International grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek began to write for The Washington Post about chess in 1986 and continued for the next 23 years.

I am sad to see the end of a great chess column. GMs Kavalek and Byrne (NY Times) are two of the greatest chess columnists of my time. Week after week, they put out great chess columns for everyone to enjoy. Thank you!

By Lubomir Kavalek
Monday, January 4, 2010; 8:20 AM

I have written some 760 chess columns for The Washington Post, and this one is the last…

All that chess

Magnus Carlsen, 19, walks into the new decade as the world’s top-rated player. His January FIDE rating is 2810, five points ahead of Veselin Topalov and 20 points ahead of the world champion, Vishy Anand. An incredible accomplishment!

In 2004, Carlsen played a brilliant game in Holland. His victory made a great impression and I called him the Mozart of chess. He was 13 at that time and, according to my good friend, the late Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan, he was too old to be compared to the great music composer. But it was too late. The name stuck.

From club players to grandmasters, from recreational enthusiasts to world champions — a great spectrum of chess players appeared in this column over the years. They shared a love for chess and it was a pleasure to comment on their games. Some players appeared more frequently and were closely connected with my chess career.

Bobby Fischer was one of them. Born five months apart on different sides of the Atlantic, we became good friends during the world championship match he played against Boris Spassky in Reykjavik in 1972. Although I was reporting for Voice of America, I did not hesitate when Bobby asked me to help him with the adjournment of the 13th game. From then on until the end of the match we analyzed together.

Bobby was obsessed with winning and was not happy until he had exhausted all possibilities. This became clear when we analyzed the adjourned position of Game 18. We soon realized that every winning attempt was doomed. The chances tilted to Spassky, but was Boris winning? Bobby’s eyes lit up when I suggested a queen maneuver, forcing Spassky to repeat the moves. “Great! We have a draw. Let’s go for the win again,” and we spent four more hours trying to find something that wasn’t there. For a single victory, Bobby would work himself to exhaustion, always giving his all.

Fischer strived for perfection even after the match was over and he had won the world title. He wanted me to do the first interview. Brad Darrach waited outside of Bobby’s house when I arrived. He was covering the match for Life magazine and was the only other reporter with daily access to Fischer. “Bobby insisted you go first,” Darrach told me. The conversation with Bobby went fine, but he wanted to check the tape over and over, just like the analysis. “Just to be sure you have everything there,” he said. An excerpt from it ended up in the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Here is the full article.

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