Bent Larsen Dies Aged 75
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Danish 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.