Bent Larsen Dies Aged 75

  • SonofPearl
  • on 9/11/10, 2:03 PM.

bent_larsen1.jpgDanish Chess legend Bent Larsen has passed away aged 75 after a short illness.

Larsen was a hugely successful tournament player with a uniquely creative and combative style.  He championed unfashionable opening variations such as 1.f4 (Bird's Opening) and 1.b3 which now bears his name (Larsen's Opening).

Larsen was one of the few western chess players who seriously challenged for the world chess title during the era of Soviet dominance, always willing to take a risk to unbalance the position and create problems for his opponents - and himself - to solve.

During his career he won three Interzonal tournaments, with his path to the ultimate title only blocked by the very best: Mikhail Tal in the 1965 candidates matches, Boris Spassky in 1968, and Bobby Fischer in 1971.

Bent Larsen was instrumental in popularising chess in Denmark, and was the strongest player to emerge from the Scandanavian area until Magnus Carlsen's recent ascent. 

Larsen was a very popular figure in the chess world and also a gifted writer on the game.  He is perhaps best known for playing on top board for the "Rest of The World" team (ahead of Bobby Fischer) against the Russians in the famous 1971 match.  He reached his peak playing strength around this time, being ranked #3 in the world behind Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.

During his career he claimed the scalps of Mikhail Botvinnik, Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov.

Rest In Peace, Bent Larsen.





12227 reads 56 comments
8 votes


  • 6 months ago


    Immense joueur!

  • 5 years ago


  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


      I spent some time with Larson when he visited Philadelphia, PA. At events, like the simuls he gave, he always had time to talk to the average player with courtesy. He was opinionated but showed no air of superiority or arrogance. He was a gentleman and class act.

     One thing has always troubled me. While driving him somewhere, I opined that his opening 1.P-QN3, which was popular at the time, could be used as a black defense against 1.e4. I stated that it had gotten a bad reputation from Paul Morphy winning games against it but Morphy would have won against any defense because he was the much stronger player. Larson adamantly disagreed. I did not pursue the discussion further because he was a world-class player and had given more thought to the opening than I. It was the year of the U.S.Open being held in Atlantic City,in which he competed. Several months after he returned to Europe, I saw a game score from a tournament where he played his opening as black against 1.e4! It was against Unzinger, I believe, and Larson lost. I felt guilty that I might have planted the seed for that notion in his head and that he might have done that if we hadn't had that discussion.

  • 6 years ago


    RIP GM Larsen.


    Your Soul in Chess still around.

  • 6 years ago


    poor guy. He was a great player.CryFrownYell

  • 6 years ago


    R.I.P GM Larsen

  • 6 years ago


    Very sad to hear this news, Bent was a true giant of the game. He style was so unusual that Tigran Petrosian once gave a lecture entitled 'Bent Larsen is it possible to play this way?'  He was unlucky in that as Spassky faded he would have had a real chance to become become world champ if Bobby had not been around. RIP Benny. 

  • 6 years ago


    Sad to hear great players die. But good to hear about the legacy they left behind. I am an avid fan of Bobby Fischer, but I I was fascinated about GM Larsen's games against GM Fischer. A very strong and influential player. RIP.

  • 6 years ago


    75 is to young to die, I'll be 75 this month. Bent was a great player.

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    I always respect good chess players from all around the world and you are one of them. You are a legend. RIP Larsen.

  • 6 years ago


    Very sad to hear this news. He was very much of an inspiration for me getting serious about studying chess. More so than any other practitioner of the game, mostly due to the unusual opening 1.b3 which I first learned about in 1979 and which is named for him. I didn't get serious about chess in 1979 but when I did in 2005, I played 1.b3 and I still do. After that I ran into his name frequently and the more I learned about him, the more I found that was likable, respectable and admirable.

    I have a book, "Karpov vs. Korchnoi The World Chess Championship 1978" which is reported, described and annotated by Bent Larsen and is the first chess book to make me laugh out load while reading it. He was funny, witty, sarcastic, clever and the list goes on. 

    Here are my two favorite quotes of Bent Larsen;

    "...chess doesn’t have a strict criterion of correctness – chess is a multiform game!"

    and, while registering for a tournament, "My wife is my second."


  • 6 years ago


    I made a video for him(and you of course):

    Mr. Larsen rest in peace.

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    I hope You are playing again Belgrade 1970 somewhere else now.

    Rest in peace Benny !

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    R.I.P Mr Larsen

  • 6 years ago


    R I P

    very impressive gameplays

  • 6 years ago


    When discussing the names of the greatest players to never hold the title, his name belongs with Bronstein and Korchnoi.

    Thanks and sleep well Bent.

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