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Lubomir Kavalek
GM Lubomir Kavalek in 1980. 
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Number of games in database: 1,287
Years covered: 1958 to 1998
Last FIDE rating: 2527
Highest rating achieved in database: 2600

Overall record: +408 -224 =647 (57.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 8 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (130) 
    B42 B32 B96 B47 B83
 Ruy Lopez (104) 
    C95 C93 C81 C92 C96
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (65) 
    C95 C93 C96 C92 C97
 King's Indian (48) 
    E90 E69 E63 E80 E91
 Caro-Kann (45) 
    B17 B18 B14 B15 B13
 French Defense (33) 
    C16 C02 C11 C19 C18
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (151) 
    B93 B43 B98 B90 B92
 King's Indian (92) 
    E92 E62 E69 E80 E67
 Sicilian Najdorf (59) 
    B93 B98 B90 B92 B97
 Ruy Lopez (45) 
    C95 C87 C93 C67 C64
 English (33) 
    A10 A15 A16
 English, 1 c4 e5 (27) 
    A21 A22 A28 A26 A23
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Gufeld vs Kavalek, 1962 0-1
   Kavalek vs Matulovic, 1966 1-0
   Kavalek vs E Formanek, 1970 1-0
   Portisch vs Kavalek, 1975 1/2-1/2
   Kavalek vs G Khodos, 1965 1-0
   Kavalek vs W Pietzsch, 1967 1-0
   Gheorghiu vs Kavalek, 1969 0-1
   Kavalek vs Karpov, 1970 1-0
   Kavalek vs Uhlmann, 1976 1-0
   Kavalek vs J Bednarski, 1972 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Czechoslovak Championship (1962)
   Amsterdam IBM (1968)
   Czechoslovak Championship (1968)
   Caracas (1970)
   US Championship (1973)
   Bauang (1973)
   Netanya-A (1973)
   United States Championship (1978)
   Czechoslovak Championship (1963)
   The Hague Zonal (1966)
   Bucharest (1966)
   Manila (1973)
   72nd US Open (1971)
   Asztalos Memorial (1966)
   Halle Zonal (1963)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Manila 1973 by Tabanus
   IBM Amsterdam 1973 by Tabanus
   Amsterdam IBM 1969 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1975 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1970 by suenteus po 147
   Amsterdam IBM 1977 by suenteus po 147
   US Championship 1972 by Phony Benoni
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1982 by suenteus po 147

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FIDE player card for Lubomir Kavalek

(born Aug-09-1943, died Jan-18-2021, 77 years old) Czech Republic (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

Lubomir Kavalek was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was awarded both the IM and GM titles in 1965. He was the Czech Champion in 1962 and 1968, and was the US Champion in 1972 sharing the first place with Byrne and Reshevsky 1973 (jointly with John Alan Grefe) and 1978 and West German Champion in 1981. More recently he helped Nigel Short in his World title bid in 1993 against Garry Kasparov.

Current blog at

Kavalek was the chess columnist for the Washington Post for 23 years, until that paper discontinued its chess column in January 2010. His columns are archived at and

Wikipedia article: Lubomir Kavalek

Last updated: 2021-01-19 08:46:01

 page 1 of 53; games 1-25 of 1,308  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kavalek vs Z Rutka  0-1321958CSR-ch sfA57 Benko Gambit
2. Kavalek vs J Rejfir ½-½401959Cerveny KostelecB41 Sicilian, Kan
3. Kavalek vs J Fabian  1-0481959Cerveny KostelecC02 French, Advance
4. F Blatny vs Kavalek 1-0291959Cerveny KostelecA07 King's Indian Attack
5. Kavalek vs Jansa 0-1291959Cerveny KostelecB02 Alekhine's Defense
6. F Zita vs Kavalek ½-½411959Cerveny KostelecA04 Reti Opening
7. Kavalek vs M Herink  ½-½521959Cerveny KostelecC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. J Marsalek vs Kavalek 1-0571959Cerveny KostelecA45 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Kavalek vs R Weinstein  0-1501960WchT U26 07thB96 Sicilian, Najdorf
10. N Radev vs Kavalek  0-1381960WchT U26 07thE93 King's Indian, Petrosian System
11. A Olsson vs Kavalek  ½-½471960WchT U26 07thB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
12. I Szabo vs Kavalek  ½-½311960WchT U26 07thB42 Sicilian, Kan
13. H L Tan vs Kavalek  1-0381960WchT U26 07thC76 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, Fianchetto Variation
14. Kavalek vs T Rakic  0-1331960WchT U26 07thE61 King's Indian
15. Kavalek vs S Momo  1-0651960WchT U26 07thC77 Ruy Lopez
16. Kavalek vs F Baumbach  1-0331960WchT U26 07thB39 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto, Breyer Variation
17. M van Hoorne vs Kavalek  0-1361960WchT U26 07thB20 Sicilian
18. Kavalek vs G Kvist  ½-½241960WchT U26 07thC02 French, Advance
19. J Tabor vs Kavalek  0-1331960WchT U26 07thB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
20. Kavalek vs B Gurgenidze  0-1371960WchT U26 07thB61 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, Larsen Variation, 7.Qd2
21. M Altschul vs Kavalek  1-0341961Czechoslovak ChampionshipB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
22. Kavalek vs M Ujtelky 0-1231961Czechoslovak ChampionshipB06 Robatsch
23. J Trmal vs Kavalek  ½-½151961Czechoslovak ChampionshipA22 English
24. Kavalek vs J Lastovicka  1-0411961Czechoslovak ChampionshipC75 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
25. Pachman vs Kavalek  ½-½431961Czechoslovak ChampionshipA55 Old Indian, Main line
 page 1 of 53; games 1-25 of 1,308  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kavalek wins | Kavalek loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-20-21  offramp: <Fusilli: Didn't he make some mean-spirited comment on Miles right after Miles died too? Not one known for tact, Short.>

