Wesley So Beats David Navara 3-1 In CEZ Trophy Match

Wesley So Beats David Navara 3-1 In CEZ Trophy Match

| 10 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Wesley So would currently be playing in the Norway Chess tournament if he hadn't committed to the 2015 CEZ Trophy match with GM David Navara in Prague. So dominated the match from start to finish, and won 3-1.

The CEZ Chess Trophy, also known as the annual “David Navara versus a very strong GM,” was organized by the Prague Chess Society. This year, Navara's opponent was Wesley So.

The long-running sponsor, CEZ Group (Ceské Energetické Závody in Czech) is a conglomerate of 96 companies (including the parent company CEZ, a.s.) involved in the electricity generation, trade, distribution and heat, as well as coal mining.

Like in recent years, the format was a four-game match. It was held in the Michna Palace, a baroque palace located in the south part of the Lesser Town of Prague, Czech Republic.

The Michna Palace in Prague. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Both players were involved in side activities, before the real match started. So gave the traditional opening simul on Friday afternoon, against 22 opponents. It wasn't an easy simul as some of the players were rated above 2200.

It's interesting to quote a bit more from the official website when they write about this simul:

“On all the chessboards he opened with 1.e4 and those who responded with 1...e5 had to face the King’s Gambit. As if the former world champion Boris Spassky himself was playing...After 100 minutes it was over: the grandmaster So won 18 games, three opponents managed to draw (...)”

The King's Gambit will always remain a bit magical and it's just perfect for a simul, where few players will be aware of today's theory. GM Magnus Carlsen also played it at the blitz tournament in Stavanger last Monday, where GM Levon Aronian easily equalized.

So playing 1.e4 on all boards, and finishing the simul in less than two hours. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Navara was involved in something quite interesting as well: the Czech number one has written a biography which was launched on Saturday, before the first game. Published in Czech, it is called My Chess World. Hopefully it will be translated into English soon!

Navara signing his first biography. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

The first game of the match was a 6.h3 Najdorf that started with the moves 1.Nf3 c5 2.e4. Navara's setup with Be3, then f4 and Bxf4 (losing a tempo) and Qe2-e3 (another one) wasn't critical, and So grabbed the initiative on the queenside.

Navara had to defend an opposite-colored bishop ending being a pawn down, but it was dangerous because So's pawns were connected. At one moment Black was winning.


The match taking off on Saturday. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

The second game saw some nice positional play by So in an English/Reversed Dragon, where he kept his opening advantage until the endgame. It seems that only in the rook ending Navara made the decisive mistake.


A narrow escape for Navara in game two. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

In his last white game Navara didn't come close to an opening advantage. Well prepared in a Semi-Slav, So was at least equal by move 20. He could have reached a slightly better ending but the way he played was solid enough for an easy draw.


Again no problems for So in game three. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

The same opening appeared on the board in the last game, and again it was So who seemed to be better prepared. A premature pawn push in the center by Navara led to problems; his queen's bishop was terribly passive. When the white king joined the party it was all over.



So receiving the 2015 Cez trophy from organizer Pavel Matocha. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.

Match score

Name Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 Pts Perf
So, Wesley 2778 ½ 1 ½ 1 3.0 2941
Navara, David 2751 ½ 0 ½ 0 1.0 2588



One of the special guests was the world-renowned trainer Mark Dvoretsky,
who gave a lecture on endings with heavy pieces. | Photo Anežka Kružíková.
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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