Rapport Beats Navara 2.5-1.5 In CEZ Chess Trophy Match

Rapport Beats Navara 2.5-1.5 In CEZ Chess Trophy Match

14 | Chess Event Coverage

In the traditional Cez Chess Trophy match David Navara this year faced Richard Rapport. The Hungarian won a four-game match with three draws and a win in the final game.

The CEZ Chess Trophy, an annual match between Czech number one David Navara and a strong international grandmaster, has become a long-lasting tradition. Again it was organized by the Prague Chess Society, and again the beautiful venue was the Michna Palace, a baroque palace in the south part of the Lesser Town of Prague, Czech Republic.

The Michna Palace in Prague. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

The event is always much more than just a match between two players. This year the players were involved in a nice activity beforehand: a blindfold game with the moves being re-enacted by humans in medieval costumes. The game was won by Rapport. Afterward the players were also available for an autograph session.

Human chess on Strelecky Island. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Another side event was a blindfold simul by GM Timur Gareev, who is touring Europe and doing several of these exhibitions. He is training for an attempt to break the world record of blindfold simuls, in December, probably in the Czech Republic as well.

Gareev likes to spin a stationary bike when playing blindfold chess. | Photo: Anežka Kružíková.

Gareev likes to spin a stationary bike when playing blindfold chess. “This enhances the blood-flow and gives me a sense of energy and flow,” he wrote on Chessbase. ”During the four-hour event I biked about 38 kilometers and burned 800 calories. I imagine I burned at least that many calories in brain power as well.”

The first game was played on Sunday, June 5. Rapport chose a quiet line in the English/Réti that has become fashionable lately. Navara deviated from a recent game he played in China, and decide to put his king's bishop on a more active square. Rapport still kept the advantage but there was little to play for with opposite-colored bishops.

The next day we finally got to see the Rapport we know: a GM toying with openings that few of his colleagues like to try. As it turned out, for this match he had prepared the Alekhine, an opening he had never played before in a serious game.

Navara didn't blink, played his next moves fast and then took some time before going for a solid setup that offers a tiny edge. After a knight maneuver to c4 and a nice tactical phase starting from move 31 Rapport was fine.

Rapport surprised his opponent with the Alekhine. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Game three was the shortest of the match but still quite interesting. In a Symmetrical English Navara lost the right to castle but had correctly evaluated that White couldn't maintain his knight on d6.

David Navara playing another match in Prague. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Navara has played some of the strongest players in the world, and so his overall score in Prague is not great. He also finished this one as the loser because things went wrong on the final day. In another Alekhine, Navara tried the main line this time but got much less out of the opening and was subsequently outplayed.

Rapport takes home the winner's trophy. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Match score

Name Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 Pts Perf
Rapport Richard 2778 ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5 2823
Navara, David 2751 ½ ½ ½ 0 1.5 2643


Other events included the premiere of the Chess Train documentary by the British Estonian director Maris Flabba, filmed during the 2015 edition. The Chess Train tournament is a great event organized by the Prague Chess Society each fall, where players play chess in a train crossing through Europe. The trailer:

Chess Train from Maris Salumets on Vimeo.

There was also a lecture “Legends of Czech chess – old Czech masters: Opocensky, Flohr, Hromadka” by GM Vlastimil Hort, a lecture on building an opening repertoire and one about Bobby Fischer, both by GM Robert Cvek. 

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