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En Passant: Bent Larsen, 1935-2010

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Tournament Times  En Passant: Bent Larsen, 1935-2010

One of the world's best grandmasters of his day, Danish legend Bent Larsen, has died in Buenos Aires, Argentina after a short illness. He was 75.

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. His five consecutive first prizes at Havana 1967, Winnipeg 1967, Palma de Mallorca 1967, Sousse 1967 and Monte Carlo 1968 set a record for anyone who was not actually world champion. In 1967 he was also awarded the first Chess Oscar for player of the year.

Larsen was the first player in the western hemisphere to challenge the dominance of Soviet chess after the second world war. In the years leading up to Bobby Fischer's 1972 world title victory, Larsen was often considered a stronger candidate for the championship match than was Fischer.

And indeed when FIDÉ organized a match in 1970 pitting the Soviet Union's best players against the top players from the rest of the world, Larsen protested when Fischer was initially selected for board one. In a rare display of humility Fischer acquiesced, allowing Larsen the top spot and a match-up with world champion Boris Spassky.

However, in an outstanding career with many highs, his most famous low has to have been his 6-0 loss to Fischer in their 1971 Candidates match - the psychological blow from which many believe signaled the beginning of the end for Larsen's ambitions to become world champion; and indeed, it was often said he was never quite the same player after such a demolition job by Fischer.

Since the early 1970s Larsen has lived in Buenos Aires, with his Argentinian-born wife. One of his lasting legacy's to chess will be his outstanding collection of 50 games published in his book, Larsen's Selected Games of Chess 1948-69 (also known as Bent Larsen: Master of Counter-Attack) - a truly superb book and one that should be in everyone's library.

In a further tribute to Bent Larsen here on ICC, next week three Chess.FM shows - Chess Talk with John Watson, Attack with LarryC, and Game of the Week with Joel Benjamin - will be dedicated to the life and times of this truly remarkable chess giant.

Tournament Times USCL 2010 - Week 3

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The opening weeks of the new season of the USCL continues to throw up surprise results - all of which means the all-important playoffs will be tougher than ever.

In week 3, league newbies the New England Nor'easters continue to show impressive form with a third straight victory, this time with a 2.5-1.5 KO of the New Jersey Knockouts. They lead at the top of the Eastern Division - but watch out for what potentially could be a barnburner matchup when they play rivals the Boston Blitz this coming Wednesday!

Arizona Scorpions are also on a perfect 3-0 start to the season to lead the Western Division, but also of note in week three was the powerhouse lineup of the St. Louis Arch bishops getting back on track, with GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Yury Shulman leading the way to their first win of the season by beating the Dallas Destiny.

All of the week three results can be found below. Go to USCL for all the full analysis, standings, MVP performances and Upset awards. Click on one of the team logos below to go straight to their homepage.

USCL matches are broadcast live only on ICC every Monday and Wednesday, starting from 7pm ET. Some of the top stars you will be able to watch in action throughout the new USCL season include: Hikaru Nakamura, Yury Shulman, Sergey Erenburg, Larry Christiansen, Alexander Stripunsky, Joel Benjamin, Boris Gulko, Alex Lenderman, Pascal Charbonneau, John Fedorowicz, Irina Krush, Alejandro Ramirez, Melikset Khachiyan, Julio Becerra, Patrick Wolff, Josh Friedel, Varuzhan Akobian and Gregory Serper!

So what are you waiting for? Come join ICC now by clicking here for all the best action from the new USCL season.

Monday, September 7th
 
1.New York Knights vs Philadelphia Inventors   3-1
2. Baltimore Kingfishers vs Carolina Cobras                             3.5-05
3. Seattle Sluggers vs Miami Sharks                                          3-1
4. Arizona Scorpions vs Los Angeles Vibe 3.5-05
 
Wednesday, September 8th
 
5. New England Nor'easters vs New Jersey Knockouts            2.5-1.5
6. Manhattan Applesauce vs Boston Blitz  0.5-3.5
7. Dallas Destiny vs St. Louis Arch Bishops                              1.5-2.5
8. Chicago Blaze vs San Francisco Mechanics  2.5-1.5

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