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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 106 times; par: 32 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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!
Oct-19-14  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.

Mar-20-15  vrusimov: No opening can survive bad analysis, bad piece placement and bad tactical awareness. 1. b3 in the hands of an experienced and tactically astute player can put a player in a spot of bother...Baadur Jobava, a 2700 level player comes to mind. Questionable opening? Even Fischer deployed this opening on occasion. You don't destroy a player "quite easily" just because of the opening. That's puerile-amateurish thinking actually. You do that because you are a superior player, which Spassky was.
Mar-20-15  1d410: The opening is not questionable. It's just like playing black with a convenient fianchetto getting started.
Mar-20-15  Petrosianic: I think Mednis lists the five "Perfect" first moves c4, d4, e4, g3, and Nf3. b3 he lists as "Near Perfect".

White's opening play is dubious, but it starts to g bad after Move 1. Opening up the d file for Black, opening himself up with f4, et cetera.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It was to Larsen's credit that he rebounded after this crushing defeat to inflict his redoubtable opponent's sole loss of the year upon him: Spassky vs Larsen, 1970.
Mar-20-15  Everett: <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.>

True. Did you have anything to add to the last question I asked?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <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...>...To make the possibility even more difficult, you can add capturing on both diagonals.>

That is a good concept. Is it possible, though?

Yes! But only just.

Double move (2) single move (1) normal capture (1) to the left, ep capture (1) to the right and promotion (1). That's 6 squares, second rank to the end.

It would make a superb "Excelsior" problem!

[The last promoting move could also be a capture; so there is some leeway!]

Mar-20-15  Everett: <offramp> I look forward to your creation!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Offramp.

Saw your post and recalled a piece I wrote many many years ago about hero-pawns.

Remember your Morphy (and I think of very little else.)

The White e-pawn...

click for larger view

....and what else would you expect from Morphy.

Does the double move 1.e2-e4

Captures to the left 15.exd5

Takes enpassant 19.dxc6

Advance one square (giving check!) 20.c7

Takes to the right and promotes to a Queen. 21.cxd8.

Morphy vs Hart, 1854

And of course there is always

M.Mattos - A.Obendorfer from the Uruguayan Championship of 1997 (surprised this game is not one here!)

The White e-pawn via an en passant promotes with checkmate.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 Ne4 6.0-0 Bc5 7.Re1 f5 8.exf6 d5 9.f7+ Kf8 10.Bd3 Bf5 11.c4 h6 12.cxd5 Qxd5 13.Bxe4 Bxe4 14.Qe2 Bxf3 15.Qe8+ Rxe8 16.fxe8Q mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Geoff, that Morphy game is brilliant! That pawn does everything.
Nov-05-15  mcgee: And the finish we were denied: 14...Bxe3 15 fxe3 Rh1 16 Rxh1 g2 17 Rf1 Qh4+ 18 Rf2 g1Q+ 19 Bf1 Qxf1+ 30 Kxf1 Qh1+ and mate follows. Maybe the elusive knight, bishop, rook and queen sac game at the highest level will still occur in my lifetime. I hate the computer for seeing this though.
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