US Championship Larsen prize

12/17/2004 – Few tournaments have a first prize of $5,000. Alex Fishbein won that much as a reward for his fighting chess! There was a five thousand dollar "Bent Larsen" prize for the player who most epitomized the uncompromising spirit of Danish legend. Draws were way down, and Fishbein had only one! Plus, a US Championship photo album.

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In Bent We Trust

It seems a little strange to have a prize at the US Championship named for a Danish player now living in Argentina, but that's the Bent Larsen prize. Sponsor Jim Roberts and his family supplied this $5,000 carrot and if statistics are any judge, it had the desired effect. As you can read at this article on the official US Championship site, the draw percentage dropped dramatically, and the draws themselves were much longer. At the 2003 Championship there were 27 draws of fewer than 21 moves. This time around there were just nine.

GM Alex Fishbein had none of them. He started with seven decisive games in a row and his only draw was a battle. Several times he played on in positions where some might have been happy to take a draw. His epic rook versus bishop and knight endgame against Lopez showed tremendous tenacity. Many thought Black was better, but Fishbein avoided repetitions and went on to win in 124 moves. The game also won Fishbein the Best Endgame prize.


GM Alex Fishbein accepting the first Bent Larsen prize.

The US Championship site has also posted an impressive photo gallery covering the entire event. Large photos with captions cover everything from the non-vegetarian draw for colors to the closing banquet.

 



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