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Bent Larsen vs Boris Spassky
Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), Amsterdam NED, rd 22, Jun-19
Bird Opening: Dutch Variation (A03)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-19-06  Albertan: Spassky made a mistake when he played 55....Ne4? . Instead he should have played 55...Rd8 and he would have been okay after 56.Rd1 Re8 57.Kxh4 Rd8 58.Rd4 Rh8 59.Nd5 Ne4

Spassky blundered by playing 58...Ra2?? however even after 58...Rf8 he would have lost after 59.Rg6+ Kh7 60.Kg4 Rb8 61.Kf4 Rb4 62.Rg4 Rb8 63.Kxe4 Ra8 64.f6! exf6 65.Kf5 Re8 66.e4 Ra8 67.e7 Kh6 68.e5 fxe5 69.Kxe5 Kh5 70.Rg1 Kh4 71.Ke6 Ra6+ 72.Kf7 Ra7 73.Kf8 Ra8+ 74.e8 (Q)

Spassky resigned on move 60 possibly due to this continuation: 60...Kg7 61.Rf7+ Kg8 62.Kg5 Rg2+ 63.Kf4 Rf2+ 64.Ke5 Ra2 65.Rxe7 Ra5+ 66.Kf6 Ra8 67.Rg7+ Kf8 68.e7+ Ke8 (the only move) 69.Rg8+ Kd7 70.Rxa8 with a checkmate after: 70...Kc6 71.e8(Q)+ Kc5 72.Qc8+ Kb4 73.Rb8+ Ka5 74.Qc3+ Ka6 75.Qa8 checkmate.

Dec-02-06  Rama: Both Larsen and Spassky were hot in this tournament.

We've seen that Larsen's use of the Bird's was strategical and purposeful. 4. b4 ..., sets up the coming Q-side action. 7. ... c6, is necessary to forestall the advance b4-b5, and then 8. a4 ..., threatens a kind of Minority Attack.

11. d4 ..., blocks the Bb2, but it does much worse things to the black position. At first I did not like 11. ... Ne4, but since ... f5, is always in reserve I can see that the pawn e4 is not all that weak.

The position after 15. Qd1 ..., looks like something that Larsen has prepared in advance. The existence of the move allows the coming 16. c4 ....

The follow-up moves 17. b5 ..., and 19. bxc6 ..., present black with a crisis. Ordinary tactics like 19. ... Nxe3, followed by 20. ... Qxe5, do not work because of 20. cxb7! ..., with the Rb1 ready to support. Spassky's 19. ... b6, is ingenious in that it preserves his Q-side pawn structure, and after 21. ... Qxc6, he regains the material.

22. d5 ..., starts a whole new phase of the game. Somehow, Larsen has spied the e6 square and determines to put his Knight there no matter what the cost. With 24. Nd4 ..., he has it in hand but first makes a series of preparatory moves. When it comes on 31. Ne6 ..., black is reduced to nearly complete passivity. The sequence ending with 35. Nxg5+ ..., shows this clearly.

36. c5! ..., is a master-move. No matter what, white gains access to the checking square a4, and then access to all the white squares in the vicinity of the enemy King.

Black's passivity is now complete. In Zugzwang, he proceeds to wreck his position with pawn advances since his pieces cannot move. White waits until move 52 to play Qe6! which forces the Q-exchange. The threat 54. Nh7 mate, is the point which allows 54. Nxe4 ..., and 55. Nxc3.

But now it is Boris who cooperates with 55. ... Ne4?, which is surely a blunder. After the exchanges, white's pawns regain their mobility and in just three moves it is over -- the e-pawn is going to queen.

Does the presence of 55. ...Rd8, nullify Larsen's masterpiece? Only for chess-theorists. Larsen created the conditions that produced the blunder in the critical game, which in itself is chess of the highest order. Remember, Spassky had obtained 8 points in his last 10 games in this tournament; he was very very tough to beat at this moment.

Dec-06-06  Monoceros: I love the little Ne6+ Kf7 Ng5+ Kf8 dance in this one. It's like a little tempo-generating machine that Larsen uses to get his position ready. Crank it once, Kh2. Crank it again, Kh3...
Apr-24-07  Judah: Tempo-generating? It generates nothing at all.
Apr-24-07  euripides: <52. ... Qh5 53 Ne4 Qf3+ 54 Kh2 and there is no good defense for Rg8.> Here Black could fight on with 54...Qe2+ and if 55.Rg2 Qxg2+ 56.Kxg2 fxe4 when the c pawn is useful; or 55.Kh1 Qf3+ aims for repetition. However, 54.Kxh4 seems to leave Black without any good checks and if 54...Nf7 then 55.Qxf7+ Kxf7 56.Ng5+ and 57.Nxf3 wins a piece.
Aug-20-07  adnol: Hey everyone,

What about

44. Rg7+ for Larsen

Would this be a bad move? It wins him either a queen for a rook and a knight, putting his king in "safety" or otherwise wins him a knight and a pawn, if black doesn't accept the queen lose by Rxe7, Qxe6, although it puts white's king in many many checks and rather a dangerous situation.

What do you guys think about 44. Rg7+ ?

Thanks for all the input

Dec-11-07  mirzafuadi: If 44.Rg7+ Black can hold by simply exchange his Queen with White's Rook and Knight with 44...Qxg7.
Dec-27-07  Riverbeast: A beautiful game from the 'Morozevich' of his day
Jun-28-08  apexin: yes, a very nice game. a classical example of play in this opening (and double bishop sacrifice) is best shown by Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889
Nov-05-08  notyetagm: A *tremendous* win by Larsen using the Bird opening.

If I am correct, this game was played in the very last round of the 1964 Amsterdam Interzonal tournament, with Larsen clinching 1st place due to this win.

Nov-05-08  Eyal: <If I am correct, this game was played in the very last round of the 1964 Amsterdam Interzonal tournament, with Larsen clinching 1st place due to this win.>

The penultimate round, actually. In the final round Spassky managed to win against Quinones (Spassky vs O Quinones, 1964) and make up for this loss, sharing 1st place with Smyslov, Larsen and Tal.

Feb-08-09  veerar: Larsen,a noted,"flank player",lives upto his reputation.His wins against Petrosian are also noteworthy!
Mar-04-09  parisattack: Beautiful 'Play on the Wings' game!
Sep-14-10  Lil Swine: this game actually should be a draw due to three- fold repetition: ( Ne6+, Kf7)
Sep-15-10  Sleeping kitten: There have actually never been more than two repetitions, since positions at moves 43, 46 and 49 were not the same.
Oct-03-10  GRANTZIERER: I submitted a pun for this game: Larenso's oil. Based on the movie Lorenzo's oil which is based on the story of the oldest living case of ALD.
Mar-13-13  Garech: Great game from Larsen.


Aug-04-13  leroquentin: 41.Ne6+ Kf7 42.Rg7+ Kf6 43.Qxa7... - There's no way to avoid mate after Qa1+, I supposed.
Jul-19-17  Xeroxx: Pretty smooth win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: In OMGQ 4 Kasparov quotes Larsen writing about 55...Ne4:

"An amazing misjudgement. After six hours of difficult defense Spassky loses his nerve."

He says 55...Rd8 draws.

Larsen had already qualified for the candidates before this game.

Jun-11-22  Z free or die: There goes <saff> again, never could mind his p's and q's.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Oh just qiss off.
Jun-11-22  Z free or die: Ha! He mused puizzically.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Anyone who objects to the foregoing can qiss up a rope.
Jun-11-22  Z free or die: Qromqtly puash this puackery you qukes!
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