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Miskolc 2007: Annotations of games five and six

4/29/2007 – They were the most exciting games so far in the rapid chess match in Miskolc, Hungary. Vladimir Kramnik's win was "a gorgeous game", so the annotators, worthy of a world champion. In game six Peter Leko struck back with a grittly determined win to narrow the gap to one point. "We can expect sparkling fight on the last day," says GM Ferenc Berkes in his extensive game annotators.
 

Rapid Chess Match Leko-Kramnik in Miskolc

The rapid chess match between Vladimir Kramnik, the reigning world champion, and Peter Leko, Hungary's top grandmaster, takes place from April 23 and 30 in the National Theater of Miskolc, Hungary. The games start at 16:00h and 17:30h (4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.) local time, which is Central European Sommer Time (GMT +1). The arbiter is WGM Zsuzsa Veröci, Head of Communication of the Hungarian Chess Federation. The games can be watched live on the official site and on Playchess.com.

Round five + six analysis

The third day of the rapid chess match in Miskolc brought the most exciting games so far. The first went to Vladimir Kramnik, and was, as our annotators say, a "gorgeous game" worthy of Kramnik's great fame. Hungarian fans were depressed by the two-point deficit and ecstatic when their hero Peter Leko struck back in game six and narrowed the lead to a single point. The annotations below were provided by GM Ferenc Berkes and IM Gyula Meszaros, who are doing the official match commentary for the public over infrared headphones. We are grateful to them for their excellent work.


Peter Leko facing Vladimir Kramnik in game five

Kramnik,V (2772) - Leko,P (2738) [A30]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (5), 28.04.2007 [Berkes/Meszaros]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 dxc4 7.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 8.Nxd1 bxc6 9.Bg2 Nd5 10.Ne3 e6 11.Nxc4 Ba6 12.b3. This is the starting position of Kramnik's favourite variation. Formerly he successfully played 12. Na5. 12...Bb4+ 13.Bd2 Bxd2+ 14.Nxd2 Nb4 15.Kd1 0-0-0 16.a3 Nd5 17.Rc1 Kb7 18.Ke1!!

Grandiose innovation. White's not hurry with the development of the h1 rook but he tries to exchange the bishops first. If he succeeds then he will have great winning chances, thanks to Black's weak pawnstructure. 18...e5 19.e3! Occupying the c5 square too early would not ensure any advantage for White. 19.Ne4?! Kb6 20.Nc5 Rd6 21.e4 Nc7 22.Bf1 Bxf1 23.Rxf1 Ne6=. 19...Kb6. 19...f5 is another possibility, but 20.e4! (20.Bf1?! Bxf1 21.Rxf1 e4 22.Ke2 +/= is also better for white but black would obtain some spacial advantage on the kingside.) 20...fxe4 21.Nxe4 Kb6 22.Nc5 Rd6 23.h4! (h5,Rh4 ) 23...h5 24.Nxa6 Kxa6 25.Ke2 Rhd8 26.Rc2 Kb6 27.Rhc1+/- and the black position collapses.

20.Bf1 Bb5?! Exchanging the bishops with 20...Bxf1 seemed somewhat better, but White would be still able to exert boardwide pressure. For example: 21.Rxf1 Rhe8 22.Ke2 e4 23.Rc4 f5 24.Rfc1 Re6 25.b4 Ne7 26.Nb3 Nd4,h4,a4. 21.Bc4! The d2 knight is more valuable than the b5 bishop because it can exploit Black's weaknesses. 21...f6 22.Ke2 Rd7 23.Rc2 a5. Peter should have kept away from the a5 move as long as it was possible. 24.Rhc1 Ne7

25.Bxb5!? Deep plan, but we think Kramnik hurries the implementation. After 25.Ne4 Rhd8 26.g4 and White can improve his position easily (h4-h5, Kf3) beacuse Black can do nothing but wait patiently. 25...cxb5 26.a4! Touches the spot. Not only are the queenside pawns weak, but the black monarch can find himself in an awkward situation too, and the list is not over, because after 26...Rhd8 27.axb5 Kxb5?! [27...h5! 28.Ne4 (28.Nc4+?! Kxb5 29.Ra2 Nc6=) 28...Nd5 29.Rc6+ Kxb5 30.h3! g4] 28.Ne4 it is practically impossible to bundle off the white knight. 28...Ra7?!

