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Bent Larsen vs Jorge Rosito
Najdorf mem Great fin (2002), Buenos Aires, rd 1, Sep-01
Sicilian Defense: Grand Prix Attack (B23)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-18-10  RandomVisitor: 32.Rf2 or 32.Rff1 are much better, because Black might hold with 38...e5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: White to move (29?). Material even. "Very Difficult."

Some will look at this position and say to themselves, "Can't take that rook, we will lose the queen to the bishop skewer." But that move is certainly on my list of candidates:

- 29 Qxf4
- 29 Rxf7
- 29 Red1

To digress a moment. I have been looking at this position, and wondering what black's last move must have been. I think it must have been 28...Rxf4. I suppose it could have been something else, but I don't think so.

Let's go with our gut:

29 Qxf4 Bg5 30 Qxg5 hxg5 31 Rxf7

I'm not sure what black should play here, but I don't think he should give the queen back at this point. For instance if

31...Qxf7 32 Nxf7 Kxf7 33 Rg5

white will pick up either the black c-pawn or g-pawn and despite the opposite colored bishop will have excellent chances in the endgame.

Another try here is

29 Rxf7

Threatening 30 Rxf6 and 31 Qxf4. Black can try

29...Bxe5 30 Rxf4 Bxf4 31 Qxf4

with good pressure on the long dark diagonal and on the e-pawn. This looks good too.

Time to check and see how this went down.

Sep-18-10  M.Hassan: "Very Difficult" White to move 29.?
Forces are equal.
It is interesting that the Black Rook has sided next to White Queen and unprotected and obviously hoping that the Queen takes it for the Queen herself to be lost by Black moving to Bg4.If it has been a trick, Rosito very much under-estimated Larsen. Anyways, I think the White Rook having moved to 7th rank and being supported by the Knight can make moves to gain material:

29.Rxf7 Bxe5
30.Rxf4 Bxf4
31.Qxf4 Rc8
32.Qe5 Qe7
33.Rg1 Rc7
34.g5 hxg5
35.Rxg5 Qf7
I think it is the time for Black to resign. There are 4 White pieces attacking g7 square and 3 Black defending it. Time to check
Huhh: The game continued on the line that I thought should not have!!!

Sep-18-10  macphearsome: Awww, I definitely thought this one was a spoiler. I guess that makes it a double-spoiler or something.

Anyways, I played Bd4

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 1. Why didn't black play 32...Rxf7 ?

2. In the game as played, white winds up in an opposite-colored-♗ ending with a one-♙ advantage. Big deal. He could have gotten that several ways, e.g., starting with 29. Rxf7 Bxe5 30. Qxe5 Qxf7 31. Qxb8+ Qf8 or even 29. Qxc5 Bxe5 30. Qxe5 Rxg4 31. Rxa7.

Sep-18-10  tacticalmonster: 1) Black has three main pawn weaknesses: c5, a7 and f7. e6 pawn is potentially a weakness because it is blockaded by the powerful e5 knight

2) Both black and white rook seems to hang but they are not; If

a) 29 Qxf4 Bg5.
b) 29...Bxe5 30 Qxe5 Black can't play Qxd7 because of Qxg7#

3) Both a8 bishop and b8 rook are out of play

4) Black threatens to move the f4 rook allowing the pin along the g5-c1 diagonal

Candidate: 29 Qxf4

29...Bg5 30 Qxg5 hxg5 31 Rxf7- Let's evalute the position:

1) a) White king is extremely safe. It is hiding behind the pawn mass and protected by the unopposed dark square bishop. Black has no pawn break to open up the queenside

b) Black king, on the other hand, is under fire. The powerful rook penetrated to the seventh rank and It is supported by the immovable knight and the other rook. The g7 pawn is weak.

2) White has superior minor pieces:

a) The powerful e5 knight is protected on the dark square. There is no pawn to drive the knight away and it has a great g6 outpost to hop into after the rook moves. The knight also blockade the e6 pawn and protect the g4 pawn

b) The dark bishop has an active role: It has no opposing DSB to challange it. It does a great job protecting the king and it has target in the form of a weak g7 pawn, c5 pawn and potentially the a7 pawn.

