How much do you have to know to become a strong chess player? According to Russian folklore you have to know 300 chess positions to become a grandmaster, but nobody knows what exactly these positions are. Read the entire article by GM Lubosh Kavalek.
For those that don’t know, Kavalek, is a Czech-American GM and former Czech champion (1962 and 1968). When the Soviets invaded Prague in August 1968, Kavalek was playing in a tournament in Poland and decided to defect to the West rather than return to Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia. He bought several crates of vodka with his winnings from that tournament then used them to bribe the border guards. In 1970, he moved to Washington, D.C.
He was co-winner of the 1973 US Championship and won it outright in 1978, finishing with an undefeated 10-4 record. Also in 1978, Kavalek won a match against Ulf Andersson (at the time Andersson was a world class player) by the iscore of 6.5 to 3.5.
Kavalek had a notable coaching career, working with IM Mark Dieson, GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Robert Huebner and was one of Fischer’s seconds when he won the World Championship. He also served as GM Nigel Short’s trainer in Short's matches against former world champion Karpov and Timman.
From the end of 1962 until 1988 Kavalek ranked among the top 100 players in the world peaking at 2625.