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Bent Larsen vs Bozidar Djurasevic
Zagreb-B (1955), Zagreb YUG, rd 5, Nov-06
Zukertort Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-12-10  patzer2: For today's Sunday puzzle solution White prepares to offer up the Queen with 24. Qe7! for a winning passed pawn combination.

After 24. Qe7! Rd7, 25. e5! going in for the sham sacrifice of the Queen is the only clear winning continuation.

Following <LIFE Master AJ>'s excellent analysis (same as Fritz 10 through 25...Rxe7 26. dxe7 Bd7 27. exf6 ), White wins with 25...Rxe7 26. dxe7 Bd7 27. exf6 Qxc7 28. Ne5 as in the notes to the game.

Not sure why 25...Rxe7? is given in the notes as a mistake compared to the game continuation 25...Qxc7 26. dxc7 , since White wins easily enough following either continuation.

An interesting quiet positional option for White is 24. Qf4!, when Fritz 10 indicates White is winning after 24...Rf8 25. b4 cxb4 26. Rxb4 and play might continue 26...h6 27. Nd4 Rc5 28. e5 Nh5 29. Qe3 Rxe5 30. Nc6 Rxe6 31. fxe3 Bd7 32. Nxb8 .

P.S.: From a purely positional perspective, White's initial intuition (even before going into deep mental calculation) is I suspect that a supported and very probably unstoppable pawn on the seventh rank justifies exchanging the White Queen for Black's Rook and Knight.

Sep-12-10  tonythekingfisher: I got nowhere near this - one of the hardest puzzles in ages because there are so many options. I looked at Qe7 but couldn't find the follow up.

Helps to confirm my view that Larsen was one of the strongest players never to win the world title. Yet he was graded just 2625, which shows how rating inflation has taken off.

I played him in a 36 board simul in 1972 and got a draw - one of my best achievements in chess. May he rest in peace.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: A great game played by Bent Larsen, getting big space advantage and piece placement early on.

I had an idea that 24 Qe7 was the move, B would attack it, and W could afford to let the Q go and win. But I could never have unravelled all the options to demonstrate the win.

Sep-12-10  Jack Kerouac: One of the great 'old school' players from the 'Fischer-Era'; before computers and Queen pawn closed-game avalanche of suffocating stolid play for a 57 move theoretical 'end-game-advantage'. Adventurist play from Mr.Larsen, always. 'My 60 Memorable Games'.
Closest tome to a chess Bible.
Of course, 'On the Road' is a candidate, *ahem*.....
Sep-12-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has the material advantage of a pawn and knight for a bishop, in addition to a significant space advantage marked by strong, centralized development. The d6 pawn is a monster, with the rook behind it effectively in control of the file, but black now controls the advance square d7. Nonetheless, black's cramped setup, the AWOL Ra5 (weakening the back rank), and weak points at d8 and f7 give white excellent conditions to invade with the queen:


Attacking the undefended rook gains a tempo. In addition to the direct threat of 25.Qxd8, white enables e5 or Ne5, and threatens Ng5. Before playing this move, some analysis is required to verify that the queen is not walking into a trap:

A) 24... Rd7 25.e5! (25.Ne5? is met by Qxc7!) Ne4 26.Qe8+ Bf8 27.e6! Nxd6 (fe 28.Nxe6 Rf7 29.d7 wins) 28.Rxd6! Qxc7 (Rxd6 29.e7 wins) 29.Rxd7 Bxd7 30.exd7 wins.

A.1) 25... Rxe7 26.dxe7 Bd7 (Qxc7 27.Rd8+ wins everything) 27.Rxd7 Nxd7 28.e8=Q+ Qxe8 29.Nxe8 Nxe5 30.Nxg7 Nxf3+ 31.Bxf3 Kxg7 and white has a winning ending (B for a pawn)

A.2) 25... Qxc7 26.exf6 Rxe7 (Bf8 27.Qxf8+ Kxf8 dxc7) 27.dxc7 Rxc7 (Bxc6 28.Rd8+ wins a piece) 28.fxg7 wins a piece.

