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Cez Trophy 2009

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Back in 2006 Czech David Navara jumped out of the junior lists and shot up to a heady #13 spot in the world rankings. Gravity and nerves dragged him back down and he almost slipped out of the top 100. He's in the Grand Prix but has gone largely unnoticed, turning in inconsistent performances and negative scores. As the top Czech player Navara has had the chance to play a series of rapid challenge matches against the world's best. He has punched above his weight class in rapid a few times in the past, especially in winning the Mainz Ordix Open in 2007. He certainly hasn't aimed low of late. Last year he was taken to school by Vladimir Kramnik. (Navara's self-effacing notes on that match in NIC were good stuff.)

This year he's up against another of the elite, and best rapid players, Vassily Ivanchuk, in the CEZ Trophy in Prague. After half of the eight games, it's 3-1 Ivanchuk, winning both his whites. Ivanchuk's 21..Bd2 in game three induces a flashback to his 32..Be2 against Dominguez at MTel two weeks ago.


I wonder if Ivanchuk shouldn't toss in a few "easier" events in between his elite performances if he is going to play 100+ games per year. Gives him a chance to taste a few wins and get his confidence back.

So far, it seems that the rapid match against Navara _is_ an easier event!?
But in fairness to Navara: Earlier this year at Corus B he showed, at least in some games, that he is still a strong player to be reckoned with. In a Chessvibes thread, I had picked him as 'dark horse' likely to win the event - partly out of fun to mention a name noone else had mentioned. But until about halfway the tournament, I could have gotten things right - he just wasn't consistent enough in the end.

Both Kramnik and Svidler have noted that Navara has unusually powerful calculation abilities. Navara has explained some of his mistakes as arising from missing something in a deep calculation.

I wonder if the other top players have learned to steer away from certain types of calculation-rich positions when playing him?

Or maybe the opposite, they tempt him into impossible calculations, depending on that old saying, "Long analysis, wrong analysis."

David Navara is always interesting to watch in videos of chess tournaments. He seems very shy and sometimes awkward or eager to get things right socially with his colleagues. In case he is first to the board, watch during the handshake, he rises to his feet, bows, extends his hand, scrunches over, shakes, nods, and sits down again. He rarely makes eye contact during the handshake (and this is true of other players too). Later in interviews, he is always self-effacing, but not shy at all as he explains variations, amiably, and comes across as just a very nice person. -- I'm a fan!

On David Navara. He gave a remarkable interview a few years ago and declared that he didn't really understand chess very much. This was after posting a massive score in the UK 4NCL season and achieving a stratospheric rating performance. His humility was quite striking then.

"Ivanchuk's 21..Bd2 in game three induces a flashback to his 32..Be2 against Dominguez at MTel two weeks ago."
Yes, but was it actually the best move? White had 22.Bb1 (ignoring black's threats but posing a stronger one), and at least in the game it seems that black subsequently lost his advantage - queens were exchanged and white regained the pawn he had lost.
Did Ivanchuk overlook 22.Bb1 ?
Did he see it, but gambled that Navara would not?
Or was he carried away by the desire to play a spectacular move?

The rest is irony: If 21.-Bd2 was stupid, at least it was brilliantly stupid (almost as brilliant as Ivanchuk's loss at MTel in the pawn endgame against Wang Yue).

Navara - Ivanchuk is a g3 Grunfeld and White had nothing until Ivanchuk made a mistake on move 15.

I hope that does not upset you.

I am not 100% sure, but I think the first 14 moves were simply known theory. Whether Ivanchuk's 15.-e4 is as bad as Luke thinks/claims remains to be seen.

My previous comment was written just before 19.-Rb8. Maybe only this was the mistake losing a pawn. I expected 19.-Qd7 instead.

Ivanchuk is a pawn down for nothing and has a lost game.

47th move, Ivanchuk is dead lost, yet he keeps playing? He's done this before, playing on long after he should resign.

Ivanchuk - Navara is a Spanish, exchange variation. Perhaps a slight edge for White.

I hope that does not upset you.

Navara is playing very weak. He's being squashed.

47th move, Navara is absolutely dead lost, even more dead lost than Ivanchuk was in game 5, yet he keeps playing? He needs to learn how to say "resign".

There are just so many things these players could learn from you, Luke. You're going to put Sergei Shipov out of business.