29.g4. The aggressive 29.Nc3+!? is also possible. 29...Kb6 (29...Kc6 30.Nd5+! Kd7 31.Rc7+ Rxc7 32.Rxc7+ Kd6 33.Rxe7 Kxd5 34.Rxg7 Rb8 35.Rd7+ Kc5 36.Ra7+/-; 29...Kb4 30.Na4+/-) 30.Na4+ Kb5 31.Rc7 Rd7 32.R7c5+ Kb4 33.Nb6! Rdb7 34.R1c4+ Ka3 35.Rb5+/- is also clearly better for White. 29...h6 30.h4 Kb6 31.g5. 31.h5 looks promising too. 31...hxg5 32.hxg5 fxg5. 32...f5 33.Nc5 e4 (33...Nd5 34.Nd3 e4 35.Rc6+ Kb7 36.Ne5+/-) 34.Na4+! Ka6 35.Rc7 Rxc7 36.Rxc7 Re8 37.g6! Kb5 38.Nc3+ Ka6 39.Kd2 Rd8+ 40.Kc2+/-. 33.Rg1 Rc8 34.Rd2! Nc6 35.Rxg5

35...a4?! Inaccuracy, although there is no proper defence anyway. Moreover Peter's time has almost run out. 36.bxa4 Rxa4 37.Nd6. 37.Rb2+! Rb4 38.Rxb4+ Nxb4 39.Rxe5 Rc2+ 40.Kf3+-. 37...Rc7 38.Ne8? We consider this as a mistake because Black has neither time nor position. Kramnik wins the g7 pawn but lets his opponent out of the grip. [It would be better to exert the pressure with 38.Rg6! In addition, taking the e5 pawn is better since organizing the defence of the g7 pawn looks impossible because is too far from the king. 38...Rca7 39.Nxg7 Ra2! Black has to exchange a pair of rooks by all means. 40.Rxa2 Rxa2+ 41.Kf3 Kc5 42.Nf5 Nb4 43.Ng3 Kd5 44.Ne4 Ra8 45.Nf6+ Ke6 46.Ng4 Nd3 47.Rg6+ Kf5 48.Rf6+ Kg5 49.Rd6. 49.Re6 Kf5 50.Rd6 e4+ 51.Kg3 Ra1 52.f3! Rg1+ 53.Kh3 (53.Kh2 Rf1!) 53...Nf4+!! 54.exf4 exf3 55.Rf6+ Ke4=.

49...Rf8+? Peter's persistent and enduring defence might have reaped the harvest because the position is objectively drawn. Time, however, is everything, and Peter doesn't find the saving motif during the few seconds he has left. 49...Nc5! 50.Nxe5 Rf8+ 51.Ke2 Rxf2+ 52.Kxf2 Ne4+ 53.Kf3 Nxd6= draw!

50.Kg3 e4 51.Rd5+ Rf5 52.f4+! The game is over. 52...Kg6 53.Rd4 Nc5 54.Ne5+ Kg7 55.Rc4 Nd3 56.Nxd3 exd3 57.Rd4 A gorgeous game, in spite of the mistake in the 38th move. Kramnik's tremendous play lived up to his fame. 1-0. [Click to replay]


The end of the game – Peter Leko resigns



Game six is under way, with Peter Leko determined to score

Leko,P (2738) - Kramnik,V (2772) [C84]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (6), 28.04.2007 [Berkes/Meszaros]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Nc3 Na5 10.Ba2 b4 11.Ne2 c5 12.Ng3 0-0 13.Nh4 g6.

