Games 13: Leko survives Kramnik attack
Possibly the most exciting and nerve-tingling game ended after six hours and 65 moves. Vladimir Kramnik took a lot of risks , playing a very complicated opening. He surprised Peter Leko with his plan f7-f5, and reached a promising position. Leko managed to simplify the position and went into a rook endgame. But he was also in time trouble and missed some important moves. Soon his position was considered completely lost by all expert, but under enormous pressure, Leko played his best chess and found a miracle defence to save the game.
Now the outcome of the Classical World Chess Championship at Centro Dannemann will be decided in the last game of the match, which will be played on Monday, October 18, at 15:00h CET. Title holder Vladimir Kramnik has to win the game, with the white pieces, in order to draw the match and retain his title. For challenger Leko a draw will be enough to become the new World Champion.
It will take longer than a day to get to the truth of this difficult rook endgame. We hope our lines at least provide a head start! It looks like Kramnik had good chances of playing for a win as late as move 50. Leko clearly had quick drawing methods available before the 33.g4?
Leko,P (2741) - Kramnik,V (2770) [A73]
Leko has gotten two sets of minor pieces off the board and his Nc4 is an admirable beast with a target on d6. Leko also has the a-file to work with. Kramnik has the f-file and a terrifying Gufeld bishop.
18...Rc7 19.Bd2 Rcf7 20.Bc3 Qd7 The weak b5 pawn needs constant protection.
21.f3 g5! Kramnik goes to work pressing his advantage on the kingside. He can't wait and put all his eggs in a one-game basket on the final day. He plays for a win here and comes very close to achieving it.
22.Ne3 Rf4 Covering d4 and g4.
23.Rfe1 h5 24.Qc2 Qf7 Covering g6 and increasing the kingside pressure. [24...Qxb5?? 25.Rxa7]
25.h3 Bd4 26.Bxd4 Rxd4
[26...cxd4 A major turning point that at least has the advantage of keeping the pieces on the board. Although it seems that White is quicker to exploit that. 27.Nc4 g4 28.Re6 gxf3 29.Nxd6 An interesting drawing line. (29.Rg6+ Ng7 30.Nxd6 Qe7) 29...Nxd6 30.Rg6+ Kh8 31.Rh6+ Kg8 32.Rg6+ Kh8 33.Rh6+=]
Nicely done, if a draw is what you're looking for. Getting the pieces off the board leaves White with an equal endgame. The threats against d4 and h6 force the exchanges.
27...Qxf5 28.Qxf5 Rxf5 29.Rxe8+ Kf7 Black's rooks look the more menacing, but with so many pawn targets in the black camp there should be many ways for White to draw.
30.Rb8 Rdxd5 This allows an immedate drawing continuation thanks to the trapped position of the black king.
31.Rxa7+ Ke6 32.Re8+ Kf6 (D3)
33.g4? A curious and unfortunate decision that creates a handful of weaknesses.
[>=33.Rh7= The black king is locked up. 33...h4 (33...Rde5? 34.Rh6+ Kg7 35.Rxe5 Rxe5 36.Rxd6; 33...g4 34.Rf8+ Kg6 35.Rxf5 Rxf5 36.fxg4 hxg4 37.hxg4 Rd5 38.Rb7) 34.Rhh8 Rd1+ 35.Kh2 Re5 36.Rhf8+ Kg6 37.Rg8+ Kf5 38.Rgf8+ Kg6]
33...hxg4-/+ [33...Rxf3?? 34.Rf8+ Ke6 35.Rxf3 hxg4 36.hxg4+-] 3
4.hxg4 Rd1+ [34...Rxf3?? 35.Rf8+ Ke6 36.Rxf3+-]
35.Kf2 Re5 36.Rh8 [36.Rxe5? No need to give the black king a head start. 36...Kxe5]
36...Rd2+ 37.Kg3 Ree2 Hmm, maybe Leko will fall for the mate in three... [
37...Rxb2?? 38.Rh6#; 37...Ke6 38.Re8+ (38.Rb7 Kd5 39.Rxb6 (39.Rg8 Rxb2 40.Rxb6 c4 41.Rd8 Kc5 (41...Re6 42.Rg8) 42.Rbxd6 Rxb5 43.Rd1 Rb3 (43...Kb4? 44.Rb1+ Kc3 45.Rc1+ Kb3 46.f4=) 44.Rc1 Kb4 45.Kf2 Rc5 46.Ke2) 39...Ree2 40.Rh1 Rxb2 41.Rb8 Kc4 42.Rg8 Re5 43.Rd8 d5 (43...Rd5 44.Rc1+ Kb3 45.b6 Rdd2) 44.Rc1+ Kd4 45.Rd1+) 38...Kd5 39.Rxe5+ Kxe5 40.Rg7 (40.Rf7 Rxb2 41.Rf5+ Kd4 42.Rxg5 Rxb5 43.f4 Rb3+ 44.Kf2 b5 45.f5 Ke5 46.Rg6) 40...Kf6 41.Rb7 Rxb2 42.Rxb6 Ke5 43.Rb8 c4 44.b6 d5]
38.Rf8+ Kg6 39.Rg8+ Kf6 40.Rf8+ Ke6 41.Re8+ Kd5 42.Rxe2 Rxe2 No more mate and a pair of rooks leaves the board. The problem now is that the black king is very active.
