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Bent Larsen vs Eugenio Torre
Leningrad Interzonal (1973), Leningrad URS, rd 4, Jun-07
English Opening: Great Snake Variation (A10)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: 81.f6?? throws away the win, White can't make any progress after Black's next series of accurate moves.
Jul-11-04  WMD: On move 20. White had the tempting combinative possibility: 20.Nb5 intending 20...cxb5 21.Rxe7 Rxe7 22.Bxd5+ Kg7 23.Bxa8. Alas, it fails to 23...Re1+ and the Q on g5 drops.
Feb-20-05  aw1988: f6+?? Oh dear. :(
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Actually Larsen missed the win on move 72. He needed to be alert to give up a pawn and set up a Lucena position. He should have played 72. Re5+! and then black has to choose on which side of the board to misplace his king. If 72...Kd7 73.Kf3 and black cannot stop Kg4-Kg5 and f5-f6. If 72...Kf6 73.Kd3! Rxf4 74.Re1 and wins because the black king is cut off. It reaches a Lucena after 74...Ra4 75.c6 Ra6 76.Rc1! Ra8 77.Kc4 Ke6 78.Rd1! followed by Kb5-Kb6 and c6-c7 (Soltis, in "Grandmaster Secrets: Endings"). Larsen needed a win to qualify for the candidates matches. Ouch!
Jul-29-08  Boomie: The position after 64. Kxh4 is a tablebase win. After noodling around without much effect, 81. f6+? creates the first drawn position. Torre played this endgame very well. If Larsen could have played endgames as well as Torre, he might have got that shot at the title.

Best play after 64...Ke6 according to Nalimov is:

65. Rf5 Kf6 66. Kg4 Rf2 67. Rf5 Ke6 68. Rh5 Re2 69. Rh6 Kd5 70. c6 Rg2+ 71. Kf5 Rg7 72. Kf6 Rc7 73. Kg5 Kd4 74. f5 Rg7+ 75. Kf4 Kg5 76. f6 Rf7 77. Kf5 Kxc6 78. Kg6 Rd7 79. f7 etc.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: More from Soltis... Larsen missed the win again when he played 78.Rc7. He had 78.Kg5! Rxc5 79.Kg6! and black loses because he can't reach a Philidor position because of his misplaced rook. 79...Rc1 80.Rh8+ Ke7 81.f6+ Ke6 82.Re8+ Kd7 83.f7 winning.

Disastrous day for Larsen!

Jul-29-08  RookFile: Well, you can't really complain about his 78th move if he still has an 81st move that wins.
Jul-30-08  Boomie: <Fusilli> There's a free 6 piece tablebase at Soltis et al didn't have this resource.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thanks <Boomie>, looks really cool.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Larsen needed a win to qualify for the candidates matches. Ouch!>

He missed qualifying by a lot more than a half-point, as I recall. Also, was this game played in the fourth round, as the scoresheet seems to indicate?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Fusilli: <keypusher: ... He missed qualifying by a lot more than a half-point, as I recall. Also, was this game played in the fourth round, as the scoresheet seems to indicate?>

You are right, it was the fourth round, I didn't notice that when I kibitzed earlier (I just confirmed it was the fourth round by looking here: I took that comment from Soltis, who may have been trying to embellish his book, or just got it wrong. Apologies.

(In Soltis' defense, notice that he did not say--and I did not post--that it was a last round game... Still quite misleading to say that Larsen needed a win, though).

Premium Chessgames Member
  egilarne: Larsen wasn't even close to qualifying in the Leningrad interzonal 1973. He ended up with 10 points after 17 rounds, and needed 12,5 to become equal 3rd with Robert Byrne.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <fusilli> Oh, thanks, I hadn't found the games from that tournament when I looked on the site before! I think this is the right link though.

That site really is something.

Aug-26-08  Poulsen: <Boomie><If Larsen could have played endgames as well as Torre, he might have got that shot at the title.> Actually Larsen played endgames as well as anyone - this was not a weak spot by him.

Personally I like this endgame from his late years: L Schandorff vs Larsen, 1994.

The endgame in Larsen vs Polugaevsky, 1966 is very well known - and both players thought to have winning chances to the very end. I don't know, who was right, but Larsen won.

Also famous is Petrosian vs Larsen, 1966, where the reigning WCh got squeezed. Of course it could be argued, that this never became an endgame - but a late midgame.

If we are looking for a show of Larsen's basic endgame skills, we are bound to exclude games like this one: Larsen vs Geller, 1966, and perhaps even this one: Larsen vs Uhlmann, 1970, but what about this one: Larsen vs Hartston, 1972 and this one: Larsen vs Smyslov, 1972 - or more clearly this one: E Torre vs Larsen, 1975 - which at least shows, that Larsen could beat Torre in a "simple" endgame.

In any case: all of these examples - and many more could be found - shows Larsens fighting will against even the thoughest opponents.

Jul-18-09  kurtrichards: Larsen squandered his 2-pawn advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cocker: Position after 66 ... ♖c1 is quoted in Nunn's book, UCE, diagram 53b. As pointed out a long time ago by <acirce>, White had a win until 81 f6+. Black then played a sequence of seven precise moves to save the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: game sidelight..

<Larsen twice missed a win in the adjournment and was surprisingly held to a draw by Eugene.

Torre got a tremendous ovation from the gallery and received some flowers from his fans.>

Source: Leningrad Interzonal by Eugene Torre & Edgar De Castro

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: on 52.h4 according to GM Eugene Torre & Edgar De Castro..

<This is white's winning move as we had seen in our analysis. Larsen played this move very fast and we thought he had analyzed this variation quickly. He walked around the stage and smiled to some friends.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <egilarne: Larsen wasn't even close to qualifying in the Leningrad interzonal 1973.>

That proved correct in the end, though he started with 5.5 from six games, this being the blemish on an otherwise perfect start.

<Boomie: If Larsen could have played endgames as well as Torre, he might have got that shot at the title.>

Larsen was known for his technical virtuosity, so this is no more representative of his overall abilities in that phase than those endings in which Carlsen errs.

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