GM David Navara (2751) vs GM Wesley So (2778) match, Cez Trophy 2015, Prague photo grab from

The traditional ČEZ Chess Trophy 2015 Festival is held from 12-16th June, 2015 at the marvelous Michna Palace on Kampa Island, in Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.

The highlight of the festival is a match of four games between World #14 David Navara (2751) and World #9 Wesley So (2778).

Official Website of the match between Wesley So and David Navara

Michna Palace or also the Palace of Michna from Vacínov, newly known as Tyršův dům, is a pretentious Baroque palace, located in the south part of the Lesser Town, on the borderline of Újezd and Karmelitská Street. Nowadays, it is a residency of The Sokol Movement and of Faculty of the Physical Education and Sport of Charles University.

At the end of the 16th century, a Renaissance folly was originally built here, whose owners changed quite often and each one of them made various construction works and additional changes. The folly therefore turned into a Renaissance villa with a large garden, which became a property of an imperial courtly official, Paul Michna from Vacínov, in 1623. He rebuilt the villa completely in the Baroque style and turned it into a huge palace. In the second half of the 17th century, it was purchased by the Schwarzenbergs and from the second half of the 18th century the palace was used by the army, up to the end of the First World War, when it was classified as a ruin, due to its poor state. In 1923, the ruins of Michna Palace were purchased from the City of Prague by The Sokol Movement and the palace was rebuilt into its current state.

Michna Palace has already hosted the World Chess Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, the best female chess-player of all times Judit Polgár, the chess legends Vlastimil Hort, Lubomír Kaválek and Jan Smejkal and many more world GMs during the ČEZ CHESS TROPHY 2013 festival.

CHESS TROPHY 2015 So – Navara (match) 2015, 12 – 16 Jun 2015, Prague

GM WESLEY SO  –  2778

USA, where he also lives. He has represented at the Chess Olympiads since he was 12, he became a grandmaster at the age of 14 and entered the chess top ten when he was 20. He is currently the No. 7 in the world ranking (ELO 2778).

In 2008, he won at the largely attended tournament in Dubai and a year later he won Group C at the prestigious tournament at Wijk aan Zee. In the same year he was also successful at the Chess World Cup, making it to the fourth round. Since then, So has won a couple of slightly simpler tournaments and became the Philippine Champion in 2011.

One of his most significant achievements is the success at Reykjavik Open in 2013, where he failed to become a champion only due to a worse tie-break score, and especially the last year’s triumph at the Capablanca Memorial in Havana and the Millionaire Chess Tournament in Las Vegas, and also the super tournament at Wijk aan Zee this year, where he shared the second place.

Wesley So studied at Webster University in the USA but left the university this year in order to completely and professionally devote himself to chess. The full overview of So’s tournament result and videos of some of his interesting chess games can be found on his website.


Grandmaster David Navara (30) has been the best Czech chess player for many years. He regularly represents at Chess Olympiads and international tournaments, during the annual Prague Chess Society festivals he already played against Anatoly Karpov, Viktor Korchnoi, Vladimir Kramnik, Nigel Short, Boris Gelfand, Alexei Shirov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Judit Polgár, Sergei Movsesian, Peter Svidler, Hou Yifan, and Hikaru Nakamura.

Navara‘s best result in the world ranking was the 13th place (from 1 January till 30 June 2007), he is currently 14th (ELO 2751).
In January 2007, he attended his first super tournament (Corus 2007 at Wijk aan Zee), where he managed to draw with black pieces with the then world champion Vladimir Kramnik, as well as with the then best ranked world player and current world champion Vishy Anand, and with the then No. 1 Veselin Topalov. He also defeated the current No. 1 Manus Carlsen. In summer 2007 he won the prestigious rapid chess tournament in the German city of Maize, which saw the competition of 762 chess players, including the world top ten grandmasters.

During the European Cup in Budva, Navara shared 1st to 11th place, qualifying for the World Cup.
In 2011, he was very successful at the World Cup, where he made it to the eight best players. The super tournament at Wijk aan Zee in January 2012 was less successful for Navara, yet he managed to win with black pieces over the tournament champion and the world No. 2 Levon Aronian.

He won the European Blitz Chess Championship 2014 and came second at the European Individual Chess Championship this year.
After finishing studies at a grammar-school, he was accepted to four different universities. He chose to study Logic at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, graduating in 2010. He is single and lives at home with his parents. His hobby is sociology and he likes to watch historical documents on TV. Sport, apart from chess (if chess is a sport), is of no interest to him. He writes a very interesting blog, which has thousands of followers.