Navara was still playing for tricks at the end of the game. And anyway, in rapid games one can still hope for miracles, or one hasn't enough time left on the clock to realize that the position is dead lost.
"One can never win a game by resigning" - but this mostly applies at amateur level.
BTW Luke, I don't know about others but none of your comments really upset me - because I do not take them all that seriously ... .

"...none of your comments really upset me - because I do not take them all that seriously ..." (Thomas)

You really fooled a lot of us because you've been so ridiculously upset by my comments in the past. I guess you settled down, right? That's good. As for your seriousness, well, you just aren't there yet.

I am greatly looking forward to upcoming tournaments featuring more stalwart commentary. The burning question is: can Anand himself meet the required standards? Don't hold your breath.

Maybe we (I mean he) need Kasparov, Bobby Fischer or Rybka.

In the Dutch chess magazine 'Matten' (3) Jan Timman describes his taking part in a tournament in Karlsbad, travelling there from Prague with David Navarra. He was pleasant company, "the circumstance that he is autistic wasn't detrimental to that".
Of course this, if so, is no big deal, but as I haven't read this anywhere else, it may give some perspective on both his "unusually powerful calculation abilities" as his awkwardness with other human beings.
I won't be the first, but he reminds me in a sense of what I read about Akiba Rubinstein: a very nice person with the talent to become world champion, but with (probably quite a bit more) mental problems to get that far.

"Maybe we (I mean he) need Kasparov, Bobby Fischer or Rybka." (Thomas and his gang)

Try again if you want. That was pretty lame.

What about Steinitz, Aljekhine and Capablanca? During their whole lifes, computers couldn't find flaws in their games! ,:)

@Frits Fritschy

Several years ago, online bios of David Navara mentioned "autism" and "Asperger syndrome" but these are no longer mentioned at all, for instance at David's Wikipedia article.

Perhaps this is due to a European sense of medical privacy rights.

Maybe it was never true at all.

Maybe the condition was someone's amateur diagnosis of a young man's natural shyness. I too was a socially underdeveloped "geek" as a young man, and I had no disease at all, and I also would have been awkward and nervous to be shaking hands with Kramnik!!

Go David!

Very good.

Kasparov and his gang of computers found many mistakes by those three World Champions.

Unlike your hanger-ons, you at least seem to have some chess ability. Your hanger-ons have none at all, or perhaps have 3-digit FIDE ratings, if ratings go that low.

Oh well, I for one was enjoying your comments, but from the ratio of boos to yeahs, perhaps I am the only one. Guess this isn't the right forum for your periodic game updates, entertainment value aside.

I believe Navara would benefit a lot with the idea of a blind tournament , there he will only be playing his games without worrying about who his opponent is.
We may see his deep calculation at his best in such situation.

I don't think so, Manu; only serious work would allow him to overcome such difficulties (if they're there: I think he's not the only one who finds it difficult to play against Ivanchuk). I wasn't sure about how strong he really was, even when he was playing almost every competition he could (Navara) when he outplayed such strong players as Dreev with style. Maybe he went too high too fast or he just had a very hot period, or none at all. Only time will tell. He seems to be a very kind person (unlike many people in the internet) and I certainly would like to see more of his games in the future.

Hi tjallen -

To mix animal kingdoms, the boo birds are like lemmings with rat brains.

And the boo birds and their leaders would do well to think about what Abraham Lincoln said:

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

I dont know if you were talking about me with that remark , but for what its worth i also believe Navara has like an aura of kindness , i get lost on his games though , it is dificult for me to understand his style.

I also checked the internet before I posted my comment, and didn't find anything either, so I guessed this was the only source.
Timman's quote seemed to suggest that Navarra told him so himself, but I'm not sure. Timman doesn't seem to me the kind of person who will publish private medical information without knowing the person involved has no problem with that.

Shirov on Navara (Fire on Board Part II, referring to a game they played in 2004):

"I would like to give a special mention to David's very friendly behaviour in the post-mortem, despite the unfortunate result of the game. His love of chess is evident, so I can only wish him well in developing his talent even further."

BTW, a large part of Navara's rating loss after his peak in 2006/2007 (maximum 2726) was due to one bad Bundesliga season (4.5/13 against average rating of 2594, losing 43 ELO points). In several games, he was obliged, or felt obliged to take large risks for the sake of his team. Maybe Alez is right that Navara went "too high too fast", wasn't yet ready for such a challenge and still hasn't completely recovered.

