Navara vs Helbich, Olomouc (CZE) 1998

Picture of chess board, king lying down, a hand moving another piece. Hot off the chess, classic game.

Hi! Today’s annotated game takes us back to the year 1998. It features an early game of one of the most popular players on the chess circuit today.

David Navara, of the Czech Republic, is one of the most humble and pleasant players one can meet. One shouldn’t be fooled by his mild manners, however, as at the chess board, he is extremely dangerous! This game is a fine example of that.

It is played at the 1998 Energy Cup, in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Even back then, the 13-year-old Navara, was already rated in the 2200’s and showing his now proven chess potential.

His opponent, Jan Helbich Sr, of Slovakia, is somewhat less known to me. However, when this game was played, he was also rated in the mid 2200’s.

Von Doren, Fine Timepieces |

The game sees Navara take White in a Najdorf Sicilian. It is possible that he was under-estimated by his older opponent, but I suspect that the result comes down to superior preparation. The 27-move game follows known theory until move 23.

We see a confident Navara follow a material giving line, in order to open lines to the uncastled enemy King. When Helbich misses the drawing line, he pounces without mercy. Watch out for the sublime coordination of White’s pieces, among which is a beautifully placed knight.


I publish a new annotated game each Thursday on HOTCH. If you would like to suggest a game to be featured, you are very welcome to do so in the comments or drop me a line.

About John Lee Shaw 291 Articles
Total chess nut! I enjoy following the chess world and giving my two-penneth. I don't pretend to be an expert, I'm more a knowledgeable enthusiast. My chess writing can also be seen at