Kavalek at Huffington: A Vodka Escape

9/1/2010 – When in 1968 the Warsaw pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia, one of its strongest GMs managed to bribe his way into the West with a crate of vodka. He had been playing a simultaneous exhibition in Wroclaw or Breslau, the birthplace of Adolf Anderssen, one of the strongest players of the 19th century. Lubomir Kavalek remembers his escape with two beautiful problems by the great German player.

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Chess Puzzles: A Vodka Escape

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

I began my escape from the communist Czechoslovakia 42 years ago, on Sunday, September 1, 1968. According to Wikipedia, I bought several crates of vodka with my winnings at the Akiba Rubinstein Memorial in the Polish spa of Polanica Zdroj, bribed the border guards and drove to West Germany.

At that time, I was supposed to play the first board on the Czechoslovakian team at the Lugano Olympiad, having won the strongest national championship in history ahead of Smejkal, Hort, Filip, Pachman, Jansa, Janata and others. During the sommer I added a first place finish at the IBM tournament in Amsterdam ahead of David Bronstein and I was just in the middle of the race with the former world champion Vassily Smyslov in Poland, when the Soviet and other Warsaw pact armies invaded my country on August 21. During the next ten days it became clear to me that I had to go west. I played a few simultaneous exhibitions in Poland, the last one in Wroclaw.

The city, previously known under the German name Breslau, had special meaning for me. Not only did I begin my journey to the West there, but it was the birthplace of Adolf Anderssen, one of the strongest players in the 19th century, an attacking genius known for his creation of the Immortal game against Kieseritzky and the Evergreen game against Dufresne. Everybody loved Anderssen and his combinations, but he was also a gifted problem composer. I have chosen two of his works from his book Aufgaben für Schachspieler.

Adolf Anderssen

White mates in three moves

The next puzzle is well-known masterpiece, in which white eliminates all threats of stalemates.

Adolf Anderssen

White mates in four moves

The solution to the puzzles will appear next week.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post


The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.


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