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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Bent Larsen RIP (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Magnus Eisengrim
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From http://www.chessbase.com

Jřrgen Bent Larsen was born in Thisted, Denmark, on March 4th, 1935. He was the greatest chess player his country has ever produced, and was among the top ten in the world for fifteen years. He started slowly, but in 1954 at the age of 19 he won the Danish championship, and did it again every time he entered for the next ten years. He also became an International Master in 1954. He played for his country at the Olympiads and in 1956 obtained Gold for his +11 =6 –1 on board one. That earned him the title of International Grandmaster and the suspicion of the Soviet chess functionaries as the first Western player to present a serious challenge to their dominance. He was awarded the first Chess Oscar in 1967.

Larsen went on to win three Interzonal tournaments – 1964 in Amsterdam, where he shared first with two former and one future world champions, 1967 in Sousse and 1976 in Biel. He and Mikhail Tal were the only players to achieve this. In the 1965 Candidates matches he lost in the semi-final to Mikhail Tal, and in 1968 he lost the semi-final to Boris Spassky, who went on to win the title. In 1971 Larsen infamously lost the Candidates semi-final to Bobby Fischer with a devastating 0:6 score. Fischer went on to win the title in 1972. In 1988 Larsen lost a game to Deep Thought, becoming the highest FIDE ranked player (at 2560) and the first Grand Master to be defeated by a computer in tournament play.

Larsen was always an uncompromising, fighting player, and also famous for using unusual openings. He was one of the very few modern grandmasters who regularly played Bird's Opening (1.f4), and the opening move 1.b3 is called the Larsen Opening in his honour.

In the USSR vs Rest of the World match at Belgrade 1970, he played first board for the World side, ahead of Fischer, and scored 2.5/4 against Spassky and Leonid Stein. In the latter part of his life Larsen lived in Buenos Aires with his Argentinian wife Marta. He continued to play occasionally in tournaments – In 1999 he finished 7th out of 10 in the Danish Championship, and he was 4th in the 2002 Najdorf Memorial knock-out in Buenos Aires.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
MagicSanta
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I'm sorry he's been removed from the board of life.
Nosher
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I liked Larsen, he was quite a character. I admired that he demanded to play first board in the USSR vs. Rest of the World because his recent results were better than Fischer's. He was a fighter and sometimes that did not turn out so well for him.

One of Monokroussos' commenters had a nice story. In his last tournament in 2008 he was playing 'rubbish openings' and was 0/8. His last round opponent offered him a draw so the great Larsen would not suffer the ignominy of a set of duck eggs. Larsen refused the draw - and went on to lose - still fighting.

RIP Bent & thanks for the games.
Escapemaster-in-chief from all sorts of houdingplaces - Finnegans Wake
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2010-09-10 22:57, Nosher wrote:
I liked Larsen, he was quite a character. I admired that he demanded to play first board in the USSR vs. Rest of the World because his recent results were better than Fischer's. He was a fighter and sometimes that did not turn out so well for him.

One of Monokroussos' commenters had a nice story. In his last tournament in 2008 he was playing 'rubbish openings' and was 0/8. His last round opponent offered him a draw so the great Larsen would not suffer the ignominy of a set of duck eggs. Larsen refused the draw - and went on to lose - still fighting.

RIP Bent & thanks for the games.


I remember ol "Mono" from the 1986 U.S. Junior Open. Also saw him take the theism side of a debate against an atheist at a college in So. Cal.

As for Bent Larsen, that's really a drag. Not only was he a top 10 player for quite a while, he was #3 for a year or so, and in the top 5 for a few years, as well as being the best non-Soviet after Fischer for several years. He played to win, and was not afraid to lose (it was his fighting spirit, not his ability, that resulted in the 0-6 against Fischer; when he got behind early, he was always trying to come back and win the match, so he took chances. He certainly could have lost by a narrow margin, but that wasn't the goal). He produced some beautiful, original games, and had Fischer sat out the '70-'72 cycle, he would have been about an equal favorite (with Petrosian) to win the right to challenge Spassky for the world title. He and Petrosian were significantly lower rated than Fischer, and significantly higher rated than the other 5 candidates. I think I'll revisit the 2nd Piatagorsky Cup, in his honor.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
MagicSanta
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Geeeezus....I don't even know where all the pieces go on a chess board.
Chessmann
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Everyone seemed to have nothing negative to say about the man. I always admired him, simply from what I have read in bios of other chess players. Maybe someone will write his - if it hasn't been done already.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
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