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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Bent Larsen
Oegstgeest (1970), Oegstgeest NED, rd 11, May-05
Dutch Defense: Nimzo-Dutch Variation (A90)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-27-06  zev22407: Larsen put strong pressure on Botvinnik position until it cracks!
Sep-18-07  diegoami: Larsen shows how his idea works, playing Bb4+ in the classical Dutch
Sep-01-11  druknight: the main problem seems to be botvinniks 24th move, he seems to allow the pawn exchange too deep, this line looks much better:

24. Nxf4 Bxf4
25. gxf4 Rxf4
26. Qd2 Rf5
27. Qe3 d5
28 Bh3

Sep-01-11  druknight: earlier he seems reluctant to open lines even though white's R/Q are connected and black sre not; e.g. 15 d5 and even 15 Nf4 are probably both equality.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: No pawns left to guard the King. MB beat Larsen 3-2, but I'm sure the numbers would more heavily favor Botvinnik if he had been younger, and played a lot of games with Larsen.
Aug-25-17  Poulsen: <HeMateMe><I'm sure the numbers would more heavily favor Botvinnik if he had been younger, and played a lot of games with Larsen>

You may have a point here. Larsen had negative scores against most of the very best players at his time. But he did win games against all of them - sometimes in sweeping style.

I think we should remember, that Larsen's style made him more difficult to prepare against than most other masters. The story goes, that when Ivkov took on Larsen in the Larsen - Ivkov Candidates Quarterfinal (1965) he was very concerned about Larsens choise of openings. Ivkov invested a lot of effort in preparing for Alekhine's Defence - but Larsen only played it once.

Botvinnik's strenght stemmed mostly from his deep preparations - and he disliked the intuitive and experimental approach of players like Bronstein, Tal and Larsen.

In a match between a younger Botvinnik and Larsen I agree Botvinnik would have the upper hand - much like Fischer. But in tournament play I am not so sure. Botvinnik did not participate in many tournaments after becoming WCh in 1948 - and in those tournaments he often struggled to have even reasonable results.

Larsen on the other hand was sort of a tournament shark - one of the most winning top players until Karpov emerged.

Aug-25-17  Howard: New in Chess said not long before Larsen died, seven years ago, that from 1967-69, Larsen's tournament record was probably the best in the world--even better than Petrosian's who was WC during that time.

Granted, Petrosian's accomplishments during his second "term" as WC were rather mediocre. Look at Santa Monica 1966 or Moscow 1967 for appropriate examples.

On the other hand, a certain American was completely inactive in 1969 and "pretty much" inactive in 1968. So, perhaps Larsen's accomplishment should have a small asterisk next to it.

Aug-25-17  JimNorCal: <druknight>: Can white play 24. Bd4, the black bishop must be challenged! Nxf4 leads to long term static weaknesses.
Sep-04-17  Poulsen: <Howard><So, perhaps Larsen's accomplishment should have a small asterisk next to it>

IMO not at all. If you win - or at least find yourself at the top of the table in every tournament you enter, no-on can expect more.

When Carlsen swept all aside and won Nanjing 2009 Anand, Aronian and Kramnik was not in the field, but even if that could potentially change the outcome his result stands as one of his greatest feats.

Larsens tournament results was generally outstanding - Fischer or no Fischer.

Sep-04-17  SChesshevsky: Larsen's tendency for playing for wins, even as Black, might've been a big advantage in tournaments.

Most top GM's even at that time might not be as likely to push an even or unclear position as Black even up against a lesser opponent.

Unfortunately, those 1/2 points Larsen gained in tournaments are likely more damaging when lost in match play against equal or better opponents.

Sep-04-17  RookFile: I realize that 8....Ra7 is the type of move commonly played by GM's but it still has a humorous look to it.
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