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Bent Larsen vs Rajko Bogdanovic
Sarajevo (1960), rd 4, Apr-??
Hungarian Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A00)  ·  1-0


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Given 9 times; par: 79 [what's this?]

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sac: 47.dxe6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: It's easy Monday and 49. Bxc5+ gives White a winning passed pawn.
Sep-13-10  ungeneral: I wonder why 50. Kxe4?

Would'nt a6 be a lot quicker?

Sep-13-10  Formula7: 49.Bxc5+ and Black has the choice between moving his king, after which White plays 50.Bxb6 to go up 2 pawns for an easy win, or taking the bishop, after which White plays 50.a5 and, remarkably, Black cannot stop the a-pawn from queening.
Sep-13-10  Waitaka: I am surprised they continued to play after 49.Bxc5+. I spoted it and did not look deeper.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: @ungeneral: The reply to 50 a6 is

50 ... Be5+

since it's with check, Black steals a tempo and can play 51 ... Bb8, stopping the pawn. The e-pawns go next, and I think Black wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: White to move (49?). Material even. "Very Easy."

The black king is too far away to stop the a-pawn's progress after

49 Bxc5+

Black has to choose here, but both options are no good. After

49...Ke8 50 Bxb6

black is totally lost. And after

49...bxc5 50 a5

the a-pawn cannot be stopped.

Time to check, but I'm sure this is the point that Bogdanovic resigned.


Hmm..., slightly more play than I thought, but white's replies are easy enough to find.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: 51...e3 was a better try for Black, because if 52.Kxe3 Be5 53.a6? Bb8 54.Ke4 Ke7 55.Kd5 Ba7 and Black draws. White wins with 53.Ke4, though: 53...Bb8 54.Kd5 etc. Since White had to see all this before playing 49.Bxc5, I'd say this was not a Monday puzzle. The first move is pretty easy to spot, but it required more than "very easy" analysis.
Sep-13-10  JG27Pyth: <ungeneral:I wonder why 50. Kxe4? Would'nt a6 be a lot quicker?>

Perhaps you meant: why not a6 instead of 52.Kxe4...

If 52.a6 Be5+ 53.Kxe5 (53.Kxe4 Bb7) e3 and the e pawn promotes

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Larsen even has the luxury of taking the e-pawn, allowing the Black King to get into the square of the a-pawn. It's all for naught, as White's own passed e-pawn also makes claims for Black's attention.
Sep-13-10  rotgut: I don't think this is really all that easy because you have to take 51..e3 into account. After that black can stop the white pawn from queening, i.e.

52.Kxe3 Be5 53.Ke4 Bb8

According to Crafty, White can then win by running down and driving off the bishop:

54.Kd5 Ke7 55.Kc6 Kxe6 56.Kb7 Bf4 57.a6 etc.

But this is not "easy" as in "two moves to a win" easy.

Sep-13-10  LIFE Master AJ: 49.BxP/c5+!, bxc5; 50.Kf3!, and the White RP cannot be stopped. (Maybe a fuzz more difficult than the average Monday puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: 48.Bxc5 and a-pawn homeruns..
Sep-13-10  SamAtoms1980: The crowd is waiting to see what Larsen will do. He.... HE SACCED THE BISHOP!!!! Now the a-pawn is shooting off down the sideline!! It's at a5! The defense has nobody in position to stop him! It's at a6!! At a7......... TOUCHDOWN!!!!! TOUCHDOWN, WHITE A-PAWN!! The tie is broken! and Larsen will walk off the field with another victory!
Sep-13-10  M.Hassan: "very easy"- White to move 49.?
Materials even

The long distance between the Black King and the a pawn may justify Bishop sac and therefore: 49.Bxc5 bxc5
50.a5 e4
51.Kf4 Ke7
52.Kxe4 Kd6
53.a6 Kc6
And either a pawn or e pawn will be promoted
Let's check

Sep-13-10  VincentL: Firstly, RIP GM Bent Larsen.

Re. the puzzle, 49. Bxc5+ wins.

If 49.... bxc5 50. a5, and black cannot get his K or B across fast enough to prevent the a pawn queening.

If 50.... e4 then 51. Kf4 (not 51. a6 Be5+ 52. Kf2 Bb8).

Time to check.

Sep-13-10  zooter: 49.Bxc5+ wins for white as the a-pawn goes through after 49...bxc5

Time to check

Sep-13-10  VincentL: <rotgut>You are right. I missed this, and I think some others did also.

<Life Master AJ>gives the best solution.

