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LCB, Issue #038 --, It's a Good Day for a King Hunt
July 01, 2018

A Good Day for a King Hunt

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #038 -- GOTM #7

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We find ourselves in the famous chess city of Hastings in 1987. Lasker and Pillsbury are no longer around to wow the fans but some great chess is still being played. This year throws up another remarkable contest.

Bent Larsen of Denmark takes on Australia's Murray Chandler. Larsen is well known for his unpredictable, unconventional and adventurous style. Chandler is a player of similar strength.

The two get to it with Larsen playing White and choosing the Reti Opening. The game stays in book until Larsen decides to liven things up. He trades his Queen for a Rook and Knight. From there on he gets his pieces working together with beautiful harmony as he closes in on the Black King.

A Good Day for a King Hunt

Larsen, B (2570) - Chandler, Murray G (2575) [A09]

GotM #7 - Hastings, 1987
[Connaughton, Ken]


Zukertort Opening. This move can transpose into just about anything.

1...d5 2.c4

Larsen, a big fan of the Flank Openings takes the opportunity to enter the Reti Opening.


Advance Variation.

(The main moves here were 2...c6 or 2...e6. The Exchange Variation, 2...dxc4 was also available. Even 2...Nf6 is often selected.)


The Fianchetto Bishop is one of the main features in the Reti.

(Sometimes 3.e3, 3.d3 or 3.b4 gets played. But it's just a question of move order as White will reach the same general set up one way or another.)

3...g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e5 6.0-0 Ne7 7.b4

White will expand on the Queenside, Black can try on the Kingside and/or center.

7...0-0 8.Nbd2

Game position after 8.Nbd2

The game reaches a well known position.

(8.a4 is a distant second choice.)

8...a5 9.b5 c5 10.bxc6 Nexc6

(10...Nbxc6 is played only on the rare occasion. The e7-Knight does not look comfortable here.)

11.Ba3 Nb4 12.Qb3

(12.Ne1 Re8 13.Nc2)


(12...Qe7 worked better for Black in Malaga in 2001: 13.Ne1 Bh6 14.Ndf3 Re8 15.Nc2 N8c6 16.Bxb4 Nxb4 17.Rfb1 Na6 18.Qa3 Qc7 19.Qb2 Nc5 20.Na3 Qe7 21.Nb5 Rb8 22.Nd2 Bxd2 23.Qxd2 b6 24.Qc2 Bb7 25.Rb2 Bxg2 26.Kxg2 Rbd8 27.Rd1 f5 28.Qd2 Rd7 29.Qh6 Qf6 30.h4 e4 31.Rc2 Qc6 32.Kh2 exd3 33.exd3 Qf3 34.Qd2 f4 35.Re1 fxg3+ 36.fxg3 Re3 37.Rxe3 dxe3 38.Qe2 Qxe2+ 39.Rxe2 Rxd3 40.Kg2 Ne4 41.Kf3 Nd2+ 42.Kf4 Nxc4 43.Rc2 Nd2 44.Rc8+ Kf7 45.Nc3 b5 46.Ne2 Nc4 47.Rc5 Nd6 48.g4 Ra3 49.Rc7+ Ke6 50.Kf3 Rxa2 51.Nf4+ Ke5 52.Rc5+ Kf6 53.g5+ Ke7 54.Rc7+ Ke8 55.Rxh7 Nf5 56.Ne2 Ra1 57.h5 gxh5 58.Rxh5 Kf7 59.Rh8 a4 60.Rb8 a3 61.Rb7+ Kg6 62.Kg4 Rf1 0-1 (62) Valdes,L (2338)-Gleizerov,E (2586) Malaga 2001)

13.Bxb4 axb4 14.a3 bxa3 15.Qxa3

White controls the open files and his fianchettoed Bishop looks more potent than Black's. Black has to get his pieces into play and put his Bishop Pair to work.


We're out of book in this middlegame and both players will see what they can get out of the position.