Navara needs to be more careful about his clock against Ivanchuk. They each start the game with 25 minutes, but by the 10th or 12th move, Ivanchuk still has 25 (sometimes 26), while Navara has only 20 or 21. Five minutes is a big deal. Later, it becomes 13 to 8 or 9 to 3 or something like that and Navara just disintegrates in time pressure. He needs to slow Ivanchuk down somehow in the opening by refusing to walk into Ivanchuk’s obvious preparation (Dragon, Spanish exchange, etc.). Ivanchuk is also able to avoid his usual clock problems by trading off a lot of material and simplifying the board whenever he can, even at the small cost of giving up a bishop for a knight. Navara needs to prevent that.

Navara should completely change his expected openings in the final two games to get Ivanchuk out of his comfort zone and get him to use more time in the opening. Just switching to another standard opening won’t help because Ivanchuk has been around a long time and he knows all of them. Navara should play 1.c3 in game 7 and 1…b6 as Black against anything Ivanchuk plays.

Me too (getting lost). He just outplays the other guy (and the one replaying the game as well). With a different style and way to go, he reminds me of Ivanchuk in that: there's no pattern in how he wins his games. With other players it's almost always the same way when they win games. For the rest of my other post, I wasn't refering to you. It's just that the ambiance here gets sometimes disturbed about Luke's comments, which, in my view, aren't as annoying. I also prefered when he didn't respond to provocations/commentaries of his comments in agressive fashion. Anyway, up to everyone to re-read their comments before hitting the submit button.

"It's just that the ambiance here gets sometimes disturbed about Luke's comments, which, in my view, aren't as annoying." (Alez)

Good point. There is no hope for some people who gnash their teeth and pound their fists onto the table whenever I say anything. I don't want to upset things for everyone else by triggering disturbing outbursts from the teeth-gnashing fistpounders, so I won't say anything at all about the remaining Ivanchuk - Navara games. Some of the usual gang may try to goad me into a response, but they will fail.

"Some of the usual gang may try to goad me into a response, but they will fail. "
Some of the usual gang really don't attach that much importance to your person. Grow up.

Usually the two most partisan groups on the Dirt are, mutatis mutandis, those on the side of Topalov and those who take the side of Kramnik. Thanks to Luke the two have merged, but it does not feature teeth-gnashing fistpounders -- they unite in ridicule. Doesn't Luke see people are laughing at him? Doesn't he get the trick he's playing on himself, starting a joke that got the whole world crying and all that?

"...so I won't say anything at all about the remaining Ivanchuk - Navara games."

That's very kind and mighty white of you, but don't be shy now. Why not take a break for the next decade or so?
Chessgames.com could always use a few village klub kibitzers, so why not mosey on down there and forget chessninja ever existed?

Now remember your promise, li'l leucotome, and don't let me goad you into a response, K?

"Navara should completely change his expected openings in the final two games to get Ivanchuk out of his comfort zone..."

Oh, come now. With the amount of chess that Ivanchuk plays, coupled with all his experience, you really imagine that Navara choosing something 'unexpected' from outside his normal repertoire would take Chucky out of his comfort zone?

From an informal survey:

80% --Dirtsters with at least some interest in the Ivanchuk-Navara rapids

10% --Dirsters with time and interest to view at least a part of an Ivanchuk-Navara rapid game in progress.

.0001% --Dirster(s) who post a string of vapid comments ("perhaps a slight edge for white," "Navara is playing very weak,") about the game in progress.

0% --Dirsters interested in reading a string of vapid comments about the games in progress.

Spare him the complex figures , use the hammer.

"Very weak Manu" - someone (was it mishanp?) suggested that even a nuclear bomb wouldn't help. And probably he actually enjoys being one in a million.
(Disclaimer: The first sentence is ironic, the second one ... not necessarily)

What is this ridiculous Luke bashing about? What has he said that is so outrageous that it justifies this constant harassment? I haven't seen anything. I for one don't mind his comments at all - the great majority of them, anyway. I do mind seeing a thousand "hahahah Luke is stupid lol" posts when I read through a Dirt thread. Jeez.

