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Bent Larsen vs Boris Spassky
"When Pawns Attack" (game of the day Jan-08-07)
USSR vs. Rest of the World (1970)  ·  Nimzo-Larsen Attack: Modern Variation (A01)  ·  0-1
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Given 104 times; par: 32 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-11-11  DrMAL: Thanx, much appreciated. I should have kept it much shorter, and left out that after much analysis that I felt objectively "Actually, 14...Rh1 IS black's third best move." It is too strong a statement with its wording, and knowing how beautiful and shocking 14...Rh1 is anyway.

When playing this game out it seemed natural to attack on the kingside. But it was even stronger to attack in the center. I still think 11...Rd3 is the best (and most shocking!) move, and I still think that although 14...Rh1 is more consistent with 11...h5 and a total shocker, 14...Bxe3 was quicker if not "better" and that Spassky himself would have appreciated both inputs while I was busy admiring his amazing brilliance. :-)

Jul-05-11  LIFE Master AJ:
Jul-19-11  solskytz: ...Bxe3 instead of ...Rh1 is a typical computer move.

Delicate and unoffensive, but simply tears the W position to shreds - whether the B is taken (creating a wall on the D-file for the white King) or not (so it can participate in weaving the net against the King in another way...)

Heavy material losses are imperative... it's so hard to see (to almost quote a favorite song - which one?) but so insidious in its influence.

...Rh1 is a typical forcing and aesthetic human move - you always examine a flashy move like this...

but to see ...Bxe3 - Mon Dieu ! ! ! sometimes you simply want to be a computer, n'est-ce pas?

Jul-19-11  solskytz: Much to learn from posters such as DrMal. A genuine strong player, with clarity of vision and thinking, knowledge of a lot of ideas, and sheer strength.

He also uses Rybka, but always lets you know when he does and when he doesn't.

If I were you I wouldn't spend so much time explaining why I said this or that, or apologizing... just keep contributing. I'm happy that you do, and sometimes I manage to learn something.

Jul-20-11  LIFE Master AJ: (see my forum)

User <Ghuzultyy> told me that he liked my work. (My web page - with my analysis of this game.)

This motivated me to re-do the web page ... the copyright date had not been changed since 2006. I also found a few errors in grammar, busted links, etc. (Fixed it!)

See my last post ... for a link to the web page!

Jul-23-11  LIFE Master AJ:

Re-did my web page ... one more time ... hopefully now all the links and verbiage are corrected.

Also added a free counter to the page ... the old one had stopped working.

Aug-12-11  DrMAL: Merci Itzhak, and thanx for your website too (the intro is a personal favorite classical piano masterpiece).

I learned to put "trollers" on IGNORE. IDK if Bxe3 was a computer move or not, it seemed at first more natural to attack from the flank but then even stronger to just blast through white's center.

In the past I used engines for mainly an opponent and had recently bought Rybka for better verification. Since it's scandal I switched to Houdini it's free and seems even more powerful. To use any engine properly, one needs to understand chess well anyway, seems like you do too!

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: What a disaster-hit.
Sep-01-11  hedgeh0g: 12...h4!! was a stroke of pure genius. Spassky must have already envisioned the end of the game when he played it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 6.Nf5!? Rybka vs Fruit, 2008
Oct-20-11  DrMAL: <FSR: 6.Nf5!?> This game is worth revisit it is has unusual opening and historically fabulous play by Spassky, instructive at many levels from basic development lesson (K safety matters, as do getting pieces into game practically all W pieces remain spectators) to various attacking technique (flank vs. center both are good with potentially spectacular finishes).

Move 5.Nd4?! was already provocative Larsen, one of world top players then ignores fundamental rule and moves piece twice without necessity very early in game. In doing so, white is asking for trouble from 5...e4! very strong move played. 6.Nf5!? seems to underline error making third move with same piece, but this actually computes as best move, probably because f5 is extremely strong square for white N in general and, more importantly in specifics here, alternative 6.Nxc6 loses one tempo (3 vs. 2 after re-take). Thanx for reference to Rybka game.

I think maybe there is bit too much hyperbole around attack, Spassky played great plan beforehand to castle long, making B on b2 not dangerous. Idea of flank attack with 11...h5 is obvious, not to detract from Spassky it is great and clearly strong move but also basic technique. White K is in center so idea of center attack is also quite obvious, especially with P on d2 but not as clear-cut. In fact Houdini computes 11...Rxd2! sac as best, probably already winning, maybe both moves are already decisive. Once Spassky decided on flank, with 12.g3? instead of obvious 12.h4 to best defend 12...h4! was extremely strong, winning.

