Miskolc 2008: It's Peter Leko vs Magnus Carlsen

3/26/2008 – Two world-class players, both chess prodigies. This year the city of Miskolc in the north-east of Hungary will host a spectacular eight-game rapid chess match between national hero Peter Leko, Hungary's top grandmaster, and the 17-year-old Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen. The event lasts from May 27 to June 1st and takes place in the National Theatre of Miskolc. Press release.

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Peter Leko vs Magnus Carlsen
in Miskolc, Hungary

Press release

The present year’s most prestigious clash in Hungary is going to be organized at the National Theater of Miskolc. The No. 1 Hungarian GM, Péter Lékó takes up a duel of eight games against the Norwegian Wunderkind, the challenger, Magnus Carlsen this time.

As the first move of the Lékó+ series Péter Lékó played against Michael Adams in 2005. The exciting duel ended up with a tie of 4-4.

In 2006 Lékó’s opponent was the twelfth world champion of chess, Anatolij Karpov, who, during his carrier, gained 166 competition victories, setting a record that can not likely be broken in the future. The two leading players fought in the new shrine of chess, the beautiful National Theater of Miskolc. The auditorium was totally sold out. The fans on the spot and via internet were amazed by the games – with good reason. The homepage of the event, www.lekokarpov.hu received more than three millions clicks. Lékó put himself in the lead by winning the third game, and he could preserve his advantage till the end, gaining a victory of 4.5-3.5.


Miskolc lies in the north-east of Hungary

In the pursuance of the series last year, our GM’s opponent and the special guest of Miskolc was the recent World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik who deprived Garri Kasparov of his world championship title in London, in 2000. Kramnik defended his title against Péter Lékó in Brissago, Switzerland, in 2004. In the autumn of 2006 he won the world championship final for uniting titles against the Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in the tie-break. We could consider their duel of eight games in Miskolc as the return match for Brissago, although, as it already happened in Budapest, 2001, they were going to play rapid games. We had the possibility to follow a brilliant duel between the two GMs and, furthermore, the homepage of the game - www.lekokramnyik.hu – was clicked by more than three and half million users. Kramnik won the third and fifth games, Lékó could nevertheless close up in the sixth, however, the Russian GM won the duel by 4.5-3.5.

Both players were satisfied with the level of the games, Kramnik was happy about winning the game which he described as fight of equal forces. The brilliant contest, nonetheless has proved the fact that the ability of significantly faster decision-making is required from the Grandmasters as far as the rapid stroke is concerned, since they have much less time to evaluate the positions. Intuition and creativity claim therefore an increased role.


Magnus Carlsen facing Peter Leko in Morelia 2008

After the great champions Péter Lékó is facing the challenger, Magnus Carlson this year. Just as Lékó but ten years later, the Norwegian Wunderkind, who is also known as Mozart of the Chess, was the youngest grandmaster in the world.

At the age of fifteen he became world champion candidate and finished last year’s World Cup in third place. In the first super competition of the year, in Wijk aan Zee, he fascinated the chess world with his dead-heat first place. Afterwards he repeated his success in Linares by finishing on the second place, left behind only by Viswanathan Anand.


Local boy Peter Leko, himself a child prodigy and youngest GM in 1994

Lékó and Carlsen met for the first time at the chessboard at the Tal Memorial Competiton in Moscow, 2006, where they played a draw. After that they have played eleven games. Apart from seven draws Lékó won in last year’s Morelia/Linares, the Corus competition in January 2008 and, finally, in this year’s Linares tournament. In rapid the have played 1-1 so far, they finished with a draw at the rapid world Championship in Moscow.

In accordance with the Ranking List of January 2008, Lékó occupies the eighth place with 2753 Elo points, while Carlsen has the thirteenth place with 2733 points.

Schedule of the Lékó-Carlsen rapid chess match

27 May (Tuesday) 18.00h Opening ceremony and hosting of the draw
28 May (Wednesday)   16.30h First game of the match
  18.00h Second game of the match.
29 May (Thursday) 16.30h Third game of the match
  18.00h Fourth game of the match
30 May (Friday) 16.00h Public event (Location: ITC International Trade Center)  
31 May (Saturday) 16.30h Fifth game of the match
  18.00h Sixth game of the match
1 June (Sunday) 16.30h Seventh game of the match
  18.00h Eighth game of the match
  19.30h Closing ceremony of the match

At the end of each day of play there will be a short press conference of 10-15 minutes with both players. On the final day the press conference will last about 30 minutes.

Location of the event: National Theatre of Miskolc (1 Déryné str, Miskolc)

Impressions from past Miskolc matches


The hotel where the players and special guests stay


Sándor Káli, the Lord Mayor of Miskolc, a great patron of chess


The spectacular openings ceremony for the 2007 match Leko vs Kramnik


The rapid chess match under way in the National Theatre in Miskolc


Special wine tasting arranged for the players and guests in the town hall


The tram, a convenient mode of transport in the city of Miskolc


Lajos Kossuth (Ludovít Košút) was a Hungarian politician and Regent-President of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1849. He was a freedom fighter and is considered one of the country's greatest sons.

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