|Bent Larsen (1935-2010) was one of the greatest fighters chess has ever seen. In his rich career the great Dane defeated all World Champions from Botvinnik to Karpov. He was a Candidate for the World Championship four times and became one of the most successful tournament players of his time. His uncompromising style and his unorthodox thinking made him popular with chess players all around the globe.|
In 1967/1968 Larsen won five international elite events in a row, a truly spectacular achievement. His successes were such that Bobby Fischer let him play first board in the legendary match Soviet Union vs. the World in 1970 in Belgrade.
Bent Larsen also was a highly original chess writer and an extremely productive chess journalist. Not surprisingly the first chess book that Magnus Carlsen ever studied was written by the strongest Scandinavian player before him.
This collection brings together more than 120 of Bent Larsen’s best games, annotated by himself. His comments are lucid, to the point, instructive and humorous. Together, these games are a tribute to his genius and a continuous joy to read and play through.
The return of a great classic with new material
By Mojojojo50 on Sep 10, 2014
From 1964 to 1971, Bent Larsen & Bobby Fischer were the only non-Russians in the worlds top ten. Up to 1970, Larsen's record was better than Fischer's. He had won 2 interzonals, qualified for to the semi-finals of the Candidates three times, actually won 5 international tournaments in one year (!!), beaten Tal & Geller in match play and defeated several world champions (including the unbeatable Petrosian twice in the same event!!). His games feature a range of openings (QP, Flank Openings, Larsen's Opening, Sicilian, KID, Nimzo, Vienna, Bishops, ... with loads of innovations). He can be described as a Neo-Nimzowitchean with clever tactics, unusual strategic ideas in semi-closed positions, out-standing endgame technique. Larsen usually moved quickly through his opening phase, intending to reach a dynamic position testing who is the better player. He consistently refused draws no matter who was his opponent. His aversion of draws worked well in tournament play, but strategic draws are a necessity in match play, where Spassky & Fischer destroyed him. I have had his 1969 classic ('Selected Games') since the late 70's. I regularly return to it for the beautiful play and great writing; (incidently I prefer it to Fischer's book from the same year). This new book has those 50 Selected Games translated from Descriptive to Algebraic Notation, + 70 more games from a second volume translated from a spanish edition,+ 2 wins over Karpov, and a 20 page introduction by Nielsen + a couple pages of homage from peers. Larsen's prose is a delight. Lots of humor, humanity, excellent explanations about what is going on with deep details of his thinking at that moment. The chapters are arranged by years, with introductions, life details, tournament background, and chat about other players. Most of the explanations are in words, detailed variations are accurate, and New In Chess added many tournament crosstables and loads of photos. The production values are perfect. His writing style is similar to Tal's Life & Games or Seirawan's Chess Duels(which is actually dedicated to Larsen). This book can be satisfactorily read by 1200's up to GM level. The creative ideas have not dated, yet the writing makes them understandable. His chess career was in the pre-computer age & pre-Fischer boom. When almost all non-Soviet GMs worked at a day-job, (eg Reshevsky was an accountant who used his vacations to play tournaments). As a rare professional, Larsen depended on his meager prize money from high placing in tournaments, simultaneous displays, and his witings for chess magazines (incidently Fischer wrote a monthly column in Boys Life magazine). Only the Soviets had trainers (often former elite GMs). In in their teens, they received a vigorous doses of training at the Pioneer Club. In the 1950s & 60s, Larsen depended on a few Danish chessbooks (especially Nimzowitsch) and later (like Fischer), he learned enough 'chess Russian' to read the Soviet magazines. Also like Fischer, to reach the highest level required winning every local event in order to qualify for the competitions against the world class Soviets. Larsen's biographic writing gives a feel of the period. While this back story is fascinating, the reason most of us buy chessbooks are for out-standing games, with excellent notes in books that hold up to repeated study.
... this is a well written book and at a great price. Nice explanation of Larsen's games
By Michael Trettel on Oct 06, 2014
Yes this is a well written book and at a great price. Nice explanation of Larsen's games.
If I only could afford this....
By Harrythompson on Sep 02, 2014
Based on the look inside preview here I can say that this book rules. If I could afford to buy this book I would and I would get rid of my Kasparov volume 4 Larsen/Fischer book as this is a much better book.
Very good book of games by Danish GM Bent Larsen
By Franck D on Jan 20, 2015
Very good book of games by Danish GM Bent Larsen, with testimonies, photographs, an interesting presentation of his playing style, and the addition of 70 new games after 1969, following the classic "50 Best Games" (already annotated by Larsen). Excellent book for the fans. However, the quality of comments, annotations and analyses does not always match the original book of 50 games; sometimes superficial (two games may be covered on a single page), and the selection of 70 new games (among which are losses and draws) may appear odd. But this volume is the combination of the "50 Best Games" with a second collection of games previously published in Spanish, in a new enlarged edition.
By Thomas Stanics on Jan 22, 2015
All is great. No complaints.