Kavalek at Huffington: Fooling the gullible chess world

7/30/2010 – At the 1965 Student Olympiad Lubomir Kavalek faced a furious attack from a Romanian opponent, but found a funky defense which, for the next 25 years became a sleeper: nobody nobody played it, nobody wrote about it. It resurfaced in 1990 in Kasparov vs Spanish TV viewers, and two weeks ago was successfully used in the Dortmund Super-GM. In his latest column Kavalek reclaims its authorship.

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Chess Puzzles: Fooling the Gullible Chess World

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

Identity theft in chess is rather common. Sometimes a full chapter is lifted from a book, other times a player claims credit for a single move that wasn't his. Here is one such story.

It was a furious attack launched against me at the 1965 Student Olympiad in the Romanian mountain resort of Sinaia, a perfect onslaught by a local player that even Bobby Fischer would have approved of. For the first 11 moves of the Sicilian Najdorf, I was under fire from the 30-year-old Romanian student Traian Stanciu. By move 12, my black pieces were in crossfire. Suddenly, a funky defense crossed my mind and I realized I was not only safe, but my chances to turn the game around were excellent. For the next 25 years, my discovery over the board was a sleeper. Nobody paid attention to it, nobody played it, nobody wrote about it.

It resurfaced in 1990, after the well-known journalist Leontxo Garcia pointed it out to the Spanish TV-viewers. They were challenging Garry Kasparov in a two-game match that lasted two years. In April 1993, Kasparov described the experience from that match and included my move in his article for the Chess Life magazine. I showed it to Nigel Short in my house during our preparation for the 1993 world championship match against Garry. By now the knowledge about my counterpunching defense was widespread. It was known in Spain, in the United States and to Kasparov's army of coaches and seconds. Soon it was the top suggestion of computer engines and my game with Stanciu was featured in major databases.

Everything was going well for my move 12...d5, but in 1996 it was stolen. In the VSB tournament in Amsterdam, Nigel Short used my discovery to defeat Veselin Topalov and promptly claimed it as his novelty. It fooled the chess world. When Sharyiar Mamedyarov played it in this year's elite Sparkassen tournament in Dortmund, Germany, ChessBase.com presented it as Short's refutation and fantastic novelty. The usually reliable daily Internet newsletter, Chess Today, thought it originated in the game Topalov- Short.

Today, I declare my authorship of the move 12...d5 and reclaim my identity back.

Let's see the game that brought back the memories.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post


Chess Puzzles: Henri Rinck's Magical Rooks

Last week in his HuffPost column GM Lubomir Kavalek presented two brilliant creations by French chess study composer Henri Rinck – both using two rooks as the attacking pieces. Here are the solutions.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.


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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