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Anatoly Karpov vs Bent Larsen
Interpolis 4th (1980), Tilburg NED, rd 3, Sep-21
Russian Game: Modern Attack. Center Variation (C43)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-17-05  Everett: This is the first game of this line in the database here (using <similar games> above) and Larsen gives up a pawn in the opening for rapid development and the two bishops.

11...Bb4 is strange to me. What's the idea behind it, and why not 12.c3? Is this simply too weakening on the light squares?

Oct-18-05  sneaky pete: The pawn sacrifice 6... Nxe5 had been played before in Unzicker vs Rogoff, Amsterdam (IBM tournament) 1980 and maybe in other games not in this database . 11... Bb4!? (Larsen's over the board idea) is meant to deny the white queen access to a5 after .. f6 has been played.

"12.a3 f6 13.Qg3 Bd6 16.Bf4 .. gives back the pawn, and with bishop vs knight in an open position Black has a slight advantage. 12.c3 .. supports d4 but takes away the best square from the knight and weakens the white squares. Black would probably play 12... Bd6 13.Qa5 Bd5 and would feel happy that Bd5 cannot be kicked by the knight." Larsen in Ray Keene's magazine Modern Chess Theory (1981).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: A photograph from this game (or apparently from the post mortem analysis) is here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: I wondered why White didn't try 6. Qe2 more often, gaining a Pawn right out of the opening. It's surprising to me that the Two Bishops are enough compensation.

After 5 ... Nd7 then 6. Nxd7 is 10 times more common than 6. Qe2 Opening Explorer ; follow the Main Line with 6. Qe2 Nxe5 7. Bxe4 dxe4 8. Qxe4 Be6 and it's anybody's game = Opening Explorer

Jul-20-09  SgtPepper: Everret : Kasparov explains this game in My Great Predecessors vol. IV. 11...Bb4 prevents the white queen from getting to the queenside (a5) and thus creating a counterplay there. 12 c3 could be met with 12...f6 and 13...Be7.
Dec-12-11  optimal play: <sneaky pete: The pawn sacrifice 6... Nxe5 had been played before in Unzicker vs Rogoff, Amsterdam (IBM tournament) 1980> Also Kane vs Rogoff 1973 (not in chessgames database, see This may have been a preferred defence by Kenneth Rogoff. I’d mention it on his player page but I don’t think the posters there are interested in talking about Rogoff’s chess games!
May-03-12  chessboy1998: to everett:
If 12.c3, then Bd6 13.Qa5 Bd5 seems equal, with attacking chances for black.
May-03-12  goldenbear: <chessboy1998> If 12.c3, then 12.f6! and since Qa5 is not available to white, he must retreat his queen to the kingside. Black will then play Bd6 and white will again face a very difficult situation on account of the poor position of his queen and the possibility of a kingside pawn storm. This is the idea behind Larsen's brilliant Bb4!, to take away a5 from the white queen.
Jul-26-18  Albion 1959: This is only the second win that Larsen achieved against Karpov. Both of them with the black pieces. Larsen only managed to win twice against Fischer, once again playing with the black pieces !
Jul-26-18  Howard: Interesting point, there! Never thought of that!
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