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Czech a strong mate on US chess teams

Lubomir Kavalek has been one of the strongest chessplayers in the United States since the early 1970s, when he emigrated from Czechoslovakia. When Kavalek came to the US, he took up residence in Washington, D.C., and became a citizen. In 1972 he tied for first place in the US Championship but lost in a playoff with Robert Byrne and Samuel Reshevsky.

Over the years, the 43-year-old international grandmaster has represented both his native and adopted countries in the chess Olympics. He played for the Czechs twice in the 1960s, and played first board for the US in '74.

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He was also a key member of last year's US team, which won the bronze medal at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In recent years Kavalek has developed a super-solid style, and although he may sometimes draw a bit more than either he or his admirers might like, he seldom loses a game.

And when his opponent gives him an opportunity he is a consummate artist of the chessboard.

Witness today's game, taken from Round 2 in Dubai, where Kavalek was playing third board.

Lanka Ravi of India made no tactical mistakes but was outplayed positionally until he found himself completely helpless to defend a mating attack.

I'm sure the reader will both enjoy and profit from seeing how the conquest of the weak squares led directly to the final mating play. Torre Attack Kavalek Ravi 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. N-KB3 P-K3 3. B-N5 P-Q4 (a) 4. P-K3 P-B4 5. QN-Q2 B-K2 (b) 6. P-B3 O-O 7. B-Q3 P-QN3 8. N-K5 B-N2 9. O-O QN-Q2 10. Q-R4 (c) P-KR3 (d) 11. B-R4 NxN 12. PxN N-Q2 13. B-N3 Q-B2 14. N-B3 P-QR4 15. QR-Q1 KR-Q1 (e) 16. B-N1 P-QN4 17. Q-KN4 Q-B3 18. B-B4 P-B4 (f) 19. PxP, e.p. NxP 20. Q-R3 B-KB1 21. N-K5 Q-N3 22. B-N6 B-B1 23. B-B7 ch K-R2 24. P-KN4 (g) R-R2 25. P-N5 N-Q2 26. P-N6 ch K-R1 27. NxN BxN 28. B-K5 resigns (h)

A.This is acceptable, but we prefer the more elastic 3.P-B4, with 4.... P-QN3 and 5.... B-N2, unless Black intends to play for Q-N3.

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B.A critical alternative is 5.... Q-N3, when White could play the conservative 6.R-QN1 or a sharp positional pawn sacrifice with 6.BxN, PxB; 7.P-B4!

C.A sneaky blend of positional and tactical ideas. Ostensibly exploiting the white squares on the queenside, the real point of the move becomes apparent after 10....NxN; 11.PxN, when Black loses a healthy pawn after 11.... N-K5 or a full piece on 11.... N-Q2 (or 11.... N-K1); 12.Q-R4 because of the threats on KR7 and K7.

D.This allows Black to exchange White's strong knight, but weakens the white squares, should Black later advance his KBP.

E.Aiming to exchange White's king bishop with 15.... B-R3 seems more circumspect at this point.

F.Incurring a white-squared weakness (see Note D), but 18.... K-R1 allows 19.Q-R5, which threatens the KBP as well as a mating sacrifice at KR6.

G.This bayonet attack is decisive. An attractive finish follows after 24.... N-Q2; 25.P-N5, NxN; 26.BxN, P-N3 (else 27.P-N6 ch and 28.QxP mate); 27.Q-R5! PxQ; 28.P-N6 mate.

H.29.QxP mate is unavoidable.

International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times.

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