Magazine article The Spectator

Centurion

Magazine article The Spectator

Centurion

Article excerpt

This year marks a number of important centenaries. Last week I mentioned the centenary of the RAC chess circle, with its hundred-board simultaneous display, while in this issue I celebrate the 100th anniversaries of the births of Sammy Reshevsky and Mikhail Botvinnik, two luminaries who contributed so much to the heritage of chess. This week's game was one I saw being played, since I was sitting at the adjacent board during this tournament.

Reshevsky-Larsen: Palma de Mallorca 1971;

Schmidt Benoni 1 d4 c5 2 d5 d6 3 e4 Nf6 4 Nc3 g6 5 Nf3 Bg7 6 Be2 0-0 7 0-0 Na6 8 Nd2 Nc7 9 a4 a6 10 f3 Bd7 11 Nc4 b5 12 Nb6 Rb8 13 a5 Be8 14 Be3 Nd7 15 Nxd7 Bxd7 16 Qd2 b4 17 Nd1 Bb5 The alternative was 17 . . .

e6, in order after 18 Bg5 Qe8 19 Bf4 e5 to close the centre and begin play on the kingside with . . .

f7-f5. But Larsen's choice also does not reduce Black's possibilities. 18 Bxb5 axb5 19 Ra2 Ra8 20 Nf2 e6 21 dxe6 Nxe6 22 f4 Reshevsky notices a hidden flaw in Larsen's operation: Black's queen moves away from the kingside, thanks to which White gains an opportunity to begin active play there at the cost of the a5-pawn. 22 . . . Rxa5 23 Rxa5 Qxa5 24 f5 Nd4 25 Bh6 Qd8 26 Ng4 Qh4 (see diagram 1) Apparently in his preliminary calculations Larsen thought that the rapid return of the queen to the kingside would solve all his problems, and that his extra pawn would then tell. …

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