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Bent Larsen vs Ljubomir Ljubojevic
Milan (1975), Milan ITA, rd 2, Aug-21
Benoni Defense: Classical Variation. Czerniak Defense Tal Line (A77)  ·  0-1


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Given 25 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <LIFE Master AJ: And as you can see, after three years, I finally figured out how to make a diagram ... it only took a couple of years.> Actually, the ability the post FEN diagrams has only been available for less than a year (I think Sept/Oct of 2005).
May-12-06  belka: <WOW, I found this and not a Master.(No Offence) I think in some of these positions, the better the player the worst off. Patzers always think obvious, while masters think deeply and sometimes miss the obvious. Any views on this?>

Congrats on finding the solution, but I don't think "obvious" is what I'd use to describe any part of this answer. :)

I actually find that Rc2, deflecting the queen so that Black can attack h2 using the Be5 superficially more promising. As soon as I noticed Qh4 left the Bishop undefended, I was looking to deflect the queen. I find that the Bishop on e5 is more obviously an attacking piece than the Rook on c8 -- even though because of the back rank, it's actually the opposite.

Perhaps what you mean to say is that a weaker player might not be able to deal with and work out continuations to the defensive ideas of h3, Qc8+, and even Rxf7+. He might give up without working out a win after Rc2.

This might be true, but I don't know. It's more complicated by the fact that in this Rc2 line, despite Qc8+ as an defensive resource, Black still can get through. And if you can calculate that, then it's a tempting line.

May-12-06  LIFE Master AJ: < <Warrush> Any views on this? >

I SAW the possibility of ...Qh4, but dismissed it immediately, as soon as I also saw QxB/e5.

If had looked one move deeper, I might have found the solution ... but it was far from obvious. (I think many posters here confuse their machine's problem solving ability with their own.) Certainly it would be interesting to test you - under rigorously controlled conditions - to see how many difficult puzzles you could solve on your own. (I have a test of 50 problems to do exactly that.) One young man - about 25 - rated himself at 2000 ... or better. But after missing the first 10 problems in a row, I informed him that below 1100 was a much more realistic assessment of his chess strength. (The problems get progressively harder.)

I also got caught up in ...Rc2. The analysis of that took at least 5-10 minutes, but I may have been there alot longer. I glanced at the clock, (when I started); but lost track of things as I worked out the analysis.

IF I could not have found the solution, then I may have been forced to go back and look again. But once I found ...Rc2 and I was relatively sure that it was winning, there was no need to go back, as I thought that I had correctly worked out the solution.

I also work ONLY from the diagram on the screen. I DON'T set up a chess board and pieces ... as so many of you have told me that you do. (This is good discipline, and will serve you well of you ever play in a tournament.)

May-12-06  LIFE Master AJ: < <YouRang> "Actually, the ability the post FEN diagrams has only been available for less than a year (I think Sept/Oct of 2005)." >

Thanks, I feel a little better ...

May-12-06  LIFE Master AJ: GM L. Ljubojevic was a real talent, many predicted that he would win the world title when he was very young.

At one time, he was easily in the top ten in the world. (

While perhaps not a "forgotten player," about three years ago, I was at a youth tournament in New Orleans with one of my students. A group of younger players and I started talking. One player asked about "favorite players," and I explained to them that many of the players that I admired when I was a youth were no longer in the top 100. When asked to give a few examples, Ljubojevic was one of the players that I mentioned, even a parent there (who worked as a chess coach) did not know who Ljubojevic was.

Maybe I will do a web page on him one day.

May-12-06  Halldor: Yes, Ljubo is memorable, inventive and lively player. I remember him at the World Cup tournament in Reykjavik 1991. He usually got into severe timetrouble, grabbing his hair or gnawing his nails, swinging his hands over the board up and down whithout touching the pieces, hesitating, either staring at the position or at the ticking clock... Of course he then got all the attention of the audience!
Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: dzechiel: Missed it. I went with 28...Rc2 line. The text looks much, much better.

This is one really pretty combination. Larsen must have really been surprised when Ljubojevic played 28...Qh4!

May-12-06  weisyschwarz: Yeah, I went with my first instinct, namely 26...Rc1. Ooops.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: For the record I found this very quickly.
May-13-06  blitzkriege: Before alleging that other posters are using computers, one should think twice. It is very much possible that someone hits upon the solution of one puzzle very quickly, while labouring over other comparatively simpler ones. When one has to check with Fritz that after 26... Rc2, 27. Qxc2 is the ONLY move keeping in mind that the other candidate move leaves mate in 3, it is best to not comment on others' abilities.

For the record, I did not get this puzzle :)

May-13-06  avidfan: In the final position White still loses if 28.Rg1 Bxg2+ 29.Rxg2 Rc1+ 30.Rg1 Q/Rxg1#
May-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: <blitzkriege:> "Before alleging ... "

I said it once, and I will say it again. A lot of the kibitzers here are confusing their computer's abilities with those of their own.

I have lost track of the number of times people have said, "Oh. I solved that in about 5-10 seconds." (Or even claimed that they did it instantly.)

The most recent example was Ermenkov-Kovacevic. Several posters claimed the "solution was easy" and that they got it right away. It turned out that the line actually played was nowhere near best, and and the analysis of the key positions continues to amaze this kibitzer, as well as <RandomVisitor> and <patzer2>.

If you want, e-mail me. I will give you a list of about ten pages. Full of tough problems, ones I usually missed. And full of guys who claimed that they got the solution right away. And in about half of these, computer analysis clearly reveals that the line actually played in the game was nowhere near the best ...

