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Leonid Stein vs Bent Larsen
Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), Amsterdam NED, rd 21, Jun-17
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Immediate Fianchetto (E60)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-29-06  Albertan: The move 6...Bg4 is rarely played in top level chess.

The move 8...Qc8 has only been played in one other game since this game was played.

It is interesting that Larsen offered a pawn sacrifice on move 13 and that Stein declined it.It would have been a temporary pawn sacrifice as this variation shows: 14. cxb5 axb5 15. Nxb5 Nxb5 16. axb5 Qd7 17. Qb3 Rab8 18. Ra5 Rb6 19. Qc4 Rfb8 20. b4 cxb4 21. Rb1 Rxb5 22. Rxb5 Qxb5 23. Rxb4 Qe8

Aug-29-06  Albertan: Another idea for White on move 27
was to play 27.Qa4. A sample variation involving this move is: 27. Qa4 Nf6 28. Nxf6+ exf6 29. Rxb8 Rxb8 30. Qc6 Ne8 31. Re1 Qc8 32. Re7 Qd8

On move 29 Stein could have been more aggressive by playing 29.Rb6 and play might have continued: 29...Rbc8 30.Bh3 Rcd8 31.f5 Qe5

On move 31 Larsen blundered when he played 31...Qe6?? Stein could have played 32.Rb7! and after 32...Re7 33.Rxc7! won a piece (as Larsen could not play 33...Rxc7?? because of 34.Bd5 winning the Black queen for a bishop).

Larsen resigned on move 41 as would go down a second pawn after:

41...Re1+ 42. Kf2 Ra1 43. Rd7+ Kc8 44. Rxd6 Rxa5 45. Rxg6 Ra2+ 46. Ke3

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Albertan> <On move 31 Larsen blundered when he played 31...Qe6?? Stein could have played 32.Rb7! and after 32...Re7 33.Rxc7! won a piece (as Larsen could not play 33...Rxc7?? because of 34.Bd5 winning the Black queen for a bishop).>

Wow! I can't believe these guys didn't see that... Time pressure? I doubt that's enough of an excuse. Larsen was not known to get into time pressure, was he? (I don't know about Stein in that respect.) And both were super GMs.

Regardless of that stain, it is a beautiful strategic game. Stein maneouvered his pieces admirably all along. He realized Larsen's queen was misplaced on f5--therefore 21.Ne4!... a move that many of us would be hesitant to play because of the self-pin (and against Larsen!) He pretends he is going for g4, but then fixes the kingside with h4 consolidating Black's weak pawn structure. And finally, once everything settles on the kingside, Black's pieces on the queenside are severely uncoordinated, with a knight that has few and umcomfortable squares available.

Overall, Larsen set up the game on the queenside as the textbook indicates, but his Queen's expedition to the kingside seems to have been the strategic flaw.

Beautiful game.

Dec-21-10  Albertan: Hi Mariano,thanks for wanting to discuss this interesting game! :)

<Albertan> <On move 31 Larsen> <blundered when he played 31...Qe6??> <Stein could have played 32.Rb7!> < and after 32...Re7 33.Rxc7! won> <a piece (as Larsen could not play> <33...Rxc7?? because of 34.Bd5> <winning the Black queen for a> bishop).>

<Wow! I can't believe these guys> <didn't see that... Time pressure? > <I doubt that's enough of an excuse.> <Larsen was not known to get into > <time pressure, was he?>

Mariano, I don't think he was but I do not have much evidence in terms of his games with times used to support this assertion.

Yes, I certainly am confounded as to why they did not see this, it must have been time pressure,players of this caliber do not make these kind of oversights,to my way of thinking,what about yours?

<I don't know about Stein in that respect.>

Neither do I.

< And both were super GMs.>

Yes they certainly both were. When Stein passed away, Fischer actually wrote a letter to the Russian Chess Federation expressing how deeply saddened he was by Stein's death,something he didn't do for just any Russian player, considering how he despised some of them!

<Regardless of that stain, it is a> <beautiful strategic game. Stein> <maneouvered his pieces admirably all> <along. He realized Larsen's queen> <was misplaced on f5--therefore> <21.Ne4!... a move that many of us> <would be hesitant to play because of> <the self-pin (and against Larsen!)>

Yes it certainly is a beautiful game from many perspectives,although the mistakes tarnish it somewhat. Personally I hated getting into pins until I played a Ruy Lopez as white and forgot to play h3 allowing the pin against my King's knight. My opponent captured the knight which created a half-open file for me to use to attack his king, and attack I did! I never feared that pin again.

< He pretends he is going for g4,> <but then fixes the kingside with> <h4 consolidating Black's weak pawn> <structure. And finally, once > <everything settles on the kingside,> <Black's pieces on the queenside> <are severely uncoordinated, with a> <knight that has few and> <uncomfortable squares available.>

Yes it was beautiful to play through this game, and admire this positional play you mention.

<Overall, Larsen set up the game on> <the queenside as the textbook> <indicates, but his Queen's> < expedition to the kingside seems> < to have been the strategic flaw.>

Yes I certainly agree with your statement.

<Beautiful game.>

Yes gorgeous! Mariano, by the way, this game is annotated by deceased GM Eduard Gufeld in his book "Leonid Stein:Master of the Risk Strategy" (which I own). This game was very important to Larsen as he was tied for first place with 3 rounds to go with Smyslov and Spassky. Gufeld gives Stein's 6th move of the game a ! He believes Larsen's 15th move of 15...bxc4 is too optimistic and assigns it a ?. Gufeld also gives Stein's 19th move of 19.a5 a ! stating "A typical technical method (maybe for GM's :))" White has not only secured a stronghold for the future, but he has also deprived the black knight of any activity." Gufeld assigns Larsen's 19th move the ?! (dubious move) symbol, stating, "Playing into White's hands." Then on move 26 Gufeld gives Stein's 26.Kh2 a ! stating, "Stein was unrecognizable in this game acting in the spirit of the best positional squeeze." Gufeld also assigns Stein's 29.Qa4 the ! mark, stating, "that Larsen probably more than once in the opening regretted parting with his light-squared bishop. Gufeld gives Stein's 34th move of the game 34.Rb6 a ! stating, "simple and reliable." In addition Gufeld assigns Stein's last move in the game the good move symbol (!) as well!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: Larsen had secured his place in the Candidates in the previous round. He has himself used that as an excuse for his poor play in this game, and there could be some truth to that.
Feb-08-12  drukenknight: is 37...Nf6 any better?

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