WHEN I PLAYED CHESS AGAINST A GRANDMASTER. I posted here about Magnus Carlson playing chess against two denizens of Washington Square. Kids, I once played chess against Bent Larsen. It was in the early 1970’s when Bobby Fischer was considered the best player in the West and Larsen was considered the second best chess player in the West (that is, excluding Russian players). It was of course in a simultaneous exhibition.
The game may have been in the exhibition described in this squib from the New York Times on November 10, 1972 or in this report from the Village Voice on January 4, 1973. The Voice article describes how Clark Whelton, a Voice staff member, had been one of five opponents who had beaten Larsen in an exhibition in which Larsen had played 85 opponents.
I remember the tables arranged in a U shape and Larsen walking rapidly along the boards. He played the white pieces and his first move on my board was different from each of his first moves on the boards on either side of me. Larsen beat me in about 30 or 40 moves. I thought at the time that I had winning chances, but I realized after the game that he had gotten a winning advantage in the first few moves, and that I should have resigned much earlier than I did. The Voice article says that Larsen averaged only three seconds a move against Whelton. I think he took less than a second for each move against me.
It was a great experience.