Jun-02-06  LIFE Master AJ: A former student of mine wrote to ask why not 28.Rg1. (He thought that this was a defense that would save White.)

Probably the simplest solution is 28...QxP/g2+; 29.Rxg2, Rc1+; etc. (And I don't need a computer to check this one.)

Jun-14-08  Extremophile: I think the move that deserves the real attention is the quiet 25...♖c8!!
Dec-07-08  ax2kool: wow monster moves made by larsen towards the end and that's a deadly bishop pair
Aug-06-09  LIFE Master AJ: What an unbelievable combination!!!
Aug-07-09  Albertan: Ljubojevic was severely criticized by Kasparov in a video I saw online. Kasparov said that Ljubojevic could have been a much stronger player if Ljubojevic had taken time to study his own games in detail and put the analysis in a book. Kasparov is of the opinion that the best way to improve your understanding and knowledge of chess, is to do a very detailed study of the games you have played in your life.
Aug-07-09  Albertan: At the time of this game the move 13...c4 was a theoretical novelty. Before this game the only moves which had been played on move 13 for black were 13...Qc7 and 13...h5.

According to Deep Rybka 3, Larsen could have made Ljubojevic's game much more difficult if he had played 17.Nd6 instead of 17.Nxe5. For example 17.Nd6 17... Rf8 18. Ncxb5 Bb7 19. Nxb7 Rxb7 20. d6 exf4 21. Bxf4 Qb6 and Deep Rybka 3 evaluates that Ljubojevic has insufficient compensation for the pawn.

In addition, Deep Rybka 3 evaluates that the move 18.Nc6 would have been better than the move Larsen played, that being 18.Nb5. This 18.Nc6 line involves an exchange sacrifice involving the Black queen: 18.Nc6 bxc3!? 19.Nxd8 cxb2 20.Bxb2 Rxb2 21.Ne6 !? fxe6 22.dxe6 Nf8 23.Bc4 Bxe6 24.Rb1 Rxb1 25.Bxe6+ Nxe6 26.Qxb1 and black lacks sufficient compensation for the pawn.

Deep Rybka 3 gave the move 20.Bc4 a superior evaluation to Larsen's 20.Bf4 A fascinating variation the program generated involving 20.Bc4 is this one:

20. Bc4 Bg4 21. Qb3 Nxd5 22. Qg3 Bd7 23. Nd6 Qc7 24. Rxf7 Qxd6 25. Ra6!? Qxa6 26. Rxg7+ !? Kf8!? (If 26... Kxg7 27. Qxe5+ Qf6 28. Qxb8 Qd4=) 27. Bxa6 Rbe8 28. Bd2 Kxg7 29. Kg1 Bf5 with sufficient compensation for the pawn.

The move 24.Bxd5? was Larsen's undoing in this game. Deep Rybka 3 gives 24.g3 as best with a possible continuation being 24...Ne3 25.Bxe6!? Nxf1 26.Rxf1 fxe6 27.Nd6!? Rf8 (If 27...Bxd6 then 28.Qxe6+ Kg7 29.Qxd6 Qd8 is equal). 28.Rd1 Rd8 and white has sufficient compensation for the pawn).

The move 25.Ra5?? was a blunder.
Deep Rybka 3 evaluated that the move 25.Rf2 was best with a possible continuation being: 25. Rf2 Rxb5 26. Qxb5 Qh5 27. h3 Qxh3+!? 28. Kg1 Qh5 29.Qd3 Qh2+ 30. Kf1 (the only move) Qh1+ 31. Ke2 (the only move) Qxa1 32. Qxd5 Qxb2+ 33. Kf1 Qb1+

Aug-18-09  LIFE Master AJ: <Albertan>
It took a while, but I fianlly got around to looking at some of your analysis with my own computer.

Good job! [Just don't be too rough on the players, PC's did not even exist (yet) when this game was played.]

Aug-25-09  Albertan: Albertan: <LIFE Master AJ: <Albertan> It took a while, but I finally got around to looking at some of your analysis with my own computer.

Good job! [Just don't be too rough on the players, PC's did not even exist (yet) when this game was played.]>

Thanks for your kind words AJ .Computers rarely get in time trouble, I have a feeling in this game GM Larsen must have been in some pretty serious time trouble. Yes you are right, sorry about that :)

"The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake." (Savielly Tartakover)

Aug-29-09  LIFE Master AJ: <Albertan> You are very welcome! :)
Aug-30-10  sevenseaman: ..26. Qh4 is the best decoy I've ever seen ( I've seen Reshevesky make the same maneuver since). It looked like it was a sudden brainwave, but fantastic!
Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: Black to move and win - see diagram

click for larger view

26...Qh4!! (threatening ...Qxh2# and faster than 26...Rc2!) - see below:

a) 27. h3 Qxh3+, 28 Kg1 Bd4+, 29. Rf2/Qf2 Qxg2#

b) 27. Qxe5 Qf2! (threatening ...Qxf1# or ...Qxg2#), 28. Rg1 (forced) Qxg2+, 29. Rxg2 Rc1+, 30. Qe1 (forced) Rxe1#

Key tactics are pinning and decoying.



Mar-17-18  Saniyat24: wow, Tal-like bold play by Ljubojevic..."Ljubo Bent on Hara-Kiri". :P
Jun-27-18  Ratt Boy: This hasn't been named GOTD yet? "Bent over." "Get Bent." "Bent, Broken."
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