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Andersson - Kavalek Match

Lubomir Kavalek6.5/10(+3 -0 =7)[games]
Ulf Andersson3.5/10(+0 -3 =7)[games] Chess Event Description
Andersson - Kavalek (1978)

This match was played in Washington DC, from 30th April to 14th May 1978. A prominent Washington businessman - Ilya Chamberlain - privately sponsored the match after he was unable to secure corporate sponsorship from Volvo. Chamberlain provided a $5,000 purse, with $3,000 going to the winner. (1, 4) In the case of a tie, the purse would be divided equally. (2)

"Chamberlain is a retired biochemist who receives royalties from patents on a soybean fermentation process. A native of London, he taught at Oxford and was for four years a vice president of a major American food-processing company. In his retirement, Chamberlain passes his time selling Volvos to members of the diplomatic corps in Washington." (3)

Andersson stayed with Kavalek during the match which was played in a friendly atmosphere. Game 1 took place in Chamberlain's car dealership's showroom: Volvo of Washington, 4800 Wisconsin Ave. Thereafter the players moved to the manager's office. Spectators were admitted to the showroom for a charge of $2, where Mark Diesen (World Junior Chess Champion in 1976, Elo 2440) provided analysis and commentary. Diesen had the opportunity to get to know Andersson when they had both played in the 18th International "Costa del Sol" tournament in Spain, February 1978. Mike Ciamarra was the referee. The games began at 4 pm. (4) "The publicity, both in the local press and on TV were highly gratifying ..." (4)

The players

The players had met eight times since 1972, with Andersson winning twice. The remaining games were drawn, and often short. On this occasion, Kavalek won by 6-3. Although Kavalek won the match by winning the 9th game, the tenth was played anyway.

This was a time of improvement for Andersson. He won first prizes at Belgrade (1977), Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1978), and Hastings (1978/79), and reached a career peak in 1982-85. Andersson was considered a slight favourite. Kavalek had finished joint first in two US championships (US Championship (1972) and US Championship (1973)). "During the 1970's Kavalek was one of the most active and successful tournament competitors from the USA." (5) After this match, he went on to win the 26th US Championship (June 4th-26th 1978). By doing so, he qualified for the Riga Interzonal (1979).

Progress of the match

This was a slow burning match which came to life in its final four games - three of which were decisive. Kavalek won twice with White and once with Black.

Age Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 GM Kavalek 34 2570 1 1 1 6 GM Andersson 26 2545 0 0 0 3 (6)

Kavalek had White in the odd-numbered games.

Game 1: Sunday 30th April - In the first game Kavalek had White. It was a very cautious draw, a main line Queen's Indian lasting only 17 moves. Next year at Sao Paulo, Andersson repeated the defence and drew in 21 moves with Ljubojevic.

Game 2: Monday 1st May, <They played 16 moves of a King's Indian Defense yesterday> (Evening Star, 2nd May, p. 28). Andersson opened the second game with a double fianchetto, but neither player wanted a fight, and there was a short draw in 16 moves.

Game 3: Thursday 4th May, <yesterday ... their third draw, this one in 20 moves> (Evening Star, 5th May, p. 30, which also says game was postponed because the local group called the Washington Plumbers had recruited Andersson for their National Chess League telephone match). The third game also was a solid and short draw, this time a QGD Semi Tarrasch in 20 moves.

Game 4: Friday 5th May, <yesterday adjourned the fourth game> (Evening Star, 6th May, p. 16). The fourth was the first game in the match of real substance. Kavalek won a pawn, but was unable to convert the win when Andersson held up the passed pawn in the opposite coloured Bishop ending. It appears to have been drawn after the adjournment.

Game 5: Sunday 7th May, <drew the fifth game ... yesterday> (Evening Star, 8th May, p. 55). Andersson had to contend with Kavalek's rook on his seventh rank, but after he had liquidated it, he held an opposite coloured bishop ending.

Game 6: Tuesday 9th May, <short draw yesterday> (Evening Star, 10th May, p. 71). A King's Indian Defence, in which Andersson as White, was content to draw in short order.

Game 7: Wednesday 10th May, <Kavalek .. defeated .. Andersson ... in the seventh game ... yesterday> (Evening Star, 11th May, p. 45). Kavalek played dynamically against Andersson's Caro-Kann. Andersson, judging by his play, seemed taken aback and played imprecisely. He tried to sacrifice an exchange at his 18th move, but this was insufficient to save him, and he was overwhelmed rapidly.

Game 8: Thursday 11th May, <the eighth game ... was adjourned yesterday after 40 moves> (Evening Star, 12th May, p. 28). Andersson opened using one of his K-side fianchetto systems, but achieved little. He tried for a long time to win an ending in which he had only a scintilla of an advantage.

Game 9: Friday 12th May, <adjourned the ninth game ... Friday after 42 moves ... Game 8 was also adjourned. Thus, two games awaited conclusion. The 10th and final game was to be played today, starting at 1 p.m.> (Evening Star, 14th May, p. 57). Andersson lost on the Black side of a Caro-Kann again. This time late in the game due to a blunder.

click for larger view

He played 44...Bxb3? and resigned four moves later.

Game 10: Sunday 14th May, <Kavalek won the tenth ... game in 39 moves ... yesterday> (Evening Star, 15th May, p. 39). Andersson had White, and was faced with a King's Indian Defence. Kavalek obtained some advantage, but the game ended unexpectedly after Andersson lashed out on the K-side with <g4>, fatally weakening his position.

click for larger view


(1) Chess, July 1978, nos. 797-8, p. 309.
(2) Evening Star, Washington DC, 1st May, p. 43.
(3) Washington Checkmate?, by Joseph McLellan, in The Washington Post, December 30, 1978 (
(3) High-Geared Chess, by Joseph McLellan, in The Washington Post, May 3, 1978 (
(4) Chess, vol. 43, nos. 797-8, pp. 309-310.
(5) The Oxford Companion to Chess, Second edition, p. 195, Oxford University Press (1992).
(6) Chess Results, 1978-1980, Gino Di Felice, p. 90.

User: Chessical - original text and compilation; User: OhioChessFan - proof read and provided improvements to the text; User: Chessdreamer - provided the missing scores for games 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8; User: Tabanus - sourced and transcribed the match reports from the Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC, this material has been used in full.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kavalek vs Ulf Andersson  ½-½171978Andersson - KavalekE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
2. Ulf Andersson vs Kavalek  ½-½161978Andersson - KavalekA04 Reti Opening
3. Kavalek vs Ulf Andersson  ½-½201978Andersson - KavalekA13 English
4. Ulf Andersson vs Kavalek  ½-½421978Andersson - KavalekA04 Reti Opening
5. Kavalek vs Ulf Andersson  ½-½521978Andersson - KavalekD42 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3
6. Ulf Andersson vs Kavalek  ½-½211978Andersson - KavalekA04 Reti Opening
7. Kavalek vs Ulf Andersson 1-0311978Andersson - KavalekB15 Caro-Kann
8. Ulf Andersson vs Kavalek  ½-½561978Andersson - KavalekA04 Reti Opening
9. Kavalek vs Ulf Andersson 1-0481978Andersson - KavalekB12 Caro-Kann Defense
10. Ulf Andersson vs Kavalek  0-1391978Andersson - KavalekA46 Queen's Pawn Game
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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