David Navara’s mystery blunder ⎸2018 Gashimov Memorial, Round 6

Anish Giri vs David Navara, Caro-Kann Defense, Advance Variation, B12
2018 Shamkir Chess (Gashimov Memorial), Round 6, Shamkir, Azerbaijan, 04/25/18

For the theory of the Advance Variation of the Caro-Kann watch this video: https://youtu.be/m9uHKJ1WgbM

Round 6 of the Gashimov Memorial brought far less excitement than expected. This game made up for it, though. The only decisive result, this short but complex encounter between Giri and Navara brought one of the most mysterious blunders in a long time. Giri was white and he reacted with the advance variation when Navara played his signature Caro-Kann Defense. They played a common line which could lead to severe complications for both sides, but Giri, being a safety-first player, avoided all that and went for a slight edge in space and piece activity with a more solid continuation.

They reached a point in which it was obvious that white is slightly better and has more tactical opportunities, but they could have all been dealt with easily (without too much calculation either). In a position in which a simple move could’ve resolved all the issues, David Navara played such a strange move that I see no purpose to it at all. It was an indirect piece sacrifice which does nothing!

Anish Giri took it of course, and Navara resigned a few moves later. What he was thinking before he played Bc2 is a mystery.

Game moves:
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 c5 6. Be3 Qb6
7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. c3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Ne7
12. O-O Nc6 13. b4 Qc7 14. Rc1 Be7 15. g4 Be4 16. f3 Bg6
17. f4 Be4 18. Nc5 a5 19. Be3 axb4 20. cxb4 Ra3 21. Bf2 Bxc5
22. Bxc5 Rxa2 23. b5
10:28 And now Navara’s fatal blunder – 23…Bc2
24. b6 Bxd1 25. bxc7 Kd7 26. Bxd1
Kxc7 27. Bd6+ Kd7 28. Rb1 1-0

2018 Gashimov Memorial, standings after Round 6:

Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov 4/6
Anish Giri 3.5/6
Magnus Carlsen 3.5/6
Ding Liren 3/6
Sergey Karjakin 3/6
Rauf Mamedov 3/6
Teimour Radjabov 3/6
Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2.5/6
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2.5/6
David Navara 2/6

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