Kavalek vs Larsen (B66); Montreal 1979
Continuing on the theme of the extraordinary attacking skills of the recently deceased Lubomir Kavalek, today I take a close look at his game with Bent Larsen from the ‘Tournament of Stars’ held in Montreal 1979, one of the strongest tournaments of the modern era.
Some of my older readers might remember that at the half-way point in the tournament Kavalek was in last position with ony 1.5 points from 9 games (!).
What happened next is undoubtedly one of the best come backs in modern chess: Kavalek scored a sizzling 6.5 points from 9 games, enabling him to avoid last place (this honor when to Larsen).
Besides this achievement, Kavalek also played some of the best chess of his career in these rounds. The following game, in particular, demonstrates his attacking skills.
Kavalek,L – Larsen,B
Montreal May 1, 1979
A very impressive victory. Larsen also defended very resourcefully and has nothing to be ashamed of. It was a great fight!
Had Larsen not rushed 16…b4 (and instead played 16…Rac8) then the game would still be a fight with chances for both sides. Perhaps White is slightly better, but in such a wild position both sides would have had chances. One slip would be enough for either side to lose.
I think it is for this reason that today theoreticians prefer the immediate 10.Bxf6. It is probably also for this reason that very few strong players play Larsen’s move order, except in blitz games.