Short is a Deist and he believes that after death there is NOTHING. There is no memory of the deceased to impugn: the dead human has ceased to be and no power on earth can relight his candle. Sentimentality is a tributary of superstition: rationality gives birth to iron logic.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Lubo will speak from beyond the grave...
Jan-20-21  Petrosianic: <offramp> Short is a Deist and he believes that after death there is NOTHING. There is no memory of the deceased to impugn: the dead human has ceased to be and no power on earth can relight his candle. Sentimentality is a tributary of superstition: rationality gives birth to iron logic.>

What's his argument? I mean the way you've described it, his whole position is a petitio fallacy, but surely he could explain it better than that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Miles' remarks about Kavalek were restrained by his standards. After Tony Miles' death, Short wrote perhaps the most obnoxious obituary ever. It included this (in)famous line:

<I obtained a measure of revenge not only by eclipsing Tony in terms of chess performance but also by sleeping with his girlfriend, which was definitely satisfying but perhaps not entirely gentlemanly.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: I think you mean Short's remarks, not Miles'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <offramp: ...Short is a Deist and he believes that after death there is NOTHING. There is no memory of the deceased to impugn...>

Which makes Short's twitter remark even more caustic when he finishes with,

<...and for [Kavalek's assistance] I am eternally grateful.>

That Nigel. The life of the party, the jerk of the year.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The one time I met Short, he was quite reasonable actually, but this sort of rubbish is de trop, to put it mildly.

While I had little truck with the late <tpstar>'s views and conduct, at his death, there was nothing to say, and there I left it.

Short's behaviour, as evinced by these quotes, is inexcusable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Short has a right to be miffed.....Kavalek's indiscretion was OUTRAGEOUS! Little wonder he never coached a top player again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: Agreed with <perf>, though I'll assume <MS>'s point stands. Funny thing is, whatever their shortcomings (pun intended,) I feel certain I would find both Kavalek and Short to be delightful company on a personal level. I love a good sense of humor, don't you?

Public personae and chess politics, be darned.
Jan-21-21  Sally Simpson: ***
Perfidious is correct. Say nothing, but Lubosh had been Nigel's coach helping him through the Timman and Karpov matches to get to play Kasparov. It looks like a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

It is true the tradition is to drop all past grievances when commentating on the passing of someone you knew.

However most of us here do not have our every word, tweet, comment, article... scrutinised.

If Nigel had said just a few kind words someone was bound to pop up and label him a hypocrite saying that is not what you thought and said about him in the 1993 match.

page 112 'Inner Game' (Nigel Short speaking)

"So far Lubosh has done no work in London at all. If I give him the Anti-Marshall to analyse, it probably won't get done at all. Robert [Hübner] and Speely [Speelman] I can rely on."

Same page later on states Speelman and Hübner had indeed produced 'spectacular' pieces of analysis. "....Kavalek produced precisely nothing."

(which is what Nigel was hinting at.)

Pages 117-119: Covers the sacking of Kavalek.
This bit I found funny, Nigel again:

"Now he [Kavalek] says he has a cold, **** it, I've had a cold for week, and I'm playing Gary Kasparov!"

That part of the book gives a blow by blow account where the player under tremendous pressure, which Dominic Lawson captures perfectly, agues, falls out and eventually fires his coach.


Where both sides gives their respective views.

Nigel has had a lot experience of seeing his comments, tweets etc twisted and bent out of shape so 'perhaps' he added the 'lack of originality' bit to fend off the hypocrite claims.

He will roll with the punches about his ''lack of originality' comment but what you got was an honest statement not hypocritical.

Get the book 'The Inner Game' ( Geoff mention you have an autographed copy it will make you sound connected) I have an autographed copy!

One of best books I have seen written about the ongoing background to a chess match by someone who was there (Keene's book on the 1978 match is the classic by which all others should be measured by. Dominic's book is up there.) and Dominic's it's not a kiss-ass book from a friend, you get the warts and all.


Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Kavalek to Short: I am not dead! >

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Short throws his wife under the bus:

<Soon [Kavalek’s] wage demands were running well into six figures… I was for sacking him on the spot. To my eternal regret I didn’t. Instead, I succumbed to the usually impeccable counsel of my wife…>


<…[Short] offered a fixed fee of $125,000 if he won his Candidates final match against Timman…It was his idea, his proposal, and his amount. It became public after Short disclosed it to Dominic Lawson, who wrote about it in his book. Short also said he would double the amount if he beat Kasparov.>


<Is [Kavalek] really asking the general public to believe that I, of my own volition, without any instigation or prompting on Kavalek's part, offered to pay him a colossal $250,000, of my own money (and that over a decade ago!), in the event of me defeating Garry Kasparov??>

Kavalek has the proof:

<Nigel Short’s memory needs to be corrected by written documentation. If he has lost the letter of agreement he signed in Brussels on July 4, 1992, I would be happy to provide him with a copy to refresh his memory. "If I become World Champion, I shall pay you a bonus of another US $125,000,">

I think Kavalek comes out on top here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I don’t think Short is disputing the terms of the agreement, only the supposition that he offered it gladly. It’s as if he saying, ‘I might be mean, but the other guy is greedy!’
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: He may not be disputing the actual terms, but he's blaming everyone else for his own decisions. Comes off as a whingeing brat.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Are the comments cited by <CIO> corroborated in Kavalek's account, <saffuna>?

'Whingeing brat' seems a fair summation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Don't remember. The article discussed chess issues, not money.

As I remember, they prepared the Marshall as a primary defense to 1. e4, then Kasparov played 8. a4, rendering that work useless.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Even 8.d4--relatively innocuous though it is--circumvents the Marshall.

One wonders how certain Short and Kavalek could be that Kasparov, given his love of the initiative, would allow anyone to routinely play the Marshall. This was not the pertinacious Fischer, who would rush headlong into the maelstrom and damn the torpedoes.

Jan-21-21  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Perfidious,

"... that Kasparov, given his love of the initiative..."

That was the Team Short plan, play it risky to steal the initiative, make Kasparov feel uncomfortable, That is why that match produced all those lively games. Both players refused to let other have the initiative and went toe to toe.

Kasparov due his experience and being the better player knew when to hold back the reins, Short stuck to plan A.

The deal was $125,000 to get Short to the final (paid out after the final) and double, $250,000 if Short won.

The dispute arose because after Kasparov took a good lead Kavalek seems to have settled for the $125,000 not getting involved in any analysis and, from the book 'The Inner Game' going out most nights drinking with his friends and making 'Smart-arse' comments every time Short lost a game.

It's a pity because they made a good team, Nigel acknowledges he would not have got to the final without him.


v 8.a4 I use to bang in 8...d5 anyway and had OK results with it. They only have one game with it here. de Firmian vs I Sokolov, 1996 a Black loss.

I liked to see Black losses in my Black rep. A few losses at the GM level and the opening gets a bad name.

The good point being the players I met who believed this were not GM's and often the positions reached were double-edged where they trusted more on the openings poor reputation expecting it to fall apart v me who had looked at the coming positions and squeezed out and knew all tricks and traps.


Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Fred Wilson interviews Kavalek:
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: His biography ought to mention the small matter of his defection, but, sorry, I don't believe this story about the border guards from Wikipedia: <When Soviet tanks rolled into Prague in August 1968, Kavalek was playing in the Akiba Rubinstein Memorial in Poland, in which he finished second. Kavalek, who had always hated Communism, decided to defect to the West rather than return to Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia. He bought several crates of vodka with his winnings, used them to bribe the border guards, and drove to West Germany.>
Jan-23-21  Sally Simpson: ***

Put it in, it's a great story, and add he was also Fisher's second after Lombardy left - he also coined/borrowed the phrase about Carlsen being the Mozart of chess, though it had been used before it's seems to have stuck with Carlsen.


Jan-23-21  Granny O Doul: Hard to believe the "Mozart of chess" hasn't been proclaimed a few times over the years. My quick research indicates that Garry Kasparov is the Michael Jordan of chess, Borislav Ivanov the James Bond, and Hou Yufan the Miley Cyrus.
Jan-24-21  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Granny.

Edward winter has a whole page dedicated to the Mozarts of Chess.

Which includes Kavalek's explanation why he used it:

‘In January 2004, I called Magnus Carlsen the Mozart of chess for the first time. It was a spontaneous, last-minute decision to meet a deadline for my column in the Washington Post. The name was picked up immediately and spread around quickly. It was used, misused, overused.’

Lubomir Kavalek, article dated 23 February 2012.


Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <Diademas> first posted this link:

It mentions some of the highlights of Kavalek's career and his coining of the phrase "Mozart of Chess."

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's another informative link about Kavalek:
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