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Nakamura Wins First Two in Match Versus Navara

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 6/9/14, 2:30 AM.

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.

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.

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

Name Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 Pts Perf
Nakamura, Hikaru 2775 1 1 2 3021
Navara, David 2724 0 0 0 2478

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

6223 reads 37 comments
5 votes

Comments


  • 6 months ago

    Andromalius2002

    What a fun article on the goings-on of the chess world! It's always interesting to see what Mr. Nakamura is up to. And those are very beautiful pictures of Prague!

    Hopefully next year I'm the one invited to play. I won't say no.  Wink

  • 6 months ago

    AleSGCHESS

    Nakamura I would like to see u beating Magnus soon!!! I hope you don´t decline the next big tournment!!! 

  • 6 months ago

    GM Hikaru

    Very tough match! I came out on top, but Navara played quite well with the exception of a few blunders. Thanks for the kind comments, cheers!

  • 6 months ago

    melvinbluestone

    @savantz:

           Yeah, you're right. Man, that's cuttin' it close! May be good planning by Naka. On the other hand, if he doesn't do well in Dubai......

           Well, good luck to the whole bunch of em'!

  • 6 months ago

    bongcloudftw

    Nakamura even has time to respond to these posts while halfway through a match. Impressive!

  • 6 months ago

    Ceress

    I'm from Czech Republic, but I'm big fan Hikaru Nakamura. Go Naka, I believe that you win 4:0 :)

  • 6 months ago

    kiloNewton

      i think it has been a good idea not to play 9 standard games against strongest players just before the world rapid & blitz championship. Naka is fide no 1 both in rapid & blitz. the norway Supertournament could have taken some of his energy and confidence. these 4 rounds are good - they will give both preparation and rest!

  • 6 months ago

    fershenko7

    Naka, if you ever make your way to world champion, you will always be the people's champion.

  • 6 months ago

    hreedwork

    Yes, Naka is a solid chess player, and a solid person.

  • 6 months ago

    Jesus-H-Krist

    Naka that cartoon is kind of funny.....  

  • 6 months ago

    Jesus-H-Krist

     Naka is a stand up guy....  Just the fact that he answers questions  in this forum is a testament to that.   

  • 6 months ago

    Talonflame_Fan

    I think chess.com should edit the fact about 30 opponents, because even Mr. Hikaru here has stated that he actually faced 32 opponents, and we wouldn't want people to get the wrong information.

  • 6 months ago

    MrMars

    Hikaru, you keep rocking on!

  • 6 months ago

    JohanVT

    Yes, so it seems...

    If he played 32 games and drew 4, than the score should be 30-2 I think. What probably happened was that Peter considered that Naka had four draws out of 30 games, thus having a score of 28-2, not knowing that there were other two games added later.

  • 6 months ago

    Talonflame_Fan

    Aha! See I was right!!

  • 6 months ago

    DJOKER27

    Thanks for the clarification Hikaru! Could you share in your own words why you chose this event over norway? There is some implication being made by some individuals that you are dodging elite competition and playing in a second teir event. I don't hold this view but it would be nice if you could shed some light, thanks!

  • 6 months ago

    FM MikeKlein

    I really like these mini matches that Navara plays. I wish more organizers hosted these matches.

  • 6 months ago

    GM Hikaru

    To clarify a point as per the article. First off, the simul was originally 30 players, but it ended up being 32 (at least 2 players were 2200+) and I won 28 games with 4 draws. 

    Prague is a truly beautiful city with a great atmosphere especially in summer. 

  • 6 months ago

    Wappinschaw

    He's clearly too good for Navara.

  • 6 months ago

    JohanVT

    Yes, each draw is "half of a win"

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