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Lajos Portisch vs Lubomir Kavalek
Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens (1975)  ·  King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E80)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: An incredible draw! Kavalek at his best.
Aug-30-03  xu fei: What if simply 15.Bxd4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  crafty: 15. ♗xd4 dxe5 16. fxe5 ♗b7 17. axb6 ♘xe5 18. ♗xe5   (eval 2.56; depth 14 ply; 500M nodes)
Aug-30-03  xu fei: I guess Portisch was flashy to a fault here. How he let this game get away is beyond me. And thanks to crafty for the help.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I think that black can play a bit better than Crafty's suggestion: 15.Bxd4 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Bxe5 18.Nxe5 Qd4

...But that line is before Kavalek gave up his queen for a bishop and 2 pawns. I don't think Portisch made any major tactical errors; just a general strategic malaise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Kavalek named 29 Rxd5 as the decisive error when he annotated the game for Chess Life and Review. I'm afraid I can't recall what the winning move would have been. However, I do remember that Ljubojevic demonstrated to him how, if he does not give up the exchange here, white can eventually simplify down to a won ending of queen and two pawns against bishop and six pawns.
Jul-21-05  aw1988: Wow. I'd put it in "Einstein" but I feel it's not quite complicated enough.
Jul-21-05  hintza: I don't know what "Einstein" is, but I feel I should be in it!
Jul-21-05  aw1988: See my game collections.
Jul-21-05  hintza: Oh right, thanks. Very interesting!
Mar-23-06  Breyannis Nektarios: Winning are: 29.Qf3 (Timman) and 29.Bc4 (Ljubo)
Feb-28-07  Rubenus: <aw1988> You have no game collections.
Mar-09-07  shalgo: <I think that black can play a bit better than Crafty's suggestion: 15.Bxd4 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Bxe5 18.Nxe5 Qd4>

In the tournament book, Kavalek mentions Timman's analysis, which continues 19.Ne2 Qxe5 20.axb6 Rd8 21.Ra2 Qc5.

Here Sosonko thought that after 22.Qb1 "objectively speaking, White has winning chances." But Timman pointed out that Sosonko's suggested 22...Rb8 23.Rb2 could be met by 23...Rd6! 24.b7 Rxb7 25.Rxb7 Bxb7 26.Qxb7 Rxd3 and "the white king still cannot find a way out."

It would be interesting to know what a computer makes of this analysis.

Dec-09-07  xeroxmachine: Definitely ( not at his worst :O
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Kavalek revisited this game earlier this year in his chess column ( He now appears to believe that the sacrifice was sound--although white could have improved his play, black can still draw regardless.
Sep-14-08  Jaja01: Find and Compare more chess games at
Jul-27-09  WhiteRook48: forcing a draw down a rook
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: according to GM Kavalek, this game was in contention for the Leo van Kuijk prize in Wijk aan Zee 1975. Kavalek's 20...bb7 was the engine's choice!

Lajos Portisch - Lubomir Kavalek, Wijk aan Zee 1975

after 20.Kf1

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 2.2n2 mp 32-bit:

1. (2.86): 20...Bb7 21.Nxe8 Bxc6
2. (3.01): 20...Bxa1 21.Nxe8 Rxe8
3. (3.18): 20...e2+ 21.Bxe2 Bxa1

Feb-28-14  LIFE Master AJ: One of the coolest draws ever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "Forty years ago, the <Leo van Kuijk prize> for the most spectacular game was given to me by his son (right on the photo I earned it for a positional queen sacrifice for a mere bishop against Lajos Portisch. It was a fascinating draw and the Hungarian grandmaster thought we should split the prize. "You got my queen," I told him,"I get the prize. Mind over matter." Portisch didn't come up short. He won the 1975 Wijk aan Zee tournament.

The game was analyzed by strong grandmasters such as Jan Timman, Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Ulf Andersson, Jonathan Speelman, Ludek Pachman and many others. I analyzed it on 15 pages in the tournament book, but it is presented here in much shorter version. It also appeared in Andrew Soltis' "The 100 Best Chess Games of the 20th Century, Ranked." The computers more or less confirmed our findings."

Kavalek revisited his gem again:

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