It is safe to conclude Black is totally lost despite material is equal (Q for R+N+P). Let's look at how White converted the advantage:

a) 41...Qxf7 42 Nxf7 Kxf7 43 Re5- White will win another pawn and the game

b) 41...Rb7 42 Rxb7 Bxb7 43 Rd1 Be4 (43...Bc8 44 Ba5! Kh7 45 Rd8 Qe7 46 Ng6 ) 44 Rd7 a6 45 Rc7! Qf8 (45...Qd8 46 Rxg7+!) 46 Kb2 Qe8 (46...Qa8 47 Ba5! Kh7 48 Rd8 Qb7 49 Nd7! g6 50 Nf6+ Kg7 51 Bc3! Bc6 52 Ne4+ Kf7 53 Nxg5+ Ke7 54 Rh8! winning the queen) 47 Nd7! g6 48 Nxc5 gxh5 49 Rg7+ Kf8 50 Ne7+ winning the queen

Sep-18-10  VincentL: "Very Difficult".

Instinctively I want to play 29. Nf7 here.

Itīs tough to calculate with such a cluttered board, but I will try.

One line goes 29.....Qxd7 30. Qxf4 (threatening Qxb8) Rf8 31. Nxh6+ gxh6 32. Bxf6 Qf7 33. g5 hxg5 34. Qxg5+ Kh7 35. Qg6+ Qxg6 36. hxg6+ Kxg6 37. Be7 Re8 38. Bxc5, and white emerges two pawns up (R + B +4P v R + B x 2P). This should be a straightforward win for white, at least when played by Bent Larsen.

Now... what about all the alternative moves for black? There are many, and it is late here.

I am going to check to see what happened.

Sep-18-10  VincentL: My starting move was not played in the game nor is suggested by any other kibitzers. The calculations are a bit beyond my horizon today.
Sep-18-10  goodevans: <VincentL: My starting move was not played in the game nor is suggested by any other kibitzers.>

... but it was my choice too.

Sep-18-10  sfm: <Some: 29.Nxf7>
Is 29.-,Rf3 the best reply?
Sep-18-10  goodevans: <sfm> That looks very strong.

White can get some attack with Nxh6+ but not enough to merit the material he has to sac to get it going.

Sep-18-10  gaetano07: What about 33... Be4? The knight is trapped
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobby Fiske: THE SCENT OF A SACK
The air was loaded with the smell of a queen sacrifice...

<Once> Please fill in the continuation of the story! :-)

Sep-18-10  Fezzik: Simply brilliant!

Ok, nothing simple about it. Larsen saw a fantastic way to simplify to Opposite Color Bishop (OCB) ending, that was winning!

Some ppl with engines may suggest that 32.Rf2 or 32.Rff1 was better than 32.Ref1, but that's because their engines don't recognise, as Larsen did, that the OCB ending was winning! In other words, Larsen saw far more deeply than the best engines!

Congratulations to Larsen. The chess world has lost one of its brightest lights.

29.Nf7? Bc3! or possibly 29...Re4!! gives Black a nice edge.

Sep-18-10  PawnEnding: <al wazir>: "He could have gotten that several ways, e.g., starting with 29. Rxf7 Bxe5 30. Qxe5 Qxf7 31. Qxb8+ Qf8" -- does not 30. - Rxf7 win a rook for Black?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Bobby Fiske> You know me much too well! I can never resist a challenge...


The air was loaded with the smell of a queen sacrifice ... it was a real and palpable smell, something you could almost reach out and touch, like the stench of blood that hangs over a battlefield as evening falls and all you can hear are the mournful cries of carrion birds and the moans of the dying.

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning ... "

What does a queen sacrifice smell like? A whiff of gunpowder laced with perfume, to the insistent beat of your thrumming heart as the tension ties knots in your stomach and drenches your face with cold sweat.

He is offering me his rook - a tempting offer, but tinged with poison. Because after 29. Qxf4 he plays 29...Bg5 and my queen is pinned and lost.

But wait a minute. In the clamour and noise of battle ... pause, think, reflect. Is my queen worth so much in this position? The deal on the table is my queen for his rook and bishop - his two best placed pieces. What is more, I get a spare move after he has recaptured, and that means that I can play Rxf7 and all my pieces come to life.

And now the fear, the uncertainty, the question that faces every chess player and every soldier. Is this queen sacrifice a brilliant stroke that will win me the game, or a losing decision that will be ridiculed by countless kibitzers for ever more on And this is the heart of it - the unknown terror that grips us.

And then we realise that a queen sacrifice has many smells. At first, there is the faintest of odours, like the barely perceptible trace that a truffle-hound uses to sniff out the deeply buried fungus. Maybe, just maybe ....

And then there is the musty smell of deep underground cellars, the stench of the unknown, of dark and shadowy terrors. Does this sacrifice work, or will we fall victim to the hidden creatures of the night?

