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Alla Kushnir vs Larry Evans
"Deadlier Than the Male" (game of the day May-21-2022)
Lone Pine (1975), Lone Pine, CA USA, rd 1, Apr-13
Benoni Defense: Uhlmann Variation (A61)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: This game caused quite a sensation at the time. Upon hearing about Larry Evan's defeat in this game, Bobby Fischer called Pal Benko to ask him how Evans explained the fiasco.
Aug-10-07  RookFile: One tends to wonder whether the ...Qxa4 plan was such a great idea.
Sep-06-13  optimal play: <chancho> Reportedly what surprised Fischer the most was that it was a woman who beat Evans!

<<Fischer surfaced from his seclusion recently, at least by telephone, during the Lone Pine Masters' Tournament in California.

In the first round of this event, Israeli-woman player Alla Kushnir defeated American grandmaster Larry Evans.

Another American grandmaster and friend of Fischer's, Pal Benko, related that Fischer rang him to ask how come that Evans could lose to a woman!

Well, the answer lies in the game.

Kushnir develops rapidly, grasps the initiative in the centre and on the king wing, and finishes off her opponent with a beautifully co-ordinated attack of queen, rooks, knight and pawn.

It's a model game.>

- The Canberra Times (ACT) issue Wednesday 5 November 1975>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Another American grandmaster and friend of Fischer's, Pal Benko, related that Fischer rang him to ask how come that Evans could lose to a woman!>

Remember reading Fischer's comment at the time--most probably in CL&R--and being amused.

On this day, the female of the species was certainly deadlier than the male.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <"The real surprise of the round was the game between Alla Kushnir and Larry Evans. Evans later told me that '...Bobby even called Benko to ask how I could lose to a woman.'"> -- "Chess Life & Review, July 1975, p.416, article by David Levy.

Evans came back to finish sole second in the tournament, a half-point behind Vladimir Liberzon.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <PB....Evans came back to finish sole second in the tournament, a half-point behind Vladimir Liberzon.>

Swiss Gambit, don't you know.

May-21-22  Brenin: Faced with White's advancing Ps, Black's defensive play seems very weak, retreating his Ns to f8 and h7, where they remain for the rest of the game, wasting time with Qxa4, exchanging his best minor piece with Bxc3, and then indulging in a ludicrous Q-side advance in the last few moves, when his K-side is collapsing. On the other hand, White's play seems to be exemplary (apart from an over-cautious 32 c4).
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Kushnir finished at 50% in this event, part of a series of very strong open tournaments in that era. She had a *good* result. And perhaps not a surprising one--if Black can't prevent or mitigate the effects of e4-e5 in the Benoni, one can easily end up a "son of sorrow."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knighthawkmiller: 35.Qf7 also wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Perfidious,

The Swiss Gambit, I've used excuse that a few times after a round one loss and then the Double Swiss Gambit - losing round two as well!

The Swiss Gambit is viable if there are only a few strong players to avoid, after this loss Evans had to play one IM and then eight GM's.

Without trying to sound patronising it would have a been a bit too obvious. I'm thinking a very slight case of underestimation mixed with a player having an inspired game. This is a good game and it won the round one Brilliancy Prize.

It certainly gave him a kick up jacksie.

Here we have a mini report on the tournament from a player who was actually there.

"He [Evans] went on to have the tournament of his life and might have won if the last round pairings hadn't been rigged to deny him the obvious last-round board-one pairing against Statham favoured Vlad Liberzon."

Evans vs L Day, 1975 (kibitz #2)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Geoff>, Larsen employed the gambit to great effect at the same site, three years on:

Lone Pine (1978)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi periidious,

Thanks, that is a perfect example, a round one loss then 5 wins on the bounce v players outside the top 15, a draw with the 2nd place player and then two wins.

Lone Pine (1978)

but I'm 100% positive it was not meant, (they very rarely are) this is Larsen whose view was he would not mind losing the odd game, his very successful double-edged style suggested this would happen every now and then.

The Swiss Gambit is a small reckoning to take the sting out of losing in the first round, it's also a great excuse.

May-21-22  spingo: Men take brave decisions.

click for larger view

19...Bxc3!! followed by

click for larger view

He was as cool as a cucumber!

May-21-22  Brenin: <spingo>: <Men take brave decisions ... 19...Bxc3!! followed by 20...f6!!>

I hope those exclamation marks were ironic, and you meant "brave decisions" in the sense of Yes, Minister, i.e. likely to lead to disaster. Do you really think that Black's position has been improved by exchanging his best minor piece and moving his Maginot Line of Ps forward to meet the advancing enemy? He was already in trouble before these moves, and after them he was in serious trouble. Instead, 17 ... f5,17 ... Bd4+ 18 Kh1 f5, or even 17 ... g5 would have given him better chances.

May-21-22  AlicesKnight: If memory serves, Kushnir had come within a point of Gaprindashvili's title not long before when the latter was still at her peak. Not to be underestimated. I think <Brenin> is right; there was trouble by move 16, when Black is going nowhere.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Kushnir lost her 1972 match as challenger by the odd point, the only close match Gaprindashvili had until losing the title to Chiburdanidze in 1978.
May-22-22  spingo: <Brenin> yes I think Evans was a twit. Only an idiot swaps off that bishop for no reason.

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