Miskolc: Carlsen draws first blood

5/29/2008 – An exciting day: game three of the rapid chess match saw Peter Leko attacking, allowing a repetition, which was not claimed, and then missing a clear win to draw after 96 gruelling moves. In the second game it was Magnus Carlsen who did the attacking, and he was able to win in 58 moves, after Leko missed some drawing chances. Full report with special commentary by GM Zoltán Gyimesi.

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Peter Leko vs Magnus Carlsen
in Miskolc, Hungary

The year’s most prestigious clash in Hungary is taking place in Miskolc, Hungary. Top Hungarian GM, Péter Lékó is playing eight rapid chess games against challenger, Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

The event takes place from May 28th to June 1st, with the games starting at 16:30h and 18:00h CEST (4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. local time, which is Central European Summer Time = GMT +2). 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. At the end of each day of play there is a short press conference of 10-15 minutes with both players.

Day two report

By GM Zoltán Gyimesi

Leko,P (2741) - Carlsen,M (2765) [B52]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (3), 29.05.2008

In all the previous "Leko &" matches the third game ended with a White win (1:0). The big question is wether this "tradition" will be continued... 1.e4. Peter is not afraid to repeat the Dragon from yesterday. 1...c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+. Wait a minute! Maybe I was wrong?! With this move he prevents Magnus from his beloved Dragon. Or did he want to surprise his opponent first? 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4. Magnus never had this position before, while Peter sat on both sides long ago, and both were drawn rather quickly. 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 g6. You can see, nobody can prevent Magnus from having a "Dragon-like" bishop on g7! 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.h3. 9.f3 is the usual way to defend the g4 square. 9...0-0 10.Be3 Rc8. 10...Nc6 11.0-0 Rfd8 was the choice of Cheparinov against Adams in Baku a month and a week earlier, but eventually he lost the game. 11.b3 a6 12.a4 e6. The novelty. 12...Nc6 happened in a more recent game (eleven days ago!) between Deviatkin and Vorobiov, but White won the game after a long fight. 13.Rc1 b6! Very clever, Black prepares Qb7 and Nbd7, after that his position would be okay. 14.0-0 Qb7 15.Nf3! Touching the weakest point (d6) of Black's position.

15...Rd8 16.e5! White is better developed, so it is right to open up the position. 16...Ne8 17.Bf4 Nc6 18.exd6 e5 19.Be3 Rxd6 20.Qe2 Nd4 21.Bxd4 exd4 22.Nd5 Nf6 23.Nxf6+ Bxf6 24.Qd3. After these more or less forced moves we arrive at the following position.

Black has a seemingly strong passed pawn on d4, but it is well blocked and therefore merely restricts his own bishop. White is slightly better thanks for his pawn majority on the queen'side, and also the queen + knight is a better duo than queen + bishop in such formations. 24...Re8 25.Rfe1 Rde6 26.Kf1 Rxe1+ 27.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 28.Nxe1 It was in White's favour to exchange all rooks. 28...Qe7 Slight inaccuracy that allowes the following nice little combination. 29.c5!

Well done! After that it will be easier to create a dangerous distanced passer. 29...Qxc5 30.Qxa6 Qc1 31.Qc4. 31.Qxb6?! would have been a forced draw by perpetual after 31...d3! 32.Qxf6 d2 33.Qd8+ Kg7 34.Qd4+=. 31...Qd1 32.Qc2 Qa1 33.Ke2 Kg7 34.Nd3 Qa3

It is clear, that White is better, but how to make progress? 35.Qc4? Definetely not this way! First g3 and h4 would have been a better try. 35...Qa2+! Now Black gives some annoying checks. 36.Kd1 Qb1+ 37.Ke2 Qa2+ 38.Kf3 Qb1! Even without a check. 39.Ke2?! What is this? Are you going to repeat the position? 39...Qa2+ So we have the same position for the third time (after moves 35, 37 and 39). 40.Kd1 Qb1+ 41.Ke2 Qa2+

And for the fourth time! Magnus, why don't you claim for a draw? You mean, you can hold it anyway?! 42.Kf1 Qb1+ 43.Ne1! No thanks, no more repetion! Even though White had only a minute against Black's two (with the golden bonus of ten seconds after every move), it is still possible to play on. Actually we are not even half-way through the game! 43...h5 44.Qc2 Qa1 45.Ke2 Qa3 46.Nd3. Finally White managed to have a very similar position to the one after Black's 34th move, just h5 is extra, plus it is Black to move. 46...Qe7+. The active black queen goes back for a check... 47.Kf1 Qe4 ...and for a pin. 48.Qc4 Bg5?! Not the best waiting move. 49.Qb5! With the threat to change queens on e5. 49...Bf6 50.b4!