Game 1

Annotated by Karsten Müller with report of Frederic Friedel on

Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.13
Round: 1
White: Navarra, David – 2751
Black: So, Wesley – 2778
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: B90 – Sicilian, Najdorf

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 Be7 9. f4 exf4 10. Bxf4 Nc6 11. Qe2 Nd7 12. O-O-O Nce5 13. Kb1 O-O 14. g4 Rc8 15. Qe3 Re8 16. Nd4 Qa5 17. a3 Bf8 18. Nf5 Nb6 19. Qd4 Nec4 20. Bxc4 Nxc4 21. Nxd6 Nxa3+ 22. bxa3 Rxc3 23. Qb4 Qxb4+ 24. axb4 Bxd6 25. Bxd6 Rec8 26. Rh2 Re3 27. Rd4 Rc4 28. Rxc4 Bxc4 29. e5 h6 30. Kc1 Kh7 31. Kd2 Rf3 32. Bc5 h5 33. gxh5 Rf5 34. Ke3 Rxh5 35. h4 Be6 36. Bd6 b6 37. Bc7 a5 38. Bxb6 Rxe5+ 39. Kd4 Rd5+ 40. Kc3 axb4+ 41. Kxb4 Rh5 42. Bd8 Re5 43. Rf2 Re4+ 44. Kc3 Kh6 45. Kd3 Rc4 46. Rf4 Rxf4 47. Bg5+ Kh5 48. Bxf4 Kxh4 49. Be5 g5 50. Bf6 Kh5 51. Ke4 Kg6 52. Be5 f6 53. Bc7 Kh5 54. Bd8 f5+ 55. Ke5 Bc8 56. Kf6 f4 57. c4 Kg4 Pure opposite colored bishop endings have a large drawish tendency and fortresses often play the main role. But the following is unusual due to Navara’s active king..

58. Kg6?  58. Bb6! was forced and then f3 59. Be3 Kh5 60. Bf2= is similar to the game. However not 60. Ke5? Kh4-+

58… Bf5+? So misses his only chance to break White’s walls (58… f3 59. Bb6 Kf4 60. Kh5 (60. Bc7+ Ke4 61. Bg3 g4 62. Kg5 Ke3-+)) 60… Bd7 61. Bc7+ Kf5 62. Bg3 Be8+ 63. Kh6 Kg4 64. Bf2 Kf4-+

59. Kf6 Bd3 (59… f3 is met by 60. Bb6 Kf4 61. Bc7+ Ke4 62. Bg3 g4 63. Kg5 Bc8 64. Bf2 Kd3 65. Kh4 Ke2 66. Kg3= with a typical fortress.

60. Bb6 Bxc4 (60… f3 61. Be3=)

61. Bc5 Bd3 62. Bb6 Kh4 63. Bf2+ (63. Ke5? f3 64. Bf2+ Kh3 65. Be1 g4 66. Kf4 Bf5 67. Bf2 Kg2-+)

63… Kh5 64. Bb6 Ba6 65. Bc5 Bc8 66. Bb6 Kg4 67. Bc5 Bd7 68. Bb6 Bf5 69. Bc5 Bc8 70. Bb6 f3 71. Be3! (71. Bf2? Kf4-+)

71… Bd7 72. Kg6 Be8+ 73. Kf6 Bh5 74. Bb6 Bf7 75. Bc5 Bb3 76. Be3 Bd1 77. Kg6 Bc2+ 78. Kf6 Ba4 79. Kg6 Bd7 80. Kf6! Bf5 81. Ke5 Bc8 82. Kf6! Kh5 83. Bf2 Bd7 84. Be3 Bh3 85. Bf2 Kg4 86. Be3! (86. Kg6? Kf4 87. Kh5 Bd7 88. Bb6 Be8+ 89. Kh6 g4 90. Bc7+ Ke3 91. Kg5 Bd7 92. Kh4 f2-+)

86… Bg2 87. Kg6 Bf1 88. Kf6 Bh3 89. Kg6!  Navara’s active king stops any progress. 89. Bf2? Kf4 90. Bb6 g4 91. Bc7+ Ke3 92. Bg3 f2-+)

89… Bf1 90. Kf6 Bd3 91. Bb6 Bh7 92. Be3 Bf5 93. Ke5 Bc2 94. Kf6! (94. Bf2? Kh3 95. Kd4 g4 96. Ke3 Kg2 97. Bh4 g3-+)

94… Bd3 (94… Kh5 95. Bf2 g4 96. Bg3=) 1/2-1/2

Game 2

Annotated by Albert Silver on

Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.14
Round: 2
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black: Navarra, David – 2751
Result: 1-0
ECO: A29- English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. a3 Be6 10. Be3 Nd5  11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Rc1 Bd6 13. Qa4  13. Bc5 Qe7 14. Bxd6 cxd6 15. b4 1/2-1/2  Uhlmann,W (2505)-Seirawan,Y (2510) Thessaloniki 1988

13… Qe8 14. Rfe1  The point is to prevent …Nd4 and if Qxe8 Nxe2+ would win a pawn. Since Wesley spent 25 minutes on this move, it seems safe to say that he was no longer in preparation.