Sep-13-10  zooter: More involved than your usual Monday as 49.Bxc5+ bxc5 50.a5 e4 51.Kf4 Be5+ 52.Kxe4 Bb8 53.Kd5 wins for white
Sep-13-10  Brandon plays: Bxc5 seems like it is playable. a5 also seems like it is winning.
Sep-13-10  EXIDE: The first move that comes to mind is 49. Bxc5+ allowing the "a" pawn to Queen. However on deeper thought 51 ...,Pe3 for black requires deeper analysis. <rotgut> has provided the correct analysis. Not an easy Monday puzzle for sure.
Sep-13-10  corbinamman: <rotgut>I don't think 51...e3 has to be met with 52.Kxe3. White can let black's pawn queen first and still win with a forced mate: 52. a6 e2 53.a7 e1=Q 54. a8=Q+ Ke7 55. Qa7, and regardless of where the king runs, White's queen has a mate on d7 or f7.
Sep-13-10  macphearsome: I saw the obvious Bxc5 but honestly I had to take a closer look at the next few moves to understand black's counter-play. OTB I would have sacrificed the bishop, but I think I might have missed Kxe4. (Or AJ's Kf3!)
Sep-13-10  corbinamman: It appears black's best try is 51...e3 52. a6 e2 53.a7 Be5+! White can't capture of course b/c then black queens with check and takes control of the game. If white instead moves to g4 or f3, both pawns can queen as in my line above, but white eventually runs out of checks. Black's bishop move has opened up g2 as a flight square for the king, and he can eventually get the king to h2 and block further checkks with Bg2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: And why not?

As the chess world says goodbye to one of its greats, it is perhaps a time to reflect. When we look back over the life of Bent Larsen what do we see?

It is tempting to see Larsen as a nearly man, a supporting actor in other people's dramas. He never quite won the world title, famously losing 0-6 to Fischer in 1971 and before that losing to Spassky in the semi final of the previous world championship cycle.

Wikipedia (quickly becoming the Royal Library of Alexandria for the modern age) describes him like this: "he and Fischer became the two strongest players outside the Soviet Union." And that I suppose sums up Larsen for many people. He had the great misfortune of inhabiting the same space as Fischer, and he wasn't Russian. Apart from that, (what have the Romans ever done for us...) he might have been the strongest player in the world.

Then there was his distinction as being the first grandmaster to lose to a computer. And of all the "firsts" that you might aspire to, that was probably not on anyone's list of "1001 things you must do before you die".

But obituaries are a time for kindness and positive thoughts. We might also point out the many tournaments that Larsen did win, his board one performance for the World team and his dominance of Danish chess.

Most of all, I like to think of Larsen as a free thinker, a wild spirit, a risk taker. He always seemed to be enjoying his chess in a devil-may-care "what the heck" sort of way.

I always pictured Fischer playing chess as a bundle of nervous energy, all scowls and temper. Kasparov comes across as the Terminator with red glowing eyes and computer-programing language scrolling down in front of his eyes. But Larsen seems to have played with a smile, a sense of humour, a pinch of fun. Whether it was championing an offbeat opening or finding an unusual way to win, he liked to live on the edge. Had he been born a few generations later, he might well have been a snowboarder or a freestyle motorcrosser. Extreme!

Rewind the position back a few moves before the puzzle to see what I mean. Here's the position just after black has played 44...Nf4

click for larger view

In this position, the temptation to win a pawn with 45. Bxf4 is very strong. It gets rid of the well positioned knight which was threatening to grab the d3 pawn.

But the resulting exchanges would lead to a fairly static position with bishops opposite colours, a pair of "oh so drawish" rooks and moderately locked pawn position. White ought to win after 45. Bxf4 but it doesn't look gnarly, dude.

Luckily, we are sitting alongside Bent "no fear" Larsen. And he finds a prettier way to win.

45. a4! Larsen abandons the d3 pawn for an apparently inconsequential pawn move. What's going on, man?

45..Nxd3 46. Be6+

click for larger view

Now we see the first part of Larsen's plan. If the black king runs to the h file (either h8 or h7), then 47. Rh2+ is just sick. So black is forced to give up his rook for the white Be6. On the face of it, that's perfectly okay, since black will win back the exchange a move later.

46...Rxe6 47. dxe6 Nxf2 48. Bxf2 and we have arrived at our puzzle position. And now we can see why Larsen played 45. a4, so that when we got to here his a pawn would be unstoppable.

And that for me, is the essence of the man, the Tao of Larsen. He saw possibilities and chances that others just wouldn't see. Who else at GM level would regularly open a game with 1. b3 of 1. f4? And having seen the possibilities, a little bit of devilry inside him would say...

... and why not?

Sep-13-10  kookoon: Like fusilli said, white wins but not very easy! After 51...e3, white king has to take it and then rush to b7 while black bishop rush to b8. Luckly for white, the pawn on e6 doesn't let the black king go to d7 for block white's king trip.
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