Hans-Walter, please invite Mr Larsen next year!

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bent LarsenLast week the legendary Bent Larsen played in his first tournament since 2004. Avoiding theory in every game, the famous Dane only played very exotic openings and scored... 0 out of 9. We urge Hans-Walter Schmitt to invite Larsen for his Chess960 tournament in Mainz next year.

It was Hans Ree's column in the Dutch newspaper NRC that brought our attention to the Magistral Internacional of the Argentine chess club Ruibal in Buenos Aires. It's the first tournament in four years in which the now 73-year-old Bent Larsen participated last week.

The six-time Danish Champion and four-time world championship candidate (in 1965, 1968, 1971, and 1977!) won three Interzonal tournaments and many, many other international tournaments. In 1967 he was awarded the first Chess Oscar. Since the early 1970s Larsen has mostly been living in Buenos Aires, with his Argentinian-born wife. From the year 2000 he only played in a few tournaments over there.

Larsen's tournament result of last week is a bit of a sad story, because in this event he managed to "improve" upon his famous 6-0 loss against Fischer in 1971. In the Buenos Aires tournament he lost all of his games - nine this time!

The reason was not his age and certainly not his lack of chess understanding. No, game after game the famous Dane avoided theory with the most ridiculous moves, like 1.g4 with White or 1.e4 a5 with Black. Even when the Argentine player Carlos Garcia Palermo (one of Larsen's opponents in the good old days) offered a draw after seven moves, Larsen refused and lost terribly.

Garcia Palermo-Larsen

In the seventh round the old rivals Garcia Palermo and Larsen met

Here are all games by Larsen played last week in Buenos Aires:

Larsen: why not 1.g4?

Against Ramiro Dos Santos: why not 1.g4?

In his column, Hans Ree writes that he's afraid that Larsen might be very ill. Let's hope for the best for the great Dane.

After he couldn't manage to get Bobby Fischer to Mainz, we're urging Hans-Walter Schmitt, the organizer of the annual Chess Classic, to invite and fly over Bent Larsen to Mainz next year. With Chess960 Larsen should be in his element!?

Update October 12, 0:47

Some of our readers have experienced this article as disrespectful to Mr Larsen. To them I'd like to apologize for an article that could have been written better, and at leat less ambiguous.

Most importantly I'd like to stress that I certainly didn't want to ridicule this great chess player and the word ?¢‚Ǩ?ìridiculous?¢‚Ǩ? for his opening moves in this tournament was perhaps too harsh. I do think that his openings were simply too exotic for this level of play, and that they were of great effect on the negative results of the games.

Furthermore, my suggestion to let Mr Larsen play in Mainz wasn't intended to be offending at all. I am simply under the impression that Mr Larsen is, like Fischer was, fed-up with opening theory and he might enjoy Chess960 much more than classical chess.

Bent Larsen is one of the greatest, most original and most interesting chess players the chess world has ever known and his collection of best games is almost automatically (and widely regarded as) one of the best chess books ever. I would never consider ridiculing one of the icons in chess history.

Peter Doggers Editor-in-chief, ChessVibes

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