Finally White is going to create a passed pawn, and a really dangerous one, not like Black's d4! 50...Qe6 51.a5 Qb3? Going for some checks. But you have to keep it in mind, that they were both in big time-trouble till the end of the game! 52.axb6 Qb1+ 53.Ke2 Qc2+ 54.Ke1. 54.Kf3 Qd1+ 55.Kf4 was also a promising try. 54...Qb1+ 55.Kd2 Qa2+ 56.Kd1 Qb1+ 57.Nc1. No more checks! 57...d3 58.Qxd3 Qxb4 59.Qb3 Qd6+ 60.Nd3 Bd4 61.b7 Ba7 62.Kd2 Bb8 63.g3 Qd7 64.h4

Eventually we arrived to this technically won position. But White still has to come up with a winning plan: 1. First put the king into safety (g2), where it cannot be disturbed with checks. 2. Then occupy the long diagonal and the center (d5 or c6) with the queen, where it protects and attacks everything at the same time. 3. Then bring the knight to attack the b8 square (from d7 or a6) and take the bishop. 4. Win the ensuing queen ending. But meanwhile take care of pawn f2! 64...Qd6 65.Qc3+ Kh7 66.Qc8 Kg7 67.Ke2 Ba7 68.Qc3+ Kh7 69.Qb3 Kg7 70.Kf1 Kg8 71.Qb5 Bb8 72.Kg2. First step completed. 72...Kg7 73.Qc4 Qd7 74.Qe4 Qb5 75.Ne1 Qd7 76.Nf3 Kg8 77.Nd4 Kg7 78.Ne2 Kg8 79.Nc3 Kg7 80.Qd5

Second step completed too. The third step is more complicated, so White tried a lot of different routes. 80...Qe7 81.Ne4. 81.Nb5 Kh7 82.Nd4 Ba7 83.Nf3 Bb8 84.Ne1 Kg7 85.Nd3 is a strange, but possible route, now Black is unable to play Ba7, because of the possibility of Qe5+. But 85...Qf6 still holds for a while. 81...Ba7 82.Nd6 Bb8 83.Nc4 Qc7 84.Na5 Ba7 85.Nc4 Bb8 86.Nd2 Ba7 87.Ne4 Qe7 88.Qc6 Qe5 89.Qc3 Bd4 90.Qf3 Ba7 91.Ng5 Qc7 92.Qd5 Qe7 93.Nf3 Bb8 94.Qc6 Ba7 95.Qc3+

Finally Black has received an unpleasent check, that he must answer with a weakening. 95...f6 96.Qb3?? NOOOO! What a mistake! After the game Peter said that he saw that b7 is hanging and Black threatens to play Qe2 at the same time, but he looked at the clock and realized he has only 5, 4, 3... seconds left and made a quick move. Qb2 would defend both and White could start his process again, but with the terrible weakening f6 inserted. Instead.. . 96...Qe2!

... and it is time to look for a draw! Actually in this moment Peter made an "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg"... 97.b8Q ... because instead of the queen, he put an upside down rook on the board. It is common in blitz, but on a digital board it is illegal, because the board sensors cannot detect it and stop recording the game!

The game finished after a perpetual 97...Qxf2+ 98.Kh3 Qf1+ 99.Kh2 Qf2+ 100.Kh3 Qf1+ 101.Kh2 Qf2+. A great battle, compensating spectators for the relatively short games from yesterday. And the tradition is broken, despite all the mutual tries. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

The end of a 100-move marathon

Carlsen,M (2765) - Leko,P (2741) [B13]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (4), 29.05.2008

1.e4. The fourth game that starts with 1.e4. The reason might be that the first move is always executed by a special guest, and probably they know only this move?! 1...c6. But this was played by Peter himself! 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Nf3. What is this? Peter might ask during the game. Another move that he never faced before! 4...Nf6 5.Ne5

