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Bent Larsen vs Francisco Jose Perez Perez
Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), Amsterdam NED, rd 5, May-25
Sicilian Defense: McDonnell Attack (B21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-24-16  fispok: Pins, pins, pins. Just keep looking for pins and you'll do fine. 27.Rf3 is a masterful attacking and defensive resource, as it not only cuts off the defender of the LSB but it also pins the Q and wins the game.
Aug-14-21  Gaito: During the early sixties, the so-called "Grand-Prix attack" (2.f4!?) was Bent Larsen's favorite weapon against the Sicilan Defense. It might not be as good as the common developing move 2.Nf3, yet it has the advantage that Black could be surprised or taken out of the books, as it were. Larsen was fond of using rare openings sometimes in order to take his opponent out of the books. That's why he also played the Bishop Opening 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 or other uncommon openings or rare variations. Apparently that worked very well for him!
Aug-14-21  Gaito: In this game Black went astray as early as on the fourth move. 4...g6? allows the reply 5.Bxc6! where Black gets a bad pawn structure. Maybe 4...Nge7 would have been in order.
Aug-14-21  Gaito: Maybe I am wrong and the real "Grand Prix Attack" arises after the move order 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4. So the name of the opening played in this game is the "McDonnell Attack", named after the Irish chess master Alexander McDonnell, who became famous for having played almost a hundred chess games against the French master Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais. Some of those games were excellent and instructive, but those players have almost been entirely forgotten. That was long, long ago. Not even Paul Morphy had been born yet when those gentlemen played their chess matches and when the move 2.f4 against the Sicilian Defense was invented.
Aug-14-21  Gaito: It is possible that the first master game ever played with the moves 1.e4 c5 2.f4 was the following one: McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 That was the seventh match game between McDonnell and La Bourdonnais, and it is a game annotated by Paul Morphy! I had never seen a chess game annotated by Morphy, and I am very surprised that Paul Morphy could annotate chess games. (Not that he couldn't, but that he wouldn't).
Aug-14-21  Gaito:

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Black's king is in check. Where should it move to? The correct move was 23...Kf8! whereupon it is hard to find a good attacking continuation for White, maybe there was none.

But Black blundered with 23...Ke7??, and after 24.Bg5+ the outcome of the game was decided.

So it could be said that Larsen was lucky to win this game. But of course, finding the correct defensive move is often much more difficult than finding the correct attacking move.

After 23...Kf8! a possible continuation could have been: 24.Qxf5+ Qf7 25.Qxe5 Bc4 26.Qd6+ (if 26.Rf3 Bxh6! 27.Rxf7+ Kxf7, Black would have obtained too much material for his queen) 26...Qe7 27.Rf3+ Bf7 and Black has nothing to fear. It may even be that Black is winning! See diagram below:

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