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Portisch - Larsen Candidates Quarterfinal 1977
Compiled by Tabanus
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For this match, Larsen qualified from the Biel Interzonal (1976). Portisch qualified from the Varese Interzonal Playoff (1976) that followed after Biel. The three other quarterfinals were Spassky - Hort Candidates Quarterfinal (1977), Polugaevsky - Mecking Candidates Quarterfinal (1977) & Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal (1977). Each match was of 12 games and the first to achieve 6,5 points would be the winner. If after 12 games there was no winner, then two more games would be played. If there was still no winner then the procedure would be repeated until there was one.1, 2 No provision had been made if there never was a winner, but then the matches presumably would have been decided by natural causes.1 The matches were held in order to select a challenger for Anatoly Karpov, the World Champion.

The match was organized by Rotterdam Schaakbond, in a cooperation with VVV Rotterdam and the newspaper Het Vrije Volk.3 The playing venue was De Doelen4 in Rotterdam (Netherlands) where the games started at 1 pm. Entrance fee: 5 guilders (pass: 25 guilders).5 The four quarterfinal matches were connected via a telex machine, and the moves displayed on big screens, and commentated by Cornelis van Wijgerden and Hans Bohm, according to plan.6 Rein Dijk was Tournament Director. Main arbiter: IA Armin Heintze (president of the DDR Chess Federation 1964-1978), assisted by IA Arthur Schuering of Rotterdam.7 The official opening took place on Friday 25 February, in the Burgerzaal of the City Hall. The players were welcomed by alderman Johan de Jong. Heintze showed the venue to the players, who preferred and soon agreed on a more spacious chess board and table.8 Larsen had arrived the same day without any second, whereas Portisch had brought Gyozo Victor Forintos with him.8, 9 The two had met before in the Larsen - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1968).

Brass band helps Portisch to World chess victory reported The Times after game 1.10 The clock had been started at 1:03 pm, Larsen arrived 1:10 pm, and the ceremonial opening move had been made by Catharina Roodzant. An hour later the players were disturbed by Salvation Army music from a hall near by. The game had to be stopped, and moved to a room in a building at Mathenesserlaan, where the deputy tournament director Cees van der Waal was employed.9 Here the game was adjourned in an equal position at move 41. There was no food or drink, and van der Waal bought a kilo of cheese for the players to satisfy the worst of their hunger. Play was resumed in De Doelen the next day (a Sunday). Larsen did not find the best continuation (46.h4) of his attack and lost. He was upset, but later in the evening one could hear him typewriting his report to the newspaper Ekstrabladet.9

Handshake before game 2: http://www.gahetna.nl/collectie/afb...

Game 2 was a short draw. The organizers had done everything possible to prevent disturbances, and Larsen joked before game 3 that he now wanted to play without any "illegal music".11 The pianist Arie Keizer had, however, managed to enter a sealed room and find a piano. He was immediately told that he was not welcome until after 6:30 pm.12 Portisch lost a pawn, and the game, after a long endgame the following day. Game 4 was on Larsen's birthday. He sacked a bishop for pawns, but Portisch did not return the present. Game 5 was postponed for one day due to a sudden change of venue (still in De Doelen) which the players had not been informed about. When they arrived to play they could not agree on the light settings.13 In game 6, Larsen blundered a pawn and later lost. His wife had arrived to Rotterdam early that morning.14 Game 7 was postponed for two days because Portisch was sick.15 Larsen won (possibly one of his best games). Portisch asked for two days postponement again before game 8, and now he won.16 After a draw in game 9, Larsen blundered again in game 10 (15...c5), lost the exchange, and the match.

De Doelen (Rotterdam) 26 February - 26 March 1977

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts Prizes17 1 GM Portisch 2625 1 ˝ 0 1 ˝ 1 0 1 ˝ 1 6˝ 12,500 2 GM Larsen 2615 0 ˝ 1 0 ˝ 0 1 0 ˝ 0 3˝ 7,500

Portisch advanced to the Spassky - Portisch Candidates Semifinal (1977). After the match was over, Larsen went straight to Geneva (1977) by train.17

NOTES 1) Harry Golombek in The Times 19 February 1977 p. 9. 2) Tidskrift för Schack vol. 83/2 p. 46. 3) Het Vrije Volk 8 February 1977 p. 2. 4) Wikipedia article: De Doelen. 5) Het Vrije Volk 23 Feb. 1977 p. 6. 6) Het Vrije Volk 21 Feb. 1977 p. 20. 7) Het Vrije Volk 24 Feb. 1977 p. 8. 8) Het Vrije Volk 26 Feb. 1977 p. 10. 9) Het Vrije Volk 28 Feb. 1977 p. 22. 10) The Times 28 Feb. 1977 p. 5. 11) De Telegraaf 1 March 1977 p. 15. 12) Het Vrije Volk 3 March 1977 p. 11. 13) Het Vrije Volk 8 March 1977 p. 7. 14) Het Vrije Volk 12 March 1977 p. 11. 15) Het Vrije Volk 14 March 1977 p. 21. 16) Het Vrije Volk 21 March 1977 p. 19. 17) Het Vrije Volk 28 March 1977 p. 23. Prizes are in Dutch guilders.

Original collections: Game Collection: WCC Index (Portisch-Larsen 1977) by User: nescio, Game Collection: 0 by User: TheFocus and Game Collection: Portisch - Larsen Candidates Quarterfinal 1977 by User: Tabanus. Thanks to User: jessicafischerqueen for trying to improve the English.

Game 1 Feb 26
Larsen vs Portisch, 1977 
(B25) Sicilian, Closed, 66 moves, 0-1

Game 2 Feb 28
Portisch vs Larsen, 1977
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3 March 2
Larsen vs Portisch, 1977 
(B47) Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation, 86 moves, 1-0

Game 4 March 4
Portisch vs Larsen, 1977 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 80 moves, 1-0

Game 5 March 8
Larsen vs Portisch, 1977
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 77 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 6 March 11
Portisch vs Larsen, 1977 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 51 moves, 1-0

Game 7 March 16
Larsen vs Portisch, 1977 
(C69) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 64 moves, 1-0

Game 8 March 21
Portisch vs Larsen, 1977
(A21) English, 54 moves, 1-0

Game 9 March 23
Larsen vs Portisch, 1977
(C69) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 63 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 10 March 26
Portisch vs Larsen, 1977 
(E62) King's Indian, Fianchetto, 30 moves, 1-0

10 games

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