Gruendfeld and Larsen and some 1960's history
When checking the database re a vote chess match I came across a game which was played between two players with famous names in chess who I didn't think it possible could have played each other. The game was played between Bent Larsen and Ernst Gruenfeld in the Netherlands in 1961. I didn't think they could have played as Gruenfeld is associated with the inter-war years, when he played at a high level against players such as Alekhine, and his name is now famous as he gave his name to the defence which is one of the most popular against 1.d4. In their book Oxford Companion to Chess (1984) Hooper and Whylde state that for a short period after The First World War Gruendfeld was one of the best eight or nine players in the World. Larsen often referred to as the Great Dane, was one of the best players in the world in the 60's and 70's. He is the only top player who regularly played the move 1.b3, Fischer played it very successfuly but only 2 or 3 times. Some sources describe 1.b3 as Larsen's Opening
I mentioned this game to a friend who had further information about the game. In the 1960's for a tournament to qualify to be eligible to award GM and IM norms there had to be a quota of titled foreign players taking part in that tournament. Apparently for some events those rules still apply. Organisers of tournaments were keen for their home players to qualify for norms and to this end often invited foreign titled players who were well past their best, they had the required titles but but no longer had a matching playing strength. This happened in a lot of countries, but this particular Dutch tournament probably took it further than most, it even being alleged that organisers scoured the retirement home of Europe in search of titled participants.
This appears to be how Gruenfeld found himself playing in what turned out to be his last tournament. In his game against Larsen Gruendfeld replied to 1.g3 with d5 and by transposition a the Reversed Dragon variation was reached, and to be fair he did not play at all badly, the game went to over 50 moves and went to a rook and pawn ending, so against such a strong opponent that was a respectable performance. However, in another game from the tournament against another strong player of the younger generation, Wolfgang Uhlmann, he lost in 21 moves as white and played really badly. Ironically Uhlmann was an expert in playing the Gruenfeld defence as black. There may be an explanation for this poor performance, could it be something to do with losing a leg on his way to the tournament hall ? Please follow the link for more details, there is a lot of other good stuff there as well.