43.Rg7 Re5 (D4) [43...Rxb2
44.Rxg5+ Ke6 45.Rg6+ Ke7 46.f4 Rxb5 47.f5 c4]
This is the position where everyone knew that Peter Leko was completely lost. But watching the game on Playchess.com Garry Kasparov suddenly said "Wait a minute, after 44.Rb7 White has chances to draw."
In spite of harsh contradiction by the heavily armed spectators (equipped with Fritz, Junior and even the 16-processor Hydra) Kasparov stuck to his analysis, which Leko went on to play, almost move by move. GM Jon Levitt called it a magical draw.
44.Rb7 c4 [44...Kc4 45.Rxb6 d5 (45...Rd5 46.Rb8 Kb4 47.Kf2 Rd2+ 48.Ke3 Rxb2 49.f4) 46.f4 Re3+ 47.Kf2 gxf4 48.Rd6 Rg3 49.b6 Rxg4 50.b7 Rg8 51.Rb6 Rb8 52.Kf3 d4 53.Kxf4]
45.Rxb6 Re2 [>=45...Re3!?-+ Preventing f4, but how can Black make progress?]
46.f4! The key move Kasparov predicted. 46...Re3+ 47.Kf2 gxf4 48.Rb8 Rb3 49.b6?! [49.g5 Ke5 50.b6 Rxb2+ 51.Kf3=]
49...Ke4 [49...Rxb2+ 50.Kf3 c3 51.b7-+ Kd4 52.Rd8 Rxb7 53.Rxd6+ Kc5 54.Rd1 Rf7 55.g5 Kc4 56.g6 Rf8 57.g7 Rg8 58.Rd7 c2 59.Rc7+ Kd3 60.Rd7+ Kc3 61.Rc7+ Kd2 62.Rd7+ Kc1 63.Kxf4=]
[>=50.g5 Rxb2+ 51.Ke1-+]
[>=50...Kd4 Apparently the last best chance to press hard for a win. With the king on d4 Black can disrupt the defensive plan that Leko establishes in the game. 51.Re2 (51.g5 Rxb2+ 52.Kf3 Rxb6-+ 53.Kxf4 Rb1 54.Re4+ Kc5 55.g6 Rg1 56.Kf5 c3; 51.Rb8 Rxb2+ 52.Kf3 c3 53.b7 c2 54.Rc8 Rb3+-+)
51...f3 Possible with the black king on d4 instead of d3 as in the game. 52.Rd2+ (52.Re1 d5 53.g5 Rxb2+ 54.Kxf3 c3 55.g6 Rxb6 56.Rd1+ Kc4 57.Rg1 Rb8 58.g7 Rg8 59.Ke2 d4 60.Kd1 d3-+) 52...Ke4 (52...Ke5) 53.Rc2 (53.Rxd6 Rxb2+ 54.Kg3 f2 55.Kg2 c3 56.Rc6 c2 57.b7 Kd3-+) 53...d5 54.Kg3 Rxb6 55.g5 d4-+]
51.Re2!= d5 [51...Kd4 Trying to reestablish the f3 threat now, a tempo behind, doesn't seem to work. 52.b7 Rxb7 53.Kf3]
52.Kf3 d4 53.g5 c3 54.bxc3 dxc3 55.Rg2 Rb2 56.b7 Rxb7
57.Kxf4 Rb2 58.Rg1 c2 59.Rc1 Rb1 60.Rxc2 Kxc2 61.g6 Kd3 62.Kf5 Rb5+ 63.Kf6
Rb6+ 64.Kf7 Rxg6 65.Kxg6 1/2-1/2
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Press Officer World Chess Championship
Via Ruggero Leoncavallo