Oops! Yesterday I explained that GMs always try to develop all their pieces first, before making another move with an already developed piece. Unfortunately Magnus seems not to have read my previous article. 5...g6 6.Bd3. And here is the first deviaton from his previous rapid game he played against Morozevich two months ago in a very nice place (in Nice). Actually this a novelty, but in a rarely played variation it is not so difficult to make a new move at such an early stage. 6...Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.c3 Nc6 9.Qe2 Nd7! 10.f4 Nf6. No, it is not a move repetion, he just provoked f4 before playing Bf5. 11.Be3 Bf5 12.Nd2

This makes a better picture. Probably GMs do still find it important to bring their pieces into play. 12...Bxd3 13.Qxd3 e6 14.Rae1 Rc8 15.Bf2 Ne8! Nice route for the knight that has already moved four times. 16.Ndf3 Nd6 17.Ng5 Qe8! Also an important subtlety. 18.Qh3

Look at this! He threatens to give mate in one! 18...h6. Defended! 19.Ngf3. The other option was 19.Nexf7 but after 19...Rxf7 20.Rxe6 hxg5! 21.Rxe8+ Rxe8 22.fxg5 Re2 Black's chances are not worse! 19...Ne4. After a long journey the knight has arrived at the best place. Black feels comfortable. 20.g4. Somehow Magnus has decided to play in the fourth game just on one side of the board. 20...f6?! 20...Nxe5!? 21.fxe5 Qb5 22.Rb1 Qe2 would give Black very good prospects, probably he even has an edge! 21.Nd3 f5 22.gxf5 exf5 23.Bh4

Now White has also an important outpost for his knights on e5, but he can also double rooks on the g file. 23...b5. The minority attack! Tipical in such positions. 24.a3 a5 25.Kh1 b4 26.axb4 axb4 27.Rg1. Magnus is not interested in what's going on on the other (unimportant) side of the board. 27...bxc3 28.bxc3 Kh7 29.Rg2 Ne7 30.Nc5 Ng8 31.Reg1

31...Rc6. It was good time to take the knight, that is on Black's side again. 31...Nxc5 32.dxc5 Rxc5 and I don't find enough compensation for the pawn. But the players were already in severe time-trouble, again, one that never ends. 32.Be1. 32.Nd3 came into consideration to jump into e5 next move. 32...Ne7 33.Ng5+

This is the third time and place where Black could capture the white knight. But this time it was wrong! 33...Nxg5? After 33...Kg8 the position remains unclear. The short time plays an important factor. 34.fxg5 h5 35.Re2 Qf7 36.Bd2 Ng8 37.Rge1 Rcc8 38.Bf4

Now White is clearly on top! The black minor pieces have no prospects at all, and also his king is vulnerable. 38...Rfe8 39.Qf3 Rxe2 40.Qxe2 Bf8 41.Qa6! Getting into the stomach from the side. 41...Re8 42.Ne6! More space. 42...Qd7 43.Kg2 Bg7 44.Re3 Qc8?! If you are in trouble (and not just time-trouble), it is always better to keep queens on the board. 45.Qxc8 Rxc8 46.Nc7

Terrible domination of the white pieces. 46...Bf8? Why give up the pawn? Rd8 would still hold for a while. 47.Nxd5 Now it is over. 47...Kg7 48.Kf3 Kf7 49.Nb6 Rc6 50.Nd7 Bg7 51.Be5 Bf8 52.d5 Rc4 53.d6 Rc6 54.Nxf8 Kxf8 55.Bf4

Actually the knight on g8 is the "/portals/all/_for_legal_reasons.jpg" knight, but it does not matter, it will not move again in this game. 55...Rc8 56.Ke2 Kf7 57.Kd3 Rd8 58.c4. A depressing loss for Peter, that was mainly the result of the previous game's blunder. Magnus is in the lead, but there are four more games left. Not an easy task. 1-0. [Click to replay]

The paths of the two black knights during this game

The paths of the two white knights

About the author

GM Zoltán Gyimesi is 31 years old, father of three, member of the Hungarian Silver Medal team at the Olympiad in Bled, 2002, Hungarian Champion 2005, European Rapid Chess Champion 2005. Apart from chess he is a national champion in puzzle solving and Sudoku, where he is ranked higher than in chess. As a puzzle spcialist Zoltán has been entertaining us with problems like the following: use the numbers 1, 3, 4 and 6, all and just once each, together with the operations plus, minus, multiplied and divided by, to make an expression that equals 24. Our first solution made use of "to the power of" (as in 1^3), but that was not allowed. Brackets on the other hand are, and play a role in the solution. Enjoy.

Current standing

Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen

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