[You have a point and I will stop after this, but ...] he is making fun of everyone (both top GM's and fellow bloggers) so he should be able to handle something in return.

Again, I haven't seen anything he says that is all that bad. Most is really harmless. I see much worse regularly. Glad you'll stop though and I hope others will follow suit. If then, I'm sure he won't make the occasional counter-attack either.

Sure acirce, poor Luke is the victim, and it's just chance that he attracts so much derision. He reaps what he sows. You must be reading the threads pretty selectively. The "occasional counter-attack" indeed!

Of course it's not "chance". It's also not "by chance" that the bullies on a schoolyard pick their victim. Don't bother him and I'm sure he won't bother you. Now that's an idea, why don't you all try that for a while and see if I'm right or wrong? If I'm wrong it's going to show.

"Victim" and "bullies" don't wash, and your one-sided and wholly untrue view damages your credibility. I suggest you research a little more before coming to conclusions.

I could be wrong. As I said, there is an easy way to test it.

That's all I wanted to say. I'm out of here before I become the next target..

(btw, the "bullies" example was not meant as an exact analogy - but I think it's possible to note similarities)

I don't "target" people, but your post was untrue and was referring me. Still even though you state that you "could be wrong", you continue the "bullies" implication in two posts, thereby showing a pre-formed conclusion. Your further implication is that there is a bunch of people here who take pleasure in "targeting" other posters, including me, which I for one resent.
If you ask for balance then it would be nice if you displayed it yourself.

Tomorrow another rapid match will start (Anand-Leko) - so we can all focus on chess again, with or without live commentary ... .
BTW, I will be away from the Internet for a few days ... .

Don't worry T, we will struggle on somehow.


When AOL started up some years ago I used to enjoy visiting a trivia "room." Great fun: sharp folks throwing around impossible questions.

Unfortunately, the wonderful trivia players were eventually crowded out by legions of idiots..."We're in the hot tub. I'm taking my top off! I'm splashing you! Ha! Ha!"

The greatest potential "threat" to the Dirt is neither the Kramnik jihadi nor the Topafiles, but legions of relatively chess-retarded posters overwhelming the blog with their considered opinions on such topics as why Topalov really should be better than to miss good moves, why Ivanchuck and Navara really ought to learn when to resign, or how white might stand slightly better at some unknown point in an online game.

Reading chessic streams of consciousness might be interesting, but only if the conciousness belongs to, say, Kasparov, Kramnik, Topalov, Shirov, Nakamura, etc.

Go ahead and tell your friend to post on every tenth move, but tell him to put some damn effort into it and make it worth reading for chrissake. Have him tell us something about the game that's not immediately obvious; tell us when the game went out-of-book, pick out the losing move and prove his choice with some analysis, etc.

Hear hear! Never thought I would agree with acirce.. Well said.

I used to enjoy this blog until trolls like Koster started hijacking every thread to criticise Kasparov, praise Kramnik and attack other posters. Then I realised he is just a troll who has nothing to contribute, and not worth my attention. So I now have a mental filter, and just skip the majority of his posts. If Luke's comments are not worth looking at, why not just skip them? He's not obliged to conform to anybody's view of what constitutes good analysis, unless perhaps Mig who owns the blog. There's definitely a schoolyard bully feel to the way he's being picked on. Kudos to Acirce for pointing it out. My respect for him just went up a notch.

And yet i´d prefer any of Koster´s attacks (even on myself) rather than 100 of Luke´s analisys/predictions.
Its a mistery .

Maybe a more generalised attack like the one Luke has been on the end of would make you change your mind. I hope it never happens, though. I already posted it had go too far in my view, that he wasn't that utterly annoying. Should we ban every annoying poster? Because in the end there would be only Mig. Anyway, it's his call.

For Pete's sake, he gets disrespected when he displays disrespect himself, that's all there is to it. It's not about whether his posts are interesting. You can't talk about stupid GMs in one breath, give dumb analysis in the next and not expect that to be jumped on. And if people are not so polite towards him, it's cause he is not polite towards them. The moment he displays respect towards fellow posters and the GMs upon whose games he comments is the moment all disparaging remarks will cease. Stop painting him as the victim.

Wow. If I can keep this up, I'll have converted d_tal into a Kramnik fan by the end of the year.

Well, I already am a fan of Kramnik's chess.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 29, 2009 2:08 AM.

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