14… Ne7 15. Qxe8 Rfxe8 16. Bc5 Nc6 17. b4 a6 18. Nd2 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Re7 20. Ne4 Rd7 21. g4! Preventing …f5 and securing the knight’s perch.

21… Nd8 22. Bxd6 cxd6 23. Nc3 d5 24. Na4 Rb8 25. e3 f6 26. f4 g6 27. Rc2 Ne6 28. f5 gxf5 29. gxf5 Ng7 30. Rf1 White’s advantage is clear. Black’s knight is currently a passive spectator, and the only open file is controlled by the white rook(s).

30… d4? Whether due to time shortage, or a misjudgement, this is a serious mistake. It allows White to secure the f5 pawn with e4, allowing him to use both his rooks to punch through the c-file.

31. e4 Nh5 32. Nb6 Rg7+ 33. Kf3 Nf4 34. Rfc1! Rf8 The point is that 34… Nxd3? is not possible due to 35. Rc8+ Rxc8 36. Rxc8+ Kf7 37. Rb8!   and incredibly the rook cannot protect the pawn as the king has no way to step aside. h5 38. Rxb7+ Kg8 39. Rb8+ Kf7 40. Nd5 and Black is far from resolving his problems.

35. Rc8 Rgf7 36. Rg1+ Kh8 37. Rc2 Rd8  37… Nxd3 is still not possible due to 38. Nd5 Rd8 39. Rd1 Nf4 40. Nxf4 exf4 41. Kxf4

38. Nd5 Nxd5 39. exd5 Rfd7 40. Rgc1 Rxd5 41. Rc8  Kg7 42. Rxd8 Rxd8 43. Rc7+  The difference in rook activity is huge here, and So exploits it superbly.

43… Kh6 44. Rxb7 Rc8 45. h4 It not only boxes in the king, but prevents it from protecting f6 with Kg5

45… Rc1 46. Ke4? Returning the favor.

46…Re1+? 46… Rh1 47. Rb6 Rxh4+ 48. Kd5 Kg5 would have held. Black’s pawns are certainly no weaker or slower than White’s.

47. Kd5 e4 48. Re7 Ra1 Desperation is the only explanation. 48… e3 49. Kxd4+-

49. Rxe4 Rxa3 50. Rxd4 Kh5 51. Ke6 a5 52. bxa5  Rxa5 53. Kxf6 h6 54. Rd7 Ra4 55. Ke7 Rd4 Black’s last trap.

56. f6 56. Rxd4?? Stalemate! 1-0

Game 3

Annotated by Albert Silver on

Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.15
Round: 3
White: Navarra, David – 2751
Black: So, Wesley – 2778
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D45 – QGD, Semi Slav

1. Nf3 d5 Though game one went well for So, he possibly does not want to see what Navara has in store should they repeat the Sicilian they transposed into in game one.

2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O a6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. e4 e5 13. h3 The most popular continuation here is 13.g3, with 13.Bg5 as a respected alternative.

13… Re8 14. a3 exd4 14… Bb7  was played in a rapid game. 15. Be3 exd4 16. Nxd4 g6 17. Kh1 Bf8 18. Nf3 c5 19. a4 b4 20. Nd5 Nxd5 21. exd5 Nb6 22. Bc4 Rad8 23. Bg5 Rd7 24. a5 Nxc4 25. Qxc4 Qd6 26. Bf4 Bxd5 27. Bxd6 Bxc4 28. Bxf8 Rxd1+ 29. Rxd1 Kxf8 30. Rc1 Bd3 31. Rxc5 Re2 32. Rd5 Be4 33. Rd4 Bxf3 34. gxf3 Rxb2 35. Kg2 Ke7 36. h4 Rb1 37. f4 b3 38. Rb4 b2 39. Rb6 Kf8 40. f5 Kg7 41. Kf3 Kh6 42. fxg6 hxg6 43. Rb7 f6 44. Kf4 g5+ 45. hxg5+ fxg5+ 46. Kf5 g4 47. Kf6 Rf1 48. Rxb2 g3 49. f4 Rxf4+ 50. Ke5 Rf2 51. Rb3 g2 52. Rg3 Kh5 53. Ke4 Kh4 54. Rg6 Kh3 55. Rh6+ Kg3 56. Rg6+ Kh2 57. Rh6+ Kg1 58. Rxa6 Kf1 59. Rg6 g1=Q 60. Rxg1+ Kxg1 0-1  Van Wely,L (2632)-Kramnik,V (2751) Monte Carlo 1999