Some credit for gorgeous finish should go to Larsen, his unusually bad play made it all the more possible, particularly 13.hxg4? follow-up to artificial threat of 12.g3? this awful plan set up entire timelessly brilliant combination Spassky played.

Dec-10-11  rilkefan: <<FSR>: Any of those - more than two pieces>

Amusingly I read this far and wrote a reply in my head - what if ...Rh1 won two pawns - a decisive edge at this level?

Anyway I'm sympathetic to <Dr. Mal>'s stance here. Form ever follows function.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Pawns can move in 5 different ways. In this game the h-pawn does 4 of them.

click for larger view

A double-move, 11...h7-h5

click for larger view

A single move, 12...h5-h4

click for larger view

A capture, 13...hxg3

click for larger view

A promotion, 17...gxf1Q+

click for larger view

The other move a pawn can make is an en passant capture.

In all my many years I have never come across a game where a single pawn has made all five different moves...

May-31-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Larsen vs Spassky, 1970.
Your score: 47 (par = 32)


Aug-29-12  Everett: <offramp: Pawns can move in 5 different ways. In this game the h-pawn does 4 of them... In all my many years I have never come across a game where a single pawn has made all five different moves...>

What an interesting and cool observation. To make the possibility even more difficult, you can add capturing on both diagonals.

This gets me thinking. Is there a game out there that has every single possible chess rule expressed in it? I'm guessing no, if only because four promotions in one game are nigh impossible to find, but the game would have to have the following:

-Castling on opposite wings
-The prevention of castling at certain moments
-Rooks moving in all four directions of different lengths -Bishops moving in all four directions of different lengths -Queens moving as bishops and rooks above
-Knights moving in all directions
-Pawn moves as <offramp> listed above -Finishes in mate or stalemate (can't be both, but this can perhaps be shown in a variation) - etc.

In this game, one would not learn that rooks can move horizontally, or that queens can move like a rook, or that bishops can move backwards, or that k-side castling is possible, etc. It's an interesting find to catch a game that fulfills as many rules as possible... I wonder in how few games we kibitzers can demonstrate all the rules at the board...

Jul-03-13  leka: Dear DrMal after 11..Rxd2! a Houdini move.Please give us a deeper analysis move moves how the black can win.Let us check this 11...Rxd2!? 12.Knightxd2! Be3 13.Qc3?! Rd8 but where is the black win.All the people give us the computer analysis the moves after 11...Rxd2
Jul-03-13  RookFile: White's play was bad, there's no other way to say it. He starts out with an extra move, and by move 11 we're arguing over which is the best winning move for black. It is so bad that white has the problem that black usually has - a lovely queen's bishop that has a pretty view, but actually does nothing.
Sep-03-13  Lambda: <This gets me thinking. Is there a game out there that has every single possible chess rule expressed in it?>

Expressing checkmate, stalemate, the 50 move rule etc. in the same game would be difficult.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kinghunt: Just as an interesting comment on how far engines have come... Stockfish finds 14. Rh1! in literally less than a second.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: Without even attempting to read any of the 9 pages of comments first (Well its late, and ive just penned an ode to an LM!) i think 9.f4 is terrible. Ive only been through the game once, although i have before a few times, but Im really surprised Larsen didnt quit chess immediately after the game, haha! Well in my patzing opinion this is atrocious from white, I know this games a classic, popular, well known, and it takes two players to make a great game, but thats why i dont think it is a great game....One of the participants played so so sooooo poor, and black did what you would expect of any self respecting super GM. Pounce on the blunders, and made his opponent pay. :-)
Oct-28-13  Baura: I was living in Italy when this game was played in nearby Yugoslavia. I went down to the local chess club the day after and someone had the game score, and was going over it on a board surrounded by local players. I recall the feeling that Spassky's moves looked like optical illusions.
Oct-28-13  Isilimela: Great game by Spassky. But what on earth did Larsen think he was doing with Nf3, d4 , c6. As indicated by <Dr Mal> all he did was swap a piece that moved 3 times for one that moved once ?? And opened the d file for good measure.The position after 7 ... Bf5 just looks plain uncomfortable for white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: Can we at least agree that 1. b3 is a questionable opening? I played it once against a much weaker player than Spassky, but that's not saying much. Anyone of Spassky's strength should be able demolish white quite easily, especially if the player is supposed to be an expert in the very opening they are playing!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <PhilFeeley: Can we at least agree that 1. b3 is a questionable opening? >


Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: Sadler did much better with it here:

Sadler vs Kudrin, 1988

I guess he had the cooperation of his opponent.

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