June 09, 2014 11:24

Nakamura Wins First Two in Match Versus Navara

Hikaru Nakamura declined his invitation to play in the Norway Chess tournament this year. Instead, this week he can be found behind the board in Prague. The U.S. number one is David Navara's opponent in the 2014 edition of the Cez Chess Trophy and this year it's a match played over four classical games. Nakamura started very well: he won the first two games.

The ČEZ Chess Trophy could be described as the annual “David Navara versus a very strong GM” event organized by the Prague Chess Society. The long running sponsor, ČEZ Group (České Energetické Závody in Czech) is a conglomerate of 96 companies (including the parent company ČEZ, a.s.) involved in the electricity generation, trade, distribution and heat, as well as coal mining.

Like last year, when Navara eventually lost to Hou Yifan in the Armageddon game of the playoff, a match of four games is held in the Michna Palace, a baroque palace located in the south part of the Lesser Town of Prague, Czech Republic.

Michna Palace

This time Navara's opponent is world #7 Hikaru Nakamura; Navara himself is ranked #26.

Organizer Pavel Matocha showing Nakamura the beatiful old centre of Prague
Under the famous astronomical clock

The event started with a simul by Nakamura held on Friday, June 6th, against 30 opponents. His final score was 28-2 with no losses and four draws, against Libor Kičmer, Jaroslav Sysel, Vojtěch Trochta and Tomáš Habiňák.

Next on the program was the opening ceremony which took place in the EA Hotel Juliš on Prague's Wenceslas's square. The mayor of Prague, Oldřich Lomecký, had prepared a pleasant surprise for GM Vlastimil Hort, whom he awarded for his lifelong contribution to chess. Under the supervision of the Chief Arbiter Pavel Votruba, the colors for the first game were drawn by ombudsman of ČEZ group, Josef Sedlák. Navara would start the match with white pieces.

A giant rook for Vlastimil Hort

On Saturday morning, Mr Hort gave a lecture titled “Famous and strange chess players of Prague's history”, after which there was a launch of a new chess book, Černobílá cesta (Black and white road), which consists of 45 studies of the great chess composer Mario Matous, chess stories written by Pavel Houser and beautifully illustrated pictures by Kristina Perichova.

And then, at 4pm, the match finally started. Nakamura played his beloved King's Indian and Navara countered with the 6.h3 line, in recent years popularized by Michal Krasenkow. The American grandmaster had played the same line against Karjakin in Shamkir and so he was well prepared. With a pawn sacrifice he managed to activate his pieces and Navara failed to deal with the pressure.

PGN string

The second game, played on Sunday, saw the Semi-Slav variation in which Vishy Anand defeated Levon Aronian brilliantly as Black one and a half years ago in Wijk aan Zee. This time it was Navara who played the first new move, after going for a known pawn sacrifice, but the Czech number one failed to equalize. However, it looks like Nakamura quickly played an inaccurate move and Black won back the pawn.

Then Nakamura won the black a-pawn, but the position was equal anyway as White's weakened kingside prevented him from making progress. At some point there was a repetition, but Navara didn't go for it, allowing White to consolidate and decide the game with his a-pawn.

PGN string

In Prague the games are commentated by GMs Ján Markoš and Robert Cvek. The last two are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, and in the mornings there will be a lecture by Mr Cvek and a quiz by Mr Hort.

Match score


Photos © Anežka Kružíková courtesy of the Prague Chess Society. | Games via TWIC.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

Nakamura knows he would stand no chance in the powerful field in Norway, so he prefers to use some weak East European GM as a punching bag. Nothing interesting about any of this.

eltollo's picture

Why then did you (read and) comment on this article?

Anonymous's picture

he got T-2 with Carlsen last year in Norway and 3rd on Tie Breaks so yes clearly doesn't belong in Norway. Navara was 2730 when this event started Nakamura was 2775. In contrast Carlsen was 2880. So you are saying that 45 > 105? If you say so anon...

Anton's picture

calling David Nava "some weak East European GM"
tells everything about you

Abbas's picture

So why he is getting invitations from the top rated tournaments?

Snee's picture

Many people here are not able to simply enjoy two nice chess games instead of always just focusing on results and "who is better than who". Pathetic.

amazing's picture

So you can get a performance rating of 2478 if you lose two games with a 2775 GM. Amazing is this system.
I am thinking I can at least become an FM if I lose two games to Carlsen... :-p

For example:
Rc:2881, W:0, N:2
Calculation: 2081=2881+(-800)
Initial Rating: 2081
Source: Fide ratings calculator

Greco's picture


Born's picture

You're a fool. It is impossible to accuratly determine someones strenght based on two games. If you think you can do it better then do it!

Dirk's picture

It's Just math. Look at Caruana's performance rating after his first two rounds in Norway. It was 3500 or thereabouts. When GMNavara gets a draw or win then the numbers will reflect that. Good luck to him because he will need it.

jsy's picture

If I'm not mistaken, you cannot gain ratings points when you lose a game...so isn't this performance rating just an "academic exercise"?

Greco's picture

---deleted, English please---

Dirk's picture

I hope he wins all 4 games. I like Navara but Nakamura has had some middling results so far this year and it's nice to see him play some interesting, as well as correct chess. What a beautiful venue that is.

S3's picture

Where's Shmee?

Anonymous's picture

Dont know much about this Navara but I remember he got some matches in the past, against Polgar and Laznicka where he got completely destroyed.. lol. Why are those guys in Prag sticking to him instead of Laznicka.

RG13's picture

Navara also couldn't beat Hou Yifan who was almost 100 points weaker than him when he played her. However he must have good results in tournaments to have the rating he does.

Anonymous's picture

Doesn't HK have enough sense to wear a Red Bull T-shirt, whether or not he's specifically paid to do so....they are still sponsoring him, aren't they?

Dirk's picture

This event isn't being broadcasted... He should wear what is comfortable. His sense seems to be serving him well by avoiding Agdestein and his band of merry men in Norway. Instead he is enjoying a relaxing working chess vacation in Czechoslovakia and picking up a few points and a few euros as well . Seems highly intelligent to me, in fact.

Simple Pole etc.'s picture

There is no such country as Czechoslovakia :)

Dirk's picture

Ah, yes. Silly old me ;-). They are in Prague, *Czech Republic*.

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