(Black went with 15...Bd7 in Duisburg in 1992 and shared the point: 16.Rfb1 Nc7 17.Qb2 Rxa1 18.Qxa1 b5 19.Qa5 bxc4 20.Nxc4 f6 21.Rb7 Ne6 22.Bh3 Qxa5 23.Nxa5 Bc8 24.Rb8 Bd7 25.Rb7 Bc8 26.Rb8 Bd7 27.Rb7 Bc8 28.Rb8 Bd7 ½-½ (28) Fancsy,I (2335)-Liiva,R Duisburg 1992)

16.Rfb1 f5

Looks risky to expose the King but he needs to give his pieces activity and to break up White's center.

(16...Nc7 was the other candidate move.)

17.Ne1 Nc7

Game position after 17...Nc7

Played to force exchanges of White's heavy pieces in order to diffuse the threat.


(Black must have been expecting 18.Qc1 with exchanges to follow: 18...Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Bh6 20.Qc2 b6 21.Nef3 Na6 with a drawn position.)


(Black didn't go for 18...Nxd5 19.Qxa8 Nc3 20.Rxb7 Nxe2+ 21.Kf1 Bxb7 22.Qxb7 Nc3 with advantage to White.)


Takes a love for adventure to even consider this.

(White could opt for the quiet life with 19.Qb3 Rxa1 20.Rxa1 b5 21.Bc6 bxc4 22.Qxc4 Be6 23.Qc5 Qe7 but Larsen was never that kind of player.)

19...Nxa8 20.Rxa8

Game position after 20.Rxa8

White gets Rook and Knight for the Queen, he also has some impetus.

20...Bh6 21.Ndf3 Qe7

Has Black neutralized the danger?

22.Bxb7 Bd7

(22...Bxb7 23.Rxb7 (23.Rxe8+ is not so good: 23...Qxe8 24.Rxb7 Kg8 and Black has whatever edge there is.) 23...Qf8 (23...Qxb7 24.Rxe8+ Kg7 25.Rxe5 Qb2 26.Kf1 and White should win.) 24.Raa7 Kg8 25.Rxh7 g5 26.Nc2 and Black has serious issues.)

23.Rxe8+ Bxe8 24.Bd5

Game position after 24.Bd5

In terms of material White is up by a passed pawn. Material imbalances always make for the most interesting battles.

24...Qd6 25.Rb7 g5 26.h4 gxh4?

(26...g4 is much more solid. Opening the road for White's Knights to pick their way through did nothing for Black's chances.)

27.Nxh4 Bd7 28.Nef3

White is gradually improving with every move after Black's minor error on move 26.

28...f4 29.Be4

Larsen is maneuvering his pieces into their optimum positions rather impressively.

29...fxg3 30.fxg3 Be3+

(30...Bc8 was the other move to be considered.)

31.Kg2 Bg4

Chandler disregards the pin on h7. Maybe he feels like it's kill or be killed.


(32.Bxh7 Bh5 33.Be4)

32...Kg8 33.Rb7 Qa6?

Game position after 33...Qa6?

Black finally cracks under the building pressure. A Bishop move would have been better.

(Such as 33...Bc8; or 33...Be6)


White shows Black e2, believing that his attack is faster and deadlier.


Black believes this too. White has forced him on to the defensive in this battle of wills.


Suddenly the Bishop looks vulnerable.


Getting out of any potential pin and trying to force the Rook away.


Game position after 36.Nhg6+

Maintaining the Rook and now all of White's pieces are secure. He forces the Black King back to g8 enabling him to win the Bishop.

36...Kg8 37.Rxe6

Black can't take the Rook because the pin would follow winning the Queen.


Black desperately looks for counterplay but to no avail. White sets into motion a brilliant, forced mating combination and the Queen won't move again.

(37...Qxe6 38.Bd5 Qxd5+ 39.cxd5 and the Knights ensure that the King can't stop the d-pawn from promoting.)

38.Re8+ Kg7 39.Re7+ Kh6 40.Ng4+ Kh5 41.Re5+!

Game position after 41.Re5+!

Using the g4-Knight as bait.


Black sees the danger but his goose is cooked either way.


And now Black must take.

42...Kxg4 43.Bf3#


Game position after 43.Bf3#

Larsen - Chandler (Hastings, 1987)

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