We play the sacrifice, and the smell is of hot blood, a visceral cloying smell that we share with our opponent. Blood has been spilt this day, and there is no turning back.

And finally, if the sacrifice works, the smell of blood turns to more peaceful and successful odours, of baking bread, harvested crops and wine to toast a victory and fallen friends.

On the eve of battle, Maximus speaks to his troops. And this is what he says: "Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so."

He reaches down to rub the earth between his fingers. This is the thought that will give him strength during the fighting. The feel and the smell of the soil, of his home, his farm, his wife and son, and the cheerful life-affirming smell of wheat growing under a hot Spanish sun.

Sep-18-10  eaglewing: <RandomVisitor> I analyzed 38. ... e5. I think it is better, more flexible, than Bxh5, but nevertheless I could not hold the Black position against my old Fritz.

It was by a small margin, so maybe a Black improvement would be 32. ... a6. If followed by 33. Rxb7 Bxb7 34. Rf7 it wins basically a tempo compared to the game, maybe enough. But I did not look into White alternatives at move 33 in this case.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobby Fiske: <<Once:> You know me much too well! I can never resist a challenge...> Wow! You came up with this in such a short notice? BRAVO!

-Now you can finish your morning cup of coffee. :-)

Sep-18-10  RandomVisitor: After 38...e5:

click for larger view

Rybka 4 x64:

<[+1.21] d=29 39.a4> Bxh5 40.b4 Ke6 41.b5 Bf3 42.Bf2 g4 43.Kd3 Bd1 44.c5 Kd5 45.c6 Kd6 46.Bg3 Bf3 47.c4 g6 48.Kc3 a5 49.Kd3 g5 50.Kd2 Kc5

Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: At first glance this looks like a simple "desparado" sac - 29 Rxf7 Bxe5 30 Rxf4 etc. However 29...Re4 turns the tables. Larsen is too clever for that of course. I never guessed he would sac his queen just to reach a bishop ending though.
Sep-18-10  RandomVisitor: 29.Qxc5 Bxe5 30.Bxe5 Qxd7 31.Bxb8 Rxg4 [Qd4] 32.Rd1 Qc6 33.Bxa7 Qxc5 34.Bxc5 Bc6 35.Rd6 might be winnable for white.
Sep-18-10  paul1959: <RandomVisitor> What Rybka's analysis show is that Black blundered with 41...a6xb5? This gave White three linked passed pawns and an easy win.

After 38...e5 I would suggest 39.Be3 The idea is to force Black to lose time with Kf6. Material win is not important in such endings but the forward g pawn plays an important role in many variations by supporting its Bishop and restricting the White Bishop mobility.

Sep-18-10  sethoflagos: <<Once> ... pause, think, reflect. Is my queen worth so much in this position?>

Can you avoid this exchange? "War is upon whether you wish it or not!"

Consider what would happen if it was black to move in this position:

29... Rxc4!

What is the major threat here? 30...Bg5? No it isn't! Try not capturing the rook.

30 Rxf7?? Rxc3!!

click for larger view

31 Qxc3 Qxf7!!
32 Nxf7?? Bxc3!! picks up another piece.

White can both step out of the royal skewer and protect Bc3, but I think only with

30 Kb2 Re4!

click for larger view

White may contain the damage a while with 31 Qd2 but I see nothing else

31 Qg3? Bxe5
32 Bxe5 Rxb3+!

What these sequences show is how dangerous the Rf4 is and how fragile white's queenside pawn position is, despite first impression of solidity.

Seen in this light, 29 Qxf4! Bg5 30 Qxg5 hxg5 31 Rxf7 is just as much about keeping white's queenside defence together as it is about picking up the odd pawn.

Sep-18-10  RandomVisitor: After 29.Qxc5:

click for larger view

Rybka 4 x64:

<[+2.22] d=21 29...Rb7> 30.Rxb7 Bxb7 31.Qxa7 Be4 32.Rd1 Bh4 33.a4 Rf2 34.Rd2 Rxd2 35.Bxd2 Bf6 36.Nd7 Qd8 37.a5 Bc6 38.Nxf6+ Qxf6 39.Kb1 Be4 40.a6 Qf1+ 41.Kb2 Qd1 42.Qb8+

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: White definitely should have played 32 Rf2, seeing 32...Rb8 33 Ng6, below.

click for larger view

The threat is Rf8+, winning back the queen and ending up at least a couple of pawns ahead.

There are many variations to consider and they all look good for white. For example, something like 33...Rd8 34 Rf8+ Qxf8 35 Nxf8 Rxf8 36 Rxe6 gives white a solid advantage.

click for larger view

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