A.3) 25...Nh5 26.Qe8+ Bf8 27.e6! fe (Ng7 28.exd7) 28.Nxe6 Rf7 29.d7 and again the back rank weakness costs the game.

B) 24... Be6 25.Nxe6 Rd7 26.Nc7! (Nxg7 Rxe7 27.dxe7 Kxg7 is less effective) Rxe7 27.dxe7 Qxc7 28.Rd8+ wins again.

B.1) 25... fxe6 26.Qxe6+ Kh8 (Kf8 27.e5 N moves 28.Ng5 is worse) 27.Ng5 (threatens mate in 4) Ra7 28.Nf7+ Rxf7 29.Qxf7 wins an exchange.

C) 24... Bd7 25.Ng5 Rf8 26.e5 is deadly.

D) 24... Bb7 25.e5 Ne8 (Rd7 26.exf6 Rxe7 27.dxe7 wins) 26.Ng5 Bxg2 27.Qxf7+ Kh8 29.Kxg2 Rh7 30.N5e6 and black can resign any time.

E) 24... Rf8 25.e5 Ne4 26.d7 Bxd7 (otherwise 27.d8=Q wins) 27.Rxd7 wins a piece

E.1) 25... Nd7 26.e6 fe (Nf6 27.d7) 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 28.Ng5 Nf6 29.Nf7+ Kg8 (Rxf7 30.Qxf7 wins quickly) 30.Nh6+ Kh8 31.Qg8+ Rxg8 32.Nf7#

Thought it was appropriate to end with Philidor's legacy, one of the most useful tools in the tactical arsenal. Time to see how Larsen finished...

Sep-12-10  Eduardo Leon: White has an impressive passed pawn, more space, and no weak points. Black, on the other hand, has the weak c6 and f7 squares, and his pieces are not coordinated. In particular, the only contribution of black's queenside rook to the position is to be in a square where it and the black queen can be forked with a knight in c6.


White's key ideas are very simple: Promoting the d pawn, and advancing the e pawn to support it.


The passive 24...♖f8 allows white to implement his plan unhindered: 25.e5 ♘d7 26.♘e8. Since the c8 bishop is tied to the defense to the knight, black cannot coordinate his queen and rook in his backrank. The fact the c5 square is occupied and, thus, 26...♘c5 cannot be played is also crucial: 26...c4 27.e6 c3 28.♖bc1, winning material.


The queen is en prise, but the pawn goes anyway!


Or 25...♕xc7 26.dxc7 (hint: backrank issues) 26...♖xe7 27.exf6 ♖xc7 28.♖d8+ ♗f8 29.♖bd1 (hint: backrank issues) 29...♗d7 30.♖1xd7.


Hint: backrank issues.

<26...♗d7 27.exf6 ♕xc7>

After 27...♗xf6 28.♖xd7 ♗xe7 29.♖xe7, white has too much material for his queen.


The e7 pawn is so powerful that 28...♕xe5 29.♖xd7 followed by 30.♖d8+, just cannot be played.


Or 28...♗xf6 29.♖xd7 ♕xd7 (29...♕xe5 30.♖d8+) 30.♘xe5 ♗xe7, and white is a piece up.


Hint: backrank issues.

<29...♗xf6 30.♖xe8+ ♔g7 31.♖g8+ ♔xg8 32.e8=♕+>

And white is a piece up.

Sep-12-10  rapidcitychess: Is it possible? A Sunday puzzle I understood?
*Runs around in circles several times, then faints.*

This week's theme must be passers.

Sep-12-10  Marmot PFL: Sometimes the Sundays don't seem as hard as claimed but this one did. I was reasonably sure that 24 Qe7 was best, attacking Rd8, supporting pd6 and clearing e5 for p or N. Then it quickly gets extremely complicated. In most lines I was intuitively willing to give up queen for rook and passed pawns plus threats, as seeing all the possible moves was just too difficult. In an actual game I would just play 24 Qf4 with an extra pawn plus bind, which should be enough without any combinations.

click for larger view

From the above position at move 26, I varied from Larsen's line (dxc7) with exf6 (A.2 in first post), so I put the position into the Crafty endgame trainer.

