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Bent Larsen vs Wolfgang Unzicker
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 12, Aug-04
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Full Symmetry Line (A38)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-27-04  iron maiden: Furthermore, why didn't he just play 37. Rc8+? Time trouble? After 37...Qxc8 38. Kxg1 Qh3 39. Qg4 I can't find a mate.
Dec-27-04  iron maiden: 39. f4 in that line also seems to work. On the other hand, this game was part of a string of losses for Larsen that was just as catastrophic as Fischer's losing streak in the first half of the tournament, so Larsen's play is somewhat understandable.
Dec-27-04  Darknite: 37 Rc8+ Kg7. 37...Qxc8 is unecessary.
Dec-27-04  sneaky pete: <iron maiden> Larsen was in time trouble. 37.Rc8+ .. doesn't help as after .. Kg7 38.Kxg1 Bh2+ black mates in 2 or 3 moves. 37.Qxe5+ dxe5 38.Kxg1 .. avoids an immediate mate but would still lose.

In the tournament book both players agree that white should have played 35.Kd2.. (instead of 35.Kf2? ..). Larsen: "There is no immediate win, but white's position is rather hopeless." Unzicker: "... with a probable draw."

Aug-24-05  cyclemath: This game is the puzzle in The Times (UK) today, but it's reported there as being from the British Championship 2005, which made me do a bit of a double take. :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: a misprint-these things happen sometimes when non educated in chess staff mix up the captions-its worse when the positions dont work!
Aug-24-05  notyetagm: Nice tactics by Unzicker. He uses the well <known mating pattern> ...♗h2+/...♗g3+/...♕h2+/...♕f2# to win easily. It pays to know your mating patterns.
Dec-30-14  zydeco: An interesting contrast of styles. Unzicker is the epitome of a correct player, while Larsen tries to create imbalances at any cost.

The opening is played exactly. Unzicker suggests 19.e4 and 21.Ne4 as alternatives for white.

On move 23, Larsen comments: "It is alright to play for a win with white here, especially as Unzicker had only a half hour left, but it should be done very calmly."

On move 25, Larsen writes: "This is suicide. The tragedy of the 11th round [Larsen's loss to Donner] starts repeating itself."

Unzicker offered a draw on move 28, when he was significantly better (he was worried about time pressure), which Larsen refused. "A courage worthy of appreciation!" writes Unzicker.

29.Qf4 was better for defense.

Larsen was in horrible time pressure when he erred with 35.Kf2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Got it.

White would have lasted longer with 36. Qxe5 Qxe5 37. Kxg1, giving up his ♕ for ♖+♗, but after 37...Qg3+ his loose ♙s would start falling off the board.

Aug-06-17  diagonalley: hardly "insane" ... but definitely "inspired"!
Aug-06-17  YGraupera: Got it !! First Sunday puzzle all time!!! (Not so difficult, I'm afraid)
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White threatens Kxg1, Qxh6 and Bxb5.

Black can start an attack against the white king with 35... Be4 36.Qe4 d5 37.Qd3 Qh3 (threatens Qh2# and Qg3#):

A) 38.Kxg1 Bh2+ 39.Kh1 (39.Kf2 Qg3+ 40.Kf1 Qg1#) 39... Bg3+ 40.Kg1 Qh2+ 41.Kf1 Qh1#.

B) 38.e4 Qg3+ 39.Ke3 d4+ 40.Kd2 Qe1#.

C) 38.Bf1 Bg3+ 39.Ke2 (39.Kxg1 Qh2#) 39... Qxf1+ 40.Kd2 Qe1#.

D) 38.Rc8+ Kg7 39.e4 (other alternatives as above) 39... Qg3+ (or 39... Rg2+ 40.Kf1 Rh2+ 41.Ke1 Qxc8 - +) 40.Ke3 d4+ 41.Kd2 Qe1+ 42.Kc2 Qb1+ 43.Kd2 Bf4+ 44.Qe3 Bxe3#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I missed 37.Rc6 which equalizes according to Droidfish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Got it, too!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I went for 40...Qf2#
Aug-06-17  RandomVisitor: Maybe 33.Qe4 equalizes for white.
Aug-06-17  Moszkowski012273: Not the hardest Sunday ever...
Aug-06-17  wtpy: This was not that hard. Got it quickly. Not near as hard as yesterday.
Aug-06-17  catlover: True, this was an easy puzzle for a Sunday. But I must confess, it sure felt good to actually get a Sunday puzzle for a change.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I looked at 35...Rh1, seeing 36...Bxh4+.

The problem is after 35...Rh1, white has 36 Qg4, (so the black queen cannot get to h3.) Then, after 36...Bxh4+ 37 Kg2, below, white only loses a pawn.

click for larger view

Aug-06-17  CJD: Easy to solve. Takes time to solve. The key is to see the Bishop Fork if white plays the move. QxPh4.
Aug-06-17  JohnDMaster: I am proud of myself, I had not seen this game before and I was forced to find the answer based on white is getting ready to win and black has the mating pattern with Bh2 etc. Be5! is the only move that makes sense and Qh3!! threatens mate. Then mate on f2 or h1 is the finish
Aug-06-17  SpamIAm: In 1966 Larsen was perhaps the second strongest player outside of the Soviet bloc (guess who was first). At the Second Piatigorsky Cup he beat World Champion Petrosian twice. Yet here he loses to Unzicker, a good GM but usually not considered to be on a par with him. As Larsen himself once said, chess is a beautiful mistress which one keeps returning to, no matter how many times she rejects you. (from Saidy's "The Battle of Chess Ideas")
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I'm late to the party, but I would guess that the idea is 35...Be5! 36.Qe4 Qh3! and if 37.Rc8+ Black can decline with 37...Kg7. White probably has to play instead 37.Qxe5+ dxe5 38.Kxg1, but it looks pretty hopeless since the h-pawn is immediately hanging.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Yup, got it. Maybe decided to give me an easy Sunday puzzle for my birthday.
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