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Peter Heine Nielsen vs Bent Larsen
DEN-ch (1997), Esbjerg DEN, rd 7, Mar-28
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation (A31)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-09-09  FrogC: <Leo1992: After 23...Be4! 24.Qc3 Bxb1 25.Rxb1 is not clear how black can win,i think it's close to a draw> 25...Qh1+ 26.Kf2 Qxb1 27.Kxg6. I'd be fairly confident of winning the resulting position with Black because of the extra pawns, particularly the passed h pawn. One benefit of a sacrificial attack is that you usually pick up a few pawns in the process.
Jan-09-09  YouRang: Well, whaddya know, I got it. :-)

The first think I saw was ...Qh1+ forcing Kf2, and noticed that ..Ne4+ would be mate if only the knight couldn't be captured.

Alas, it can be captured two ways! But of course, he won't capture with his queen since he would lose it to my bishop -- but he'll surely capture it with his pawn: fxe4. :-(

After considering the position after fxe4 for a minute it finally dawned on me that my queen (at h1) also hits e4, which means that I can spend my bishop to get rid of the pawn with 23...Be4! (which nicely happens to threaten an exchange-winning skewer), and then white must spend his f3 pawn on eating my bishop: 24.fxe4.

NOW ...Qh1+ has teeth! 25.Kf2 Ne4+! and with the f3 pawn out of the way, white can only capture with his queen -- and lose it: 26.Qxe4 Qxe4 .

Jan-09-09  zanshin: Interesting game - I wasn't even close. Rybka switches from <24.Qd2> to the move played, <24.fxe4>.

[-2.79] d=20 24.fxe4 Qh1 25.Kf2 Nxe4 26.Qxe4 Qxe4 27.Nf3 f5 28.Bh6 Rfd8 29.Rbc1 a4 30.b4 f4 31.Rc3 Qf5 32.Ng5 (0:36.45) 267020kN


[-2.15] d=15 24.Qd2 Bxb1 25.Rxb1 Qh1 26.Kf2 Qxb1 27.Kxg3 a4 28.Bd1 axb3 29.Bxb3 Rfd8 30.Nb5 h5 31.Kg2 Ra6 32.Bd4 Rc8 33.Bf2 Rcc6 (0:00.34) 3268kN

Sliding forward on <24.Qd2>, it looks like instead of taking the Rook, Black has a stronger move in <24...e5>.

[-4.63] d=19 24...e5 25.Nc2 Nxe2 26.Qxe2 Bxf3 27.Qd2 f5 28.Ne1 Qh1 29.Kf2 Bxd1 30.Rxd1 f4 31.Qd5 Qxd5 32.Rxd5 fxe3 33.Kxe3 Ra6 34.c5 dxc5 35.Nd3 b6 36.Rd6 Rfa8 37.Ke4 a4 38.Rc6 axb3 39.axb3 R8a7 (0:23.56) 172280kN

Jan-09-09  Crocomule: Lilienthal-Nezh '51.. among many others
Jan-09-09  njchess: The obvious Qh1+ allows the White king to slip away. The only other forcing move is Be4 leading to an exchange of queens along the h1-a8 diagonal. After that, Black's pawn mass and piece mobility should be sufficient enough to force a win. Time to check.
Jan-09-09  SamAtoms1980: Could I have gotten this? Probably. Did I get this? Not even close.
Jan-09-09  cyclon: Great.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: I love the way that Larsen grabs the initiative after 15...e6, finally ignoring the pressure on the d6 pawn with Qh4 and then sac'ing the bishop on g3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: <Leo1992: After 23...Be4! 24.Qc3 Bxb1 25.Rxb1 is not clear how black can win,i think it's close to a draw>

25....e5 looks nasty because if the white knight on d4 moves, there's a killer fork on e2 in the works. 24.Qd2 is better than Qc3.

Jan-09-09  peristilo: Hei, Marmot pfl, I´m a big fan of Larsen, but u r totally right!
Jan-09-09  wals: Peter Heine Nielsen - Bent Larsen, DEN-ch Esbjerg 1997

Analysis by Rybka 3 1-cpu 32-bit: Time 69 min 12 sec

1. (-2.89): 23...Be4 24.fxe4 Qh1+ 25.Kf2 Nxe4+ 26.Qxe4 Qxe4 27.Rh1 d5 28.Bf3 Qe5[] 29.Ne2 Qf5 30.Rbc1 Rac8 31.Rh4 Qf6 32.Rch1 h5 33.cxd5 e5 34.Kg3 Rc2 35.b4

2. (-0.60): 23...f5 24.Bf1 Qh1+[] 25.Kf2 Qh2+ 26.Ke1 Be4 27.Qd2[] Qh1 28.Qg2 Qxf1+ 29.Qxf1 Nxf1 30.Kxf1 Bxb1 31.Rxb1 Ra6 32.Bg5 e5 33.Nb5 a4 34.Nc7 Rc6 35.Nd5 Kg7 36.bxa4 Rf7 37.Rb4 h6 38.Be7 g5

(, 10.01.2009)

Jan-09-09  Marmot PFL: <peristilo> I played this game over and can't believe this was the 3rd sac he played, first Bxg3 then Nxe4 (which white couldn't take) then 23...Be4! The first 2 were easy to find but the 3rd is wonderful. The only thing I didn't like about Larsen was that he bragged that he would be WC then made excuses about the weather in Denver when he lost to RJF.

