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Bent Larsen vs Wolfgang Uhlmann
Larsen - Uhlmann Candidates Quarterfinal (1971), Las Palmas ESP, rd 9, May-30
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System (C07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-11-09  AESTRADAR: 39.R:c4... Step by step WHITE ncreases their superiority. Sein bishop is stronger than the knight, now the isolated pawn will become the target for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: An intriguing game and also intriguing are Larsen's comments in "Bent Larsen's Best Games: Fighting Chess with the Great Dane".

The Opening

Larsen notes that 14..a6 was an innovation, 14..Qd7 having been played in Ivkov vs Portisch, 1965 (a 19 move draw).

10..a6 is the more modern treatment of this variation in the French Tarrasch.

Note also that Uhlmann tried

17..Re8 in Browne vs Uhlmann, 1973 (1/2-1/2 in 26)

and 16..Ne6 in Tseshkovsky vs Uhlmann, 1976 (1/2-1/2 in 48)

Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: The Middle Game

Larsen did not like 20..b5 but suggested no alternative. This seems a retrospective judgement since the Q-side pawns are a major factor in the endgame later.

Larsen also didn't like 22..Nh5 suggesting that Uhlmann played to complicate owing to the match situation. He thought exchanging Rooks was better and for sure 22..Rxe1+ 23 Rxe1 Ne4 looks OK for Black.

Larsen liked his position after 25 Qd8+ pointing out that 25 Qd5 Nf6 26 Qa8+ Kh7 27 Rd8 Rd6! is fine for Black.

28..g5 didn't attract a comment but Black was running out of useful moves so maybe it has to be played.

Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: The Endgame

36 Kg3 the King is exposed to a Knight check on this square and so it is not clear why this was preferred to 36 Kg4.

40..Nf6 there is not much in it but going back with 40..Ng7 is worth considering since f5 looks a better square than d5 for the Knight.

43..Kf7 was the sealed move.

50..Ng8 Larsen: "This came as a surprise, though it was probably the best defence. Had he not done this, my next move 51 Kg3! would have been even stronger." That's what appears on the printed page but the annotation (Kg3 is a strong move?) is hard to grasp. Uhlmann's 50..Ng8 though is easier to understand: he aims to re-route the Knight to f5.

click for larger view

53..Nc6 This is the beginning of Uhlmann's woes. He could sacrifice the a-pawn brilliantly with 53..Rf3+! 54 Kg2 Nf5 55 Rxa6+ Kh5 eg 56 a4 Rb3 57 b5 Nh4+ 58 Kf1 Nf3 59 Bg3 Rb1+ 60 Kg2 Rg1+ 61 Kh3 Ng5+ = To stop ..Nh4 White can try 56 Bf6 but 56..Rb3 57 Ra5 Kg6 58 Bd8 e3! holds.

55..Nc4 Larsen: 56..Nc6? 57 Bc3 with advantage. It is hard to see much of an advantage though. White can go for the Plan A of creating a Q-side passed pawn or go for the Plan B of picking up one of the loose e4 and h6 pawns.

Plan A: 57 a4 Ke6 58 Kf4 Kd5 59 Ke3 Kc4 and Black is totally fine.

plan B: 57 Bd2 Nd4! 58 Bxh6 Nc2 59 Bc1 Ke5 60 Kg4 Kd5!(60..Kd4? 61 Kf4) 61 Kf4 Kd4 =

57 a5 Larsen: "A horrible move but probably the best one available." 57 b5 is tempting but doesn't appear to win: 57..axb5 58 axb5 Nd6 59 b6 h5 (60 Bc5 Nb7 61 Bb4 e3! =) 60 Kh4 Kg6 61 Be5 Nb7 62 Bf4 Nc5 63 Bd2 Nb7 64 Bb4 Nd8 65 Be7 Nb7 and there is no obvious breakthrough.

58..Ke5?? Larsen: 58..Nb5 59 Kh4 Ke5 60 Kh5 Kd5 61 Kxh6 Na3 62 Kg5 Nc2 =

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