New idea in a rare variation. 14.Bh6 Re8 15.Bd2! Fine bishop maneuver with an obvious point: White will push the pawn to f4 and the opening f-file will lack the black rook. 15...Bg4 16.f3 Be6 17.Bxe6 fxe6 18.f4 exf4 19.Bxf4 Nc6 20.Nf3 Nd7?! Too passive. Black should have considered 20...Ng4 21.c3 (21.h3 Rf8! 22.Qd2 e5 23.Be3 Nxe3 24.Qxe3 Nd4!=/+) 21...bxc3 22.bxc3 Rf8 with counterplay. 21.c3! bxc3 22.bxc3 Nde5?! Unnatural move. Its weakness is revealed by Peter straight away. 22...Rb8 23.d4 cxd4 24.cxd4 Qb6 25.Kh1 Qb3 26.Qe2+/= and White keeps the initiative.

23.Bxe5! It looks like it doesn't matter with which piece to take on e5 but after 23.Nxe5 dxe5 24.Be3 c4! 25.dxc4 Qxd1 26.Raxd1 Na5 27.c5 Nc4 28.Bf2 Red8 black would obtain sufficient counterplay. 23...dxe5 24.Qc2 Ra7 25.Rfd1 25.Qa2! would have been far better. For example: 25...Qd6 26.Rad1 Rd7 27.Nd2! Na5 28.Nc4 Nxc4 29.Qxc4 Bg5 30.Kh1 Rf8 31.Rxf8+ Kxf8 32.Ne2 Kg7 33.Ng1!+/- All the white pieces are on ideal positions and the black position can be hardly defended. 25...Bf8 26.Nf1 Bh6 27.N1d2 Bxd2 28.Rxd2 Rd7 29.Rb1 Kg7 30.h3 Qc7 31.Rf1 Nd8! 32.Rdf2 Qd6. 32...Nf7 right away would have been better since the d3 pawn cannot be taken because the e5 pawn would hang. 33.Nd2 Nd6 34.c4 (34.Qa2 c4! 35.Nxc4 Nxc4 36.dxc4 Qc5 37.Kh2 Rc8 +/=) 34...Nf7 35.Qc3 Qd6 +/=. 33.Qc1! Nf7 34.Nh2. 34.Ng5 Ree7! 35.Qe3 h6 36.Nxf7 Rxf7 37.Rxf7+ Rxf7 38.Rb1+/=.

34...h5! 34...Qxd3? 35.Ng4 Ree7 36.Nf6 Rd8 37.Nxh7 (37.Qe1!?->) 37...Qg3 38.Rf3 Qh4 39.Nf6 Ng5 40.Re3 Rf8 41.Ng4+/-. 35.Qe3 Ree7. 35...Qxd3?? 36.Rxf7++-. 36.Rf3. Defending the d3 pawn is needed now. Kramnik demolishes the white pawn structure with a pawn sacrifice and tries to penetrate on the opened d-file to neutralize White's attack. 36...c4! 37.dxc4 Qd2. 37...Rc7 38.Kh1 Qc5 (38...Rxc4? 39.Qf2) 39.Qe1! Qxc4 40.Qh4 Qe2 41.R1f2 Qd1+ 42.Nf1+/-] 38.Qb6 Ng5 39.Re3? Passive move, although it has its tricky side. Better is 39.Rf8! Qb8.

39...Rf7? and Kramnik walks into the trap. 39...Rb7 40.Qc5 Nf7 41.Nf3 Rec7 42.Nxd2 Rxc5 is less clear. 40.h4!+- This move may have been overlooked. If it was really overlooked or simply a miscalculation, we think we will never know. 40...Rb7 41.Qc5 Rb2 42.Qxe5+ Kh7 43.Qxg5 Rxf1+ 44.Nxf1 Qf2+ 45.Kh2 Qxf1 46.Rg3 Qf7 47.c5 Re2 48.Qe5 Qb7 49.Rxg6! Elegant finish: 49.Rxg6 Kxg6 50.Qg5+ Kf7 51.Qxh5+ Kg7 52.Qxe2. Peter improved the result, which means we can expect sparkling fight on the last day. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Our annotator GM Ferenc Berkes

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