The Ro Vs USSR was an incredible event with the 24 best players in the world facing off in a four round 10-board match. The USSR fielded reigning world champion Boris Spassky, his predecessor Tigran Petrosian, his predecessor Mikhail Botvinnik (who had officially retired), and two former champions in the mercurial Mikhail Tal and the rock-solid Vassily Smyslov. In addition, it had Viktor Korchnoi, Efim Geller, Paul Keres, Lev Polugaevsky, Leonid Stein, Mark Taimanov, etc.
The RoW had Bent Larsen on top board with Bobby Fischer on Bd 2 after a huge argument on board orders. The rest team also included other stars like Lajos Portisch, Vlastimil Hort, Samuel Reshevsky, Miguel Najdorf, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Svetozar Gligoric, Friðrik Ólafsson and Bora Ivkov. The Soviets were hot favourites. But Larsen–Spassky traded wins and then Larsen beat Stein, when Spassky took a break. Fischer won sensationally, beating the defensive genius Petrosian 2-0. After much superb chess, the USSR won by the narrowest possible (20.5-19.5).
The Diagram BLACK TO PLAY (White: Larsen Vs Black: Spassky (RoW Vs USSR 1970) leads into a most famous combination. Black played 12.—h4!! 13. hg4 hg3 14. Rg1 Rh1!! Black had to see this a long time ago. White tried 15. Rxh1 g2 16. Rf1 (The main line 16. Rg1 Qh4+ 17. Kd1 Qh1! Is equally convincing.) The game finished 16. – Qh4+ 17. Kd1 gxf1=Q+ (0-1). Larsen did not wait for 18. Bxf1 Bxg4+ and Qh1 etc.
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player