15. Nxd4 Bh2+ 16. Kh1 Be5 17. Bf3 c5 18. Nf5 Nb6 19. Bg5 Bxf5 20. exf5 Rad8 21. Rxd8 Rxd8 22. Re1 h6 23. Bc1 Bf4 Black has held a slight tug for a while, but unable to build on it. White’s last move is judged a mistake by the engines, and they say that if there was a chance to push for more, it was here with 23… c4 making the most of the queenside majority. 24. Be3 (24. Rd1 Rxd1+ 25. Nxd1 Nbd7 26. Be3 Nc5) 24… Nfd5 25. Nxd5 Nxd5 26. Bxd5 Rxd5 and Black has cleared the way to start rolling the pawns forward.

24. a4 Bxc1 25. Rxc1 Qf4 26. Ne2 Qxa4 27. b3 Qh4 28. Qxc5 Nbd7 29. Qd4 The balance has been restored, and White’s well positioned pieces are more than enough.

29… Qg5 30. Qf4 Qxf4 31. Nxf4 Ne5 32. Bb7 Rd4 33. g3  Nd3 34. Nxd3 Rxd3 35. b4 Rb3 36. Bxa6 Rxb4 37. Rc8+ Kh7 38. Rb8  Ne4 39. Rxb5 Nxf2+ 40. Kg2 Rxb5  1/2-1/2

Game 4

Annotated by Albert Silver on

Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.16
Round: 4
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black: Navarra, David – 2751
Result: 1-0
ECO: D45 – QGD, Semi Slav

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. a3  a5 12. Ng5 h6 ( 12… Bxh2+ Doesn’t offer anything special since after  13. Kxh2 Ng4+ 14. Kg1 Qxg5 15. f3 (15. Bxh7+ would be a serious mistake since Kh8 16. Bd3 Qh4  wins for Black. 15… Ngf6 16. e4 with a huge center and space advantage, and Black’s queen will lose further tempi trying to find safe haven.

13. Nge4 Be7 14. Rd1 Qb6 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. Bd2 e5?! The engines prefer 16… Be7 with the idea of Nf6 followed by Rfc8 or Rfd8

17. Bh7+ Kh8 18. Bf5 Rad8 19. Ne4 Be7 20. b4 axb4  An error in judgement that will soon lead to a compromised position. Black needed to play …a4. The reason is simply that now the dark-squared bishops will be exchanged and as will be seen, this is going to be disastrous for Black.

21. Bxb4 Bxb4 22. axb4 exd4 23. Rxd4 Nf6 24. Nd6 Possiby the move Navara overlooked or underestimated.

24… Nd5 25. Qc5 Qxc5 26. bxc5  Now the issue is crystal clear. Black’s white squared bishop has nowhere to go…

26… Ra8 27. Rxa8 Bxa8  If ever there was a textbook ilustration of the ‘bad bishop’ this is one. A bishop stuck on a8, with no hope of leaving, facing a monster knight on d6. The game is strategically lost.

28. e4 Nc3 29. Nxf7+ Kg8 (29… Rxf7 30. Rd8+ is mate.

30. Rd7 Na4  Again the knight is untouchable since 30… Rxf7 31. Rd8+ Rf8 32. Be6+ wins the rook. 32…Kh7 33. Rxf8)

31. Ra7 Nxc5 32. Nd6 Rb8 33. e5 Bb7 34. f4 Kf8 35. Kf2  Ra8 36. Rxa8+  White feels that this continuation is the one that offers the least counter play or chances for Black, and it works perfectly. White could easily settle now for two pieces for the rook with 36. Nxb7 Rxa7 37. Nxc5 and there is nothing wrong with it.

36… Bxa8 37. Ke3 b4 38. Kd4 Na4 39. Kc4 c5 40. g3  Bf3 41. Kb5 Bd1 42. Nc8  The threat of e6-e7, protected by the knight, with a bishop check to free e8, is clear.

42… b3 43. Kxa4 b2+ 44. Ka3 Bg4 45. Kxb2 Bxf5 46. Nd6 Be6 47. Ne4  The c-pawn will fall, and with two extra pawns in an elementary endgame, Black resigns.  1-0