Kramnik beats Navara 5.5:2.5 in Prague Rapid

5/19/2008 – Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik took a decisive 3.5:0.5 lead in the first half of the eight-game CEZ Chess Trophy. After the rest day David Navara fought back, losing a game and almost winning two himself. In one he let his opponent escape with a draw, and the last one ended in victory. Of the five wins in this match two were with the black pieces. Pictorial report.

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CEZ Chess Trophy 2008

14th-18th May 2008, in Prague

The event was an eight-game rapid chess match between the world's second highest ranked player, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, and the top grandmaster of the Czech Republic, David Navara.

The rate of play was 25 minutes per player per game, with a five second increment per move. Two games were played per day, from Wednesday, May 14th to Sunday, May 18th.

The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the Playchess server.

The event was also host to an exhibition of humorous chess drawings and cartoons.

After the first half of the match Vladimir Kramnik was leading by 3.5:0.5 points. After the rest day the match was resumed, with David Navara playing a Sicilian Dragon and slowly equalising. The rook ending with symmetrical paws was drawn in 26 moves. Game five followed Khalifman-Stefanova up to move 13, when David Navara went astray.

Navara,D (2672) - Kramnik,V (2788) [D43]
Cez Trophy Rapid Prague CZE (6), 17.05.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Qd3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 b5 7.Qd3 a6 8.e4 c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.e5 Ng4 12.Bg5+ Ke8

Khalifman,A (2669)-Stefanova,A (2523) Drammen 2004 continued 13.Bh4 Nd7 14.Bg3 Bb7 15.Be2 Rb8 16.0-0 and ended after 46 moves in a draw. David Navara plays the tempting 13.0-0-0? which threatens 14.Rd8#. 13...Nd7. Now Black is threatening the knight fork on f2, which White tries to defend. 14.Ne4 Bb7 15.Nxc5 Nxc5 16.Bh4 Ne4 17.Rd4 Rc8+ 18.Kb1 Nexf2

Now if 19.Rg1 Black plays 19...Be4 is threatening 20.Ka1 Rc1#. White is in trouble and should create an escape hole for his king with 19.a4. Instead he goes for counter-tactics which in the end fail: 19.h3 Nxh1 20.hxg4 h5 21.g5 g6 22.Be2 Ke7 23.Be1 h4 24.Nxh4 Rhd8 25.Rf4 Ng3 26.Bxg3 Rd2 27.Bg4 Rcc2 28.Be1 [28.Bd1 looks much more promising] 28...Rxb2+ 29.Kc1 Rdc2+ 30.Kd1 Rc4 31.Rxc4 bxc4 32.a3 Kd7 33.Bd2 Ra2 34.Bc1 Bc6 35.Be2 Ba4+ 36.Ke1 Ra1 0-1.

Game seven saw David Navara on the attack with the black pieces and building up a real advantage in most of the middlegame. However he was not able to pull it off and the game ended after 44 moves in a draw. The final game brought redemption, at last, for the embattled Czech grandmaster.

Navara,D (2672) - Kramnik,V (2788) [D43]
Cez Trophy Rapid Prague CZE (8), 18.05.2008
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Qd3 Nbd7 6.e4 dxe4 7.Nxe4 Nxe4 8.Qxe4 Nf6 9.Qd3 c5 10.Be3 cxd4 11.0-0-0 Bc5 12.Bxd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qxd4 14.Rxd4 Ke7 15.Be2 Rd8 16.Rxd8 Kxd8 17.Ne5 Ke7 18.Bf3 Nd7 19.Nxd7 Kxd7 20.Rd1+ Kc7 21.b4 Bd7 22.b5 Be8 23.Kc2 g5 24.Kc3 f5 25.g3 g4 26.Bg2 h5 27.a4 a6 28.Kb4 a5+ 29.Kc3 Rc8 30.c5 Kb8 31.Kc4 e5 32.Rd6 e4 33.Rf6 Bd7 34.Bf1 h4 35.gxh4 Rh8

Nicely played by David Navara, who has an extra pawn and a winning position. 36.c6 bxc6 37.bxc6 Be8? Making it easier for the Czech GM to reach his goal. 38.Kc5 Kc7 39.Re6 f4 40.Re7+ Kd8 41.c7+ and White queens the pawn and wins. 1-0.

Final results

Players
Rating
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
G7
G8
Total
Perf.
 Vladimir Kramnik
2788
1
1
1
½
½
1
½
0
5.5
2808
 David Navara
2672
0
0
0
½
½
0
½
1
2.5
2652

Picture gallery by Jeroen van den Belt


The city of Prague (Czech: Praha) is located on the River Vltava in central Bohemia, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.


The main square of the old part of Prague, with the Town Hall Tower (which you can ascend)


The Church of Our Lady before Tyn


The event took place in Hotel Kampa, a building that originated from the 17th century.


The inventory is decorated in a nice warm medieval style.


Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik


His challenger: top Czech grandmaster David Navara


Interviews and autographs after the final game of the match


Vladimir with chess fans


Guest of honour and commentator, legendary GM Vlastimir Hort (originally Czech)


Official commentator GM Lubos Kavalek analysing the games with Fritz


A fond farewell: musicians on the famous Charles Bridge, built in the 14th Century

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