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Bent Larsen vs Lev Polugaevsky
Le Havre (1966), Le Havre FRA, Apr-??
Zukertort Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-18-04  morphynoman2: An analysis of this amazing endgame, after 48. Bh6, by Polugaevsky, in a Seirawan's page:
Aug-09-04  Poulsen: A very good game by Larsen - showing his fighting spirit all the way into the endgame. Larsens strength in endgames is often overlooked. In this fase he was however surpassed by few or perhaps none in his best period.

If this was played in Linares by Kramnik or Leko or the likes it would have been a draw in 23 moves!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Larsen play in end-games reminds me of Flohr or Eliskases -- subtle, patient, and strong.
Mar-08-09  just a kid: The year is labeled wrong.According to Winning Chess Endings.This game was played in 1967.
Jan-07-11  BLarsen1967: <just a kid> I have this game with Larsen's own annotations (in Danish,unfortunately) - but the year 1966 is the correct year.
Jan-07-11  Poulsen: <BLarsen1967> True - the game was played at Le Havre 1966 - which Larsen won with 9/11.

In his annotations to the game Polu praised Larsen's play - but also pointed out, that he (Polu) could have turned the table late in the game. I think the key is 53.Kf3! in stead of 53.f4?.

Or am I mistaken? Anyone?

Jan-07-11  BLarsen1967: <Poulsen> I havent seen Polu's annotations - but Larsen gives 53..f4 TWO question marks,then he goes on to say,that 53..Kf3 is a draw...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: This game is analyzed as Game #10 in the recently-published book, <The Greatest Ever chess endgames> (<sic>), by Giddins, Steve, Everyman Chess ©2012, at pp. 46-51.

In the position after <57. … Kf4-f5>:

click for larger view

Giddins notes that Larsen’s <58. Be7> was a blunder. The point is that after the game’s further <58...Ke4 59.h5 Bd2 60.Bc5 Be3 61.Bf8 Bd4 62.Bh6>, Polugaevsky could have drawn with <62. … Be3!> (instead of his losing blunder, <62. … Be5?>).

According to Giddins, both Larsen and Polugaevsky in their respective notes on the game assumed that after <62. … Be3> in this line, White could have won with <63. Bg7>. (Polugaevsky apparently went no further with his variation [assuming White was winning here], and Larsen [again, according to Giddins – I have not consulted the original sources] gave the further <63. … Bd4 64. h6>< >.) Both super-GMs overlooked the possibility of <63. … Bc5!> (moving the B further along the diagonal, i.e., to b6 or a7 is equally good), after which White has nothing better than to repeat with <64. Bh6>.

In the variation with <63. … Bc5!>, if White avoids the repetition by trying <64.Bf6?>, after the further <64. … Ke3 65.Bh4 Bd4> it would now be White who was playing to hold a draw, in this position:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Returning to the position (discussed in my earlier post) after <57. … Kf4-f5>:

click for larger view

Giddins (op. cit., at p. 49) points out that the winning move would have been <58. b3-b4!>, as demonstrated by the following variations: <58.b4! axb4 (58...Bxb4? 59.Bxb4 axb4 60.Kg3!> “wins at once” (Giddins), as follows (my analysis - PP): <60. ... c5 61.Kxf3! c4 62.Ke2 (or 62.Ke3 ) 62...b3 63.cxb3 cxb3 64.Kd3>< >) [End of analysis of subvariation with <58. b4 Bxb4?>]

[Returning to Giddins's analysis in the main variation after <58. b4 axb4>]:

<59.h5!> (or <59.Bb6>< > ; but not <59.a5? b3><=>) <59...Kg5 (59...Bd2 60.Kg3 Ke4 61.Kf2 ) 60.Bb6 c5 61.a5 c4 62.a6 b3 63.a7 b2 64.a8Q b1Q 65.Qd5+> “forces mate” – Giddins (who ends his analysis here). A typical finish to the game could run (my analysis - PP): <65. ... Kf6 66.Qd6+ Kf7 67.Qd7+ Kf8 (67...Kf6 68.Bd4+ Kg5 69.Qg4+ Kh6 70.Qg6#) 68.Bc5+ Kg8 69.Qg4+ Kh7 70.Qg6+ Kh8 71.Bd4#>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Credit should be given to IM Steve Giddins for acknowledging (at p. 50 in the source quoted in my two posts from earlier today) that Black's (missed) drawing resource (<63. ... Bc5!>) was discovered through computer analysis.

It should also be noted that his concluding comment on the game was: "Superlative play by Larsen, despite the lapse at move 58." (op. cit., p. 51)

Mar-25-12  SimonWebbsTiger: @<Peligroso Patzer>

my old friend is, alas, only an FM and no longer active -- instead he concentrates on chess journalism, writing, translating and a love of problem chess/endgame studies.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: The other good move White had to find was, after 65...Ke2 (threatening 66.f2), 66.Kg4! If 66.Bh4, Black has 66...Bg5! for the draw. If Black plays 66...f2, then 67.Bxf2 Kxf2 68.a5 wins for White. If 66...Bd2 or 66...Bd3 or 66...Bh6, then 67.Kg4! f2 68.Bxf2 Kxf2 69.b4 wins for White. After 66.Bh4 Bg5 67.Bg3 (67.Bxg5?? f2 wins for Black) Bf4 68.Bh4 Bg5 draws.
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