In Kavalek’s own words…
“Be a Morphy”
Fischer once remarked that he really liked Kavalek’s style of play. That is quite a complement. Kavalek’s games have that harmonious quality to them, logical, very few errors and beautifully executed plans and tactics.
Below is one of my favourite Kavalek victories, and you can judge for yourself. The game is a Winawer French, played at the US Open in Boston in 1970. His opponent is the tough master Ed Formanek, one of the top masters on the weekend circuit back in the Fischer era.
I really like the game, and it has served as a model to me on how to play the White pieces against this opening. I have won numerous games against masters and grandmasters utilizing the same ideas, manoeuvres and techniques.
I have included Kavalek’s own notes that were published in the December 1970 Chess Life & Review, and added to them when I feel it useful for my readers or to give a broarder perspective on things. Enjoy!
In Kavalek’s own words
“One day I saw this advertisement for the brilliancy prize nailed on the wall in the hotel. I did not give it much attention, as I have already won a number of such prizes in my career. But when I lost to Bent Larsen in round seven (with what I believe was a winning position for me), I started thinking: What does it mean to ”be a Morphy”?
In Morphy’s day the technique of defense was not nearly as developed as it is today. The chess master could hope to get an opponent who could not defend well; then he could sacrifice some pieces, deliver a fine mate and then go to the brilliancy contest. It is just a joke, really. But some players do hope for this.
My theory about brilliancy games is: The stronger your opponent, the nicer your game will be. I was not thinking about a brilliancy when I played 1.e4 against Formanek. When the game was over, Larsen told me: ”It was brilliant!”. Then I found the tournment director, George Koltanowski, and said: ”George, I was trying to be a Morphy—here is the game.”
”No,” he repied. ”You were not Morphy. I saw the game: you were you!” ”
gm Kavalek,L – Formanek,Ed
US Open , Boston, 18.8.1970