Lubomir Kavalek 1943-2021


January 19, 2021
Chess History

Grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek died Jan. 18, according to a tweet by GM Ian Rogers.

Kavalek won the Czech championship in 1962 and 1968, and the US championship in 1972, 1973, and 1978. He played on seven US Olympiad teams, and medaled six times. In 1974, he was among the world’s top 10 players.

In 1976, Kavalek played top board for the Washington Plumbers, who won the first championship in the National Chess League, a telephone ancestor to the online Pro Chess League. He was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 2003.

His Washington Post column, which ran from 1986-2010, won multiple CJA awards (for which he also served as a judge). Most recently, he wrote chess content for the Huffington Post. He wrote four books, and contributed to Chess Life and Review, and British Chess Magazine. In 2006, the CJA placed Kavalek in the Gallery of Distinguished Chess Journalists.

Kavalek organized the 1979 Montreal grandmaster tournament, then one of strongest tournaments in history. Karpov and Tal won with 12-6, while Kavalek provided an example of the risk in playing in one’s own events. After nine rounds, he was in last place with 1.5, but tournaments run more smoothly at the end, when Kavalek scored 6.5. Rogers said Kavalek believed his tournament book for Montreal 1979 rivals Bronstein’s Zurich 1953 work.

Kavalek won the brilliancy prize for his game against Gufeld at the 1962 Student Olympiad. Andrew Soltis ranked it 7th among The 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century.