As you can verify, this transposition does not do any harm - white does win a piece.

When I first started working on the puzzle, I was planning to meet 24...Rd7 with 25.Ne5?, which doesn't work out so well. This is why OTB is so different from puzzle solving - there is little forgiveness for errors.

Sep-12-10  EXIDE: Impossible ! One had to see the position at move 29 Rbd1 with a threat of checkmate by RXb followed by Rd8 to have even had a remote chance of solving this puzzle.
Sep-12-10  Eduardo Leon: <EXIDE>, not really. While 28.♖d8+ ♗f8 29.♖bd1 is clearly better than 28.fxg7 (because the former keeps the powerful pawn), both win a piece, which is more than enough to win.
Sep-12-10  BOSTER: Because sacr.Qxf6 does not work,but no doubt that <CG> wants to show one of the most brilliant Larsen's game ,it means we have to find the possibility to sacr. the queen. I would choose move 24. Qe7, given the the green light to advance pawn e4-e5. Another candidate move is Ng5. But if black play 24... Rd7 now white has the possibility to sacr. the queen. And I think this is a "gist" for today puzzle. 25. e5 Rxe7 26.dxe7 and white wins. Certainly black have many other lines.
Sep-12-10  Yodaman: Jørgen Bent Larsen (4 March 1935 – 9 September 2010).

Thank you, for bringing this to my attention by honoring Larsen with a Game of the Day and a Puzzle of the Day.

Sep-12-10  SufferingBruin: <patzer2> flat out nailed it. I'm certain that if I met the man over a chess board, I would be taking up golf within fifteen moves.

I got the queen move. But 25.e5 is out of my zip code entirely.

Sep-12-10  Eduardo Leon: <BOSTER: Because sacr.Qxf6 does not work,but no doubt that <CG> wants to show one of the most brilliant Larsen's game ,it means we have to find the possibility to sacr. the queen.>

Since it is a Sunday, the puzzle must require some serious analysis. But, does that mean that there must necessarily be a queen sacrifice? I do not think so. There have been some awesome Sundays without queen sacrifices. And there are many queen sacrifices that are not worthy of being Sunday puzzles.

One of my favorite Larsen games features a queen sacrifice. But it is a strategical, rather than tactical, sacrifice. Check it out: C B Van den Berg vs Larsen, 1959.

Sep-12-10  twinlark: 24. Qe7 looked the go, but the rest, especially 25. e5...finding it over the board, OMG!
Sep-12-10  agb2002: White has a bishop, a knight and a pawn for the bishop pair.

Black threatens 24... Ne8 25.Qf4 Nxd6 26.Rxd6 Qxc7.

The defenseless rook on d8 and Black's weak back rank suggest 24.Qe7:

A) 24... Rd7 25.e5

A.1) 25... Rxe7 26.dxe7

A.1.a) 26... Bf8 27.Rd8 Nd7 28.e8=Q + -.

A.1.b) 26... Ne8 27.Rd8 Qxc7 28.Rxe8+ Bf8 29.exf8=Q#.

A.1.c) 26... Bd7 27.Rxd7 Nxd7 28.e8=Q+ Qxe8 29.Nxe8 + - [N].

A.2) 25... Nh5 26.Qe8+ Bf8 27.e6 fxe6 (27... Nf6 28.exd7 + -) 28.Nxe6 Rf7 29.d7 + -.

B) 24... Rf8 25.e5 Nd7 26.e6

B.1) 26... Bf6 27.exd7 Bxe7 28.dxe7 Bxd7 29.exf8=Q+ Kxf8 30.Rxd7 + - [R+B+2N vs Q+P].

B.2) 26... fxe6 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 (27... Rf7 28.Ng5 + -) 28.Ng5 h6 29.Nf7+ Kh7 30.Be4 with a winning attack.

C) 24... Bd7 25.Ng5 Rf8 26.e5 followed by Qxd7 if the knight moves.

That's all I'm allowed to do today.

