Chess Legend: Bent Larsen (March 4, 1935 – September 9, 2010)

Bent Larsen and Bobby Fischer

With his recent passing, Bent Larsen leaves a chess community saddened by the loss of this accomplished and respected chess player. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife and family.

Larsen was a determined and spirited player who was famous for his unusual openings. Throughout his career, he beat seven world champions: Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov.

His accomplishments were admirable and an inspiration to us all.

The chess world has lost a man who is truly respected and admired by his colleagues – not only because of his chess career but for who he was as a person, his values and respect for world chess.

In this day and age, when so much takes precedent over a united chess community and the game of chess, we can find comfort and inspiration in the words of this great chess legend.

I am a self-made man. I didn’t have an instructor, and I wasn’t engrossed in chess manuals except the books of Nimzovitch, I just worked a lot playing chess.” Bent Larsen

“I don’t think that it’s useful to complain about your destiny, since you can’t return to the past. I don’t regret anything. Chess gave me many happy moments. Sure, professional chess is a severe and exhausting struggle. Nevertheless, I am not sorry.” Bent Larsen

“Obviously, FIDE has its weak points. However, it’s the sole chess organization that is still held in respect in the world of chessI think that Kasparov has to sign a peace treaty with it. I don’t like that every year he creates a new chess structure. Bent Larsen

Below you will find quotes from an interview with this grand legend.

This interview is posted on ChessBaseCLICK HERE to READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW

How did you achieve such a great success?

BENT LARSEN: I am a self-made man. I didn’t have an instructor, and I wasn’t engrossed in chess manuals except the books of Nimzovitch, I just worked a lot playing chess.

Was it your talent or your capacity for work that helped you to make a success?

BENT LARSEN: Generally, I don’t know. Probably, it was a combination of the former and the latter.

You said that Nimzovitch, a positional chess player, was your teacher and, at the same time, you usually played very sharp chess. Did you look for the golden mean?

BENT LARSEN: Yes, I did. Sometimes, in the beginning of a game I had to choose either to play the King’s Gambit or the Catalan System! It’s the Nimzovitch styleyour play can be too complicated or too easy, but the main thing is that your opponent won’t discover your intentions!

By the way, whom do you call the greatest chess player in the history of chess?

BENT LARSEN: The question is too abstract. However, I have the answer. Undoubtedly, it is Philidor. At the end of the 17th century he formulated the principles that we use even now.

Do you regret that you have devoted yourself to chess?

BENT LARSEN: I don’t think that it’s useful to complain about your destiny, since you can’t return to the past. I don’t regret anything. Chess gave me many happy moments. Sure, professional chess is a severe and exhausting struggle. Nevertheless, I am not sorry.

Did you have any hobby that competed with chess?

BENT LARSEN: Yes. At some moment, I was ready to go in for politics! I found it interesting to politicize. However, later on I decided to continue playing chess…

Why? You were so popular in our country. You could even have become a president, couldn’t you?

BENT LARSEN: This point of view is a bit naive. Finally, I decided that a chess player has to play chess and a politician – to fight against his political opponents.

Bent, what do you think about modern chess? Does it impress you?

BENT LARSEN: On one hand, many interesting chess players have appeared in chess lately. Formerly, chess players didn’t have such serious ambitions. Then Kasparov came into the world of chess, followed by a group of young grandmasters, and they showed us their hunger to fight and to win!

Just look at Shirov, Ivanchuk, and Anand: they are amazing

On the other hand, these Kasparov-computer matches exasperate me. And as for advanced chess, it’s simply inadmissible! It’s a road to nowhere.

Chess loses its mysticism. Nobody will consider chess as an art. It’s a pity that it’s the very champion who destroys chess.

What are the FIDE disadvantages?

BENT LARSEN: Obviously, FIDE has its weak points. However, it’s the sole chess organization that is still held in respect in the world of chess.

I think that Kasparov has to sign a peace treaty with itI don’t like that every year he creates a new chess structure.

Speak Your Mind

*