Navara and Timman the strongest in Prague

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Update: an analysis by GM Sergei Movsesian has been added.

In Prague David Navara and Jan Timman both won their rapid matches against Nigel Short and Jana Jackov?ɬ° respectively. Navara beat Short convincingly: 7-3. Short managed to beat the young Czech, who was so succesful in Mainz, only once. Timman's victory was even bigger, 7,5-2,5, though he lost twice.

The match Short-Navara started peacefully with two draws, although in the second game they played on till there were only two kings left on the board. In the third game Navara was the first to struck, after he changed his 1...e5 of the first game for a Sicilian Najdorf. With the way Short accepted the exchange sacrifice of his young opponent, he had probably already planned the queen sacrifice afterwards but it was a bit too brilliant. These games were played on Thursday. Yesterday Navara started increasing his lead by beating Short twice more, thereby deciding the classical part of the match in his favour. In game 4, 28...Re8 looks suspicious and game 5 just looks like a very strong ending by Navara (again after a different opening; David tried the French there!). The last game was tactical draw, and so Navara's reputation as a strong rapid player still holds.

In the Chess960 part of today (4 games) Short could safe his own reputation a bit. His first game was a nice show in the style of his old hero Bobby, where he outplayed Navara in Fischer's favourite ending bishop against knight. After a draw in the second game Short again sacrificed his queen in the third. It seems a new habit of his (remember his game against Bluvshtein in Montreal?) but so far he only scored losses with it. The last game was decided after a nice, not so difficult (from hindsight) tactical blow by Navara, bringing an impressive 7-3 on the scoreboard.

(For the Chess960 games see below.)

The rapid part of the match Timman-Jackov?ɬ° has to be called a walk-over. The Dutchman started, just like Navara, with 2,5 out of 3 on the first day. In the first game we saw Timman at his best: in a quiet ending from the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation outplaying his opponent slowly but surely. The second also looked good from an old Timman favourite, the Pirc Defence, and the third game ended in a draw after Jackova reacted better to the Ruy Lopez Exchange. But on Friday Timman didn't show any more mercy and beat his female opponent with Black in a Scheveningen, with White in a Queen's Indian and then again with Black in what I think was a Hungarian Defence.

Today, at first Timman looked like using the same force when he won game 1, but then suddenly Jackova managed to beat him. Perhaps the Dutchman was still a bit in shock because he lost game 3 in just 9 moves! But then he decided the last game in his favour again and so this match only saw one draw and finished 7,5-2,5 for Timman.

The Chess960 games of both matches:

After we published this article, the organizers sent us an analysis by GM Sergei Movsesian of the third match game Short-Navara:

GM Short ?Ǭ? ?Ǭ? 0 0 0 ?Ǭ? 1 ?Ǭ? 0 0 3.0
GM Navara ?Ǭ? ?Ǭ? 1 1 1 ?Ǭ? 0 ?Ǭ? 1 1 7.0

GM Timman 1 1 ?Ǭ? 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 7?Ǭ?
WGM Jackov?ɬ° 0 0 ?Ǭ? 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2?Ǭ?

The press conference before the start of the rounds

The playing hall in the Best Western Hotel Kampa in Prague

The action on stage


The commentator Lubosh (but for this weekend Lubomir again) Kavalek

Kavalek, Timmand and Navara

David Navara

Well... a creative photograper, let's keep it at that.

Photos by Jan Rasch except for the last one which was taken by Filip Reinoso.
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