Sep-12-10  agb2002: CG, how about honoring Larsen with an entire week of puzzles?
Sep-12-10  wals: Qe7 was my sole effort. Just too complicated for me.

(+1.53):20...Ra5. Better,

Analysis by Rybka 4 x64: depth 22:

1. (0.70): 20...Ra6 21.Nc7 Rxd6 22.Nxe8 Nxe8 23.Bf1 Kg7 24.Rxd6 Bxd6 25.Rd1 Nf6 26.g4 b6 27.Bc4 Be7 28.Qd3 h6 29.Nd2 Nh7 30.Ba6 Bxa6 31.Qxa6 Ng5 32.Qd3 b5 33.Ra1 Bd8 34.Kh2

2. (1.13): 20...Rd8 21.Nxe5 Ne8 22.b4 cxb4 23.Nc7 Rxd6 24.Nxa8 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Qxa8 26.Bf1 Be6 27.Bc4 Qc8 28.Qb3 Nc7 29.h4 b5 30.Bxe6 Qxe6 31.Qxe6 Nxe6 32.Rd7 Nc5

(+2.54):22...b6. Better,

Analysis by Rybka 4 x64: depth 23:

1. (1.93): 22...Ra2 23.Qxe5[] Nxe4 24.Qxe4 Bf5 25.Qc4 Bxd6 26.Nd5[] Bxb1 27.Qh4 Rf8 28.Nf6+[] Kg7[] 29.Nd7[] Qd8[] 30.Nxf8[] Qxh4 31.Nxh4 Bxf8 32.Rxb1[] b5 33.Nf3 c4 34.bxc4 bxc4 35.Rc1 Bc5 36.Rxc4 Bxf2+ 37.Kh2 h5

Again ...25.

(+5.48):25...Qxc7. Somewhat better as indicated,

depth 25: 26 min:

1. (4.04): 25...Rxe7 26.dxe7 Bd7[] 27.exf6[] Qxc7[] 28.Ne5[] Bxf6 29.Rxd7[] Qxd7 30.Nxd7[] Bxe7[] 31.Re1[] Bd6 32.Nxb6[] Rb5 33.Nc8 Bf8 34.Ne7+ Kg7 35.Bd5[] Rb6 36.Nc6 Ra6 37.Ne5 f6 38.Nd7 Rd6 39.Be6 Rc6 40.Nxf8 Kxf8

Again...29. depth 23:


But White erred, for all the good it did Black,

(+5.56):30.Rxd7. Ne5 +12.16 would have held the extra advantage.

Black was playing a lost game and
cried quits move 36.

Sep-12-10  BOSTER: <Eduardo Leon> <does that mean that there must necessarily be a qeen sacr.?>. When opening today <CG> page you could see not only the puzzle, but something around, you would noticed this: < Game of the day Larsen vs Laursen, Player of the Day Bent Larsen.> I respect <CG> to much, and I know they are smart people. BTW, if you have ever studied Larsen'games and have known his style, and clearly understood what I said above, you would not ask how I knew that today puzzle about queen sacr., even today was Sunday.
Sep-12-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <agb2002: CG, how about honoring Larsen with an entire week of puzzles?>


Thanks to the kibitzers who called attention to the recent passing of Larsen (of which I was unaware before today), one of the giants of the chess world in the pre-computer era.

Sep-12-10  Eduardo Leon: <BOSTER: <Eduardo Leon> <does that mean that there must necessarily be a qeen sacr.?>>

Actually, you were the one who said that. I was just quoting you, so my answer could be understood in context.

Sep-13-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: A tribute to Larsen, written by Kavalek:

An odd coincidence for me: the only two GM simultaneous exhibitions in which I've participated were conducted by these two gentlemen. Against Larsen I won (one of 4 in a 75 player exhibition); against Kavalek I lost, as did the other 10 participants.

Sep-13-10  notyetagm: Wow!

What a *great* combination by Larsen!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: After 23....Bg7, Black probably figured he had a lot of play.

A massive helping of disillusionment awaited after Larsen's rejoinder, one of his finest combinations.

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