Interview with Danish Chess Grandmaster Bent Larsen (English subtitles)

Interview with Danish Chess Grandmaster Bent Larsen (English subtitles)


… I certainly have enough battle routine But there’s a lot of travelling involved with chess ? That’s right As Spassky once said about being a chess master: “There’s a lot of shirts you have to wash” It’s a lonely life travelling around as a chess player ? Yeah, but the loneliest with chess is more the
circumstances around tournaments When you are sitting on stage all by yourself Where nobody is available with any hints And of course to a large extent chess is an individual game I’m such a person who stay awake at night I normally sleep from 4 to 12 am I’m not sure but it’s typically so wonderful calm at night Then how do you feel about having to play
in the morning at 8 or 9 am ? Well, in a tournament you can adapt
to play at any given time as long as it’s at the same time every day But tournaments with changing times are not so nice In this particular tournament I think it’s very reasonable We play from 12 am so I then adapt to that Bent, how do you relax from chess ? Well I’m not sure but that’s something you have learned I have known people who could not play in a club tournament because when they came home they could not sleep It’s something you must be able to
and have learned many years ago The most annoying during tournaments are the adjournments But I like that we are now playing somewhat
faster and will continue the same evening So you don’t have too many of these
games to spoil your sleep But winding down is something you
have been able to do at all times If not you had probably resigned from
chess tournaments long ago Which skills do you have, or develop, as a chess player ? Well, you probably already have them,
and then you develop them further A good memory is often mentioned An ability to think logical in some way And an ability to imagine things I mean, when you are calculating at the board
different variations many steps ahead Often is referred to “pattern recognition” Where you have seen similar positions before Where you can draw certain conclusions
and see certain analogies On top of that you need a skill
which is needed for all kind of brawls A fighting spirit or something like that There are people who have first class
skills as a chess player But still do not perform very well at tournaments Maybe because they lack some of that It’s easier to see what is lacking … With respect to young players who exhibit a great talent In the beginning you don’t really see what they may lack That is only revealed when they come up
against stronger players You yourself is now 54 years old Can you feel that you are getting older ? No, actually not You don’t loose something when you grow older ? At some point you will loose part of your fighting spirit But it has not happened to me yet Other people are experiencing it
before they get 30 years old An Austrian Grandmaster living in Argentina told me that He is an example of someone who
lost his love of fighting early on It has more to do with non-chess
events like World War 2 where he stayed in Argentina after
playing a tournament in 1939 And another Argentinian who stayed
there in 1939: Najdorf from Poland He is now 78 years old, 79 one of these days And he is still very happy with playing chess And uses chess as a deflection from other problems When he thinks about all the relatives
he lost during World War 2 (He was a Polish jew) Then he has to go to a coffee shop
or what you wanna call it And play chess a couple of hours with anybody there Playing speed chess with all sorts of people Then he forgets the other thing Can someone like you go into a café
and play a game of chess ? Do you enjoy playing against ordinary people ? Someone does that – again Najdorf is an example But I don’t do it Playing chess on equal terms
with someone who is much weaker does not serve any purpose in my opinion So it’s not something I do There goes months where I don’t play chess From the late 70s there has been world cup matches for example between the American Bobby Fischer
and the Russian Boris Spassky where psychology influenced the matches Psychology means a lot of things The previous results between the two
players also play a role And also many other things Some psychological tricks are
absolutely correct to apply With respect to some of these famous matches lot of the debate resulted from sheer
cold and political war You state that some psychological tricks are acceptable ? Can you give some examples ? Well, the most common psychological trick
is simply the element of surprise To make a move which surprises But occationally it may also have
to do with the rhythm Whether you move fast or slow One time against Panno in a tournament at Mallorca I had sufficient time left, and he was short of time Around move #31 I blundered a pawn … Then he used a considerable part of his
remaining time thinking about that pawn And he didn’t grab it He made some other move After that I made a very fast move
which protected the pawn The result was that he felt being cheated That’s a small psychological trick
which is not unsporting at all On the contrary, it’s part of the game 🙂 You have now been playing chess in about 40 years Can you still improve as a chess player,
with all your experience ? Well, you learn some more
opening theory for example But I don’t think that you really get stronger I have probably been equally strong the last 20 years Or maybe 25 years Let’s say since the last time I was
playing for the Danish championship Shortly afterwards I was playing
very well at the Interzonal in Amsterdam where I shared the first place Since then I have hardly …
I have learned some bits and pieces But a stronger player I have probably not become But I haven’t deteriorated much either How are your ambitions currently ? The ambition is first and foremost to play well You have been quoted that if you got 3 months you could prepare for a match with
world champion Kasparov and maybe beat him ? Yes I would like that,
but I probably don’t get such a chance But you would like to try ? Yes … I don’t accept at all that … There is a lot of talking about Kasparov and Karpov
being so much stronger that the other Grandmasters And I don’t buy that … But still there are some rating figures
showing who are the strongest ? Yeah, but what also plays a major role
is the fact that exactly those 2 for their theoretical preparations and opening
studies are supported by a whole team And that probably gives them certain advantages Since you moved your first chess piece
the chess computer has emerged How does it compare with the human brain ? Well, I lost to one of them lately … But it did not have much to do
with it’s or my strenght but with the circumstances around that event But the ordinary chess computers you can buy at shops
they are still very much below Grandmaster level But still, the human brain functions
very much like a computer ? That’s what Botvinnik says … The former Russian world champion Botvinnik That’s his view on humans and computers …

5 thoughts on “Interview with Danish Chess Grandmaster Bent Larsen (English subtitles)

  1. Hello sir, found the link in the comments section under my video. Right now I am reading Larsen's book and this came as a lucky surprise. Will also share on my page in order to promote and let people see this. Was it you interviewing him? Cheers

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