23.... e5
24.Nb2 e4
25.Qe2 exf3
26.Bf1 Qh1+
27.Kf2 Qh2+

And then trying to get the either the passed pawn through or get a mate combo, which I did not analyse in more detail, because my brain gave in.

However I thought the position had advantage.
I am sure you find a reason why this is not working, just to make my day... THE Cap

Jan-09-09  patzer2: correction: Earlier I posted <in lieu of 24. Kh1 ) White could have put up more resistance with 24. Kf1 .> However, I meant to say in lieu of 20. Kh1, White could have put up more resistance with 20. Kf1 .

It's complicated, and Black has the edge, but with a little luck and some help from his opponent, I wonder if White just might survive after 20. Kf1 .

Jan-09-09  Patriot: I stared at this for a long time and couldn't see the 1 ply threat.

It's amazing that we first learn not to move our pieces to squares where they can just be taken. Then in order to become a stronger player we must undo that very thing that got us there. This should be very easy because this combination is not deep at all, but the bias against considering moving a piece to defended squares is so strong they become practically impossible to see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: I missed 23....♗e4 as well. As was mentioned, it is easier to find a sacrifice where a capture is made rather than moving to an empty square.
Jan-09-09  crwynn: It's very simple for a friday, if you see the first move, actually I said to myself "it has to be how does that actually win?"
Jan-09-09  xrt999: < fizixgeek: Why not just move the queen? 24.Qd2 Qh1+ 25.Kf2 Qh2+ 26. Ke1 Bxb1 27. Rxb1

Black wins an exchange, but I don't see a clear path to much more.>

Thank you for posting this interesting observation. The only thing I would add to your line is 27...Qh1+ 28.Kf2 Qxb1 29.Kxg3. [Black is ahead material and wants to trade down].

In your line black has Q-R-R and 4 pawns to white's Q-B-B-N, or a material advantage of 5.

In the text black has a Q-R-R and 4 pawns to white's R-R-B-B-N, or an advantage of 5.

The material advantage is 5 in both cases, but in which position is the quality of pieces better? The piece structure is totally different! A presupposition that Larsen evaluated both lines was of course present; my initial reaction then was the text must be superior. I have studied both positions for about a half hour now and cant make any conclsusion.

[At 10 plies your line is -2.97 and the text is -2.69]

Jan-10-09  TheBish: P H Nielsen vs Larsen, 1997

Black to play (23...?), "Difficult" (3 stars). Material roughly equal (Black has three pawns for a piece).

Candidate moves: 23...Qh1+, 23...e5.

The second candidate move (23...e5) can quickly be discounted after 24. Nxc6, and Black has fewer attackers than before! Also, 23...Qh1+ has the shortcoming of allowing the Black monarch to escape, unless there is a fancy knight sac or something, i.e. 23...Qh1+ 24. Kf2 Ne4+ 25. fxe4 Qh4+ (to prevent the king from escaping via e1) 26. Kf1! (or Kg1, but not 26. Kg2? Bxe4+ or 26. Kf3? (to hold e4) f5!, with dual threats of Bxe4+ and fxe4+) Bxe4 27. Qd2 Bxb1 28. Rxb1 Qh1+ 29. Bg1.

Bottom line, with the Bc6 being threatened (which seems key to the attack), and Ne4+ being desirable (after Qh1+ Kf2), it occurred to me I could combine both of these ideas...

32...Be4! (weakening or "softening" e4) 33. fxe4 (or 33. Qd2 Bxb1, winning a rook, as 34. Rxb1 Qh1+ will win an extra exchange) Qh1+ 34. Kf2 Nxe4+ 35.Qxe4 (forced) Qxe4, and Black wins the queen for two pieces and a pawn. So to tally, Black ends up with a queen and four pawns for three pieces, or a four point advantage. That should be plenty!

Sep-26-11  Everett: <Marmot PFL: I didn't find this but everybody knows Larsen's play wasn't really sound (6-0).>

And here Larsen is, nearly three decades later, giving all of us such an extreme example of chess beauty.

Dec-22-12  wordfunph: "The night before he beat me in 1997, we had been analysing and speaking about many things till two in the morning, and apparently it was me who got tired."

- Peter Heine Nielsen

Jul-26-14  Xeroxx: Be4 nice move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fiercebadger: I like the way Larsen gets his rooks in to the game,with ..a4 and Rc8 ..d5 he must open files before the 3 minors get active
Premium Chessgames Member
  fiercebadger: Also ..15 e6! who would play this , creating a weakness on d6 but Larsen senses the hidden dynamics
Jan-22-19  John Abraham: excellent tactics
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