only describe as scandalous. Both players and the organization were very dissatisfied. He did not even do it through the Swedish Chess Federation or the local chess club--it was just a private arrangement. I don't understand why he wanted to organize the match under these very bad economic conditions, with very bad organizers, when he could have had the match in another country under very good economic conditions for the players and their federations. The federations had to pay travel expenses and everything. The first prize in this match was 1000 Swiss francs, or a little more than 200 dollars. Both Spassky and I were very depressed by this. We had a meeting with Rogard the evening before the match started and he made it very clear that he thought the players should not make any money on these FIDE tournaments. If that is the way he wants it, I think he'll very soon see that the FIDE's championship is considered a kind of amateur world championship, and then other sponsors might well get the idea to arrange a professional world championship. As I see it, when there is something like a match between Spassky and me, when Rogard has, so to speak, something to sell, he should not sell it as cheaply as possible. If you consider the fact that the players probably used several months in preparation for the Candidates' tournament (the matches themselves began in April and the last one ended about the end of September), then it looks a little strange that we should have the smallest prizes possible. During that time it may be difficult for the players to make money any other way. Yugoslavia, for instance, was ready to organize the match with prizes that were much better, with all expenses paid for two persons from each side.

Jun-08-16  Everett: Larsen did a good job not answering the question, or rather gave the poor organization and prize funds experienced by <both> players as the reason for his loss.

Not convincing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: :)

It was also too hot in Denver in 1971.

What was the prize money for Denver 1971.

Bill does not mention it here.

(In 1969 Spassky won $1,400 for winning the world title. In 1972 he got $93,000 for losing it!.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Not convincing.>

No, not convincing as an excuse, but interesting that the prize funds were low specifically because Folke Rogard wanted them that way. The story we've always been told is that there wasn't much money to be had in chess until the 70's. Maybe there was.

Jun-09-16  Everett: Good point <Petrosianic>. And let me correct myself and say Spassky likely got flight and basic expenses handled by the State. Larsen likely did not. So the Dane may have a point...
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