Miskolc: First two games drawn

5/29/2008 – The first round of the Miskolc Rapid Chess tournament began with a fast and furious first game, which ended after 36 moves in a draw. After a short pause the second game was started, and this ended in a slightly anticlimatic 18-move draw. The games are being analysed in real time for the public by two chess experts, one of whom has provided us with his notes: 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 one report

By GM Zoltán Gyimesi

Before the match my expectation was that the player who wins first will win the match – by a score of 4.5:3.5 (precisely: two wins against one, and five draws). Keeping this in mind it is a slight advantage to be White in the first game, because he can "serve" first. In the previous "Leko &" matches Peter had black in the first game against Adams (2005) and Kramnik (2007), and he had white against Karpov (2006). Mickey was the only one to start with white and score "only" 4:4, despite winning the first three games! So far Carlsen and Leko played eight classical games against each other, and Peter has an impressive +3 score against Magnus. With white Peter allowed just one draw (Moscow 2007) and won the other three, having a 87,5% score. With black he drew all four (50%). They played six more games, two each in blind, rapid and blitz. All six were drawn.

The Lord Mayor of Miskolc, Sándor Káli, executes the first move, 1.e4, for Peter Leko

His 17-year-old Norwegian opponent, Magnus Carlsen, about to play 1...c5

The players on the stage the games displayed on large projection screens

Leko,Peter (2741) - Carlsen,Magnus (2765) [B78]
Miskolc rapid (1), 28.05.2008 [Gyimesi Zoltán]

1.e4. It is really not easy to guess what opening Carlsen will play. My candidates against 1.e4 were the Aljechin, Open Ruy Lopez or the Dragon. The latter one is extremely dangerous in the hands of Magnus, especially in rapid. But Leko is not afraid to play against any of them. Otherwise he would have started with 1.d4, as it happened in one of their earlier encounter, which Peter duly won! 1...c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6. And in fact it is a Dragon! Not a big surprise, if you know that this was Carlsen's choice in his last two black games against 1.e4! 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0. Interestingly, in the last 15 (!) years Peter had to face the Dragon only once (against Fedorov in Batumi 1999), but there followed 10...Qb8 and White won in 57 moves. 10...Rc8. So far both player moved their pieces only once (except for Ng1-f3xd4), so they developed rather quickly. This is how grandmasters play - when they have a chance to do so - bring all their pieces into play as fast as possible. 11.Bb3 Ne5.

A pictueresque position, all the knights are on the long diagonal, a kind of centre symmetry. 12.Kb1 Re8 13.h4 h5 14.Bh6 Threatens to take the "Dragon-Bishop"... 14...Nc4 15.Bxc4 Rxc4 ... and Magnus allowed it to be taken. 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Nd5 e5 18.Nxf6 Qxf6. But all these moves have been played already. 19.Nb3. Actually 19.Ne2 happened just exactly four weeks ago, between the two young stars Karjakin and Carlsen in Baku, and that game was drawn after 55 moves. 19...Rec8. And this is the "almost" novelty. So far Re6 happened in most of the games, for example in Lastin-Abbasov, Baku 2008 just eight days ago! This move was played by the relatively unknown Goumas in an old game (a month earlier in Plovdiv...) 20.Qxd6 Be6 21.c3 b5. And finally the real novelty, not following Zherebukh-Goumas any more, where white won in 65 moves. 22.Qd2 22.a3 was possible to stop b4, but it looks threatening that the knight remains unprotected, although after the double attack 22...R4c6 White can still defend with 23.Qb4 I think White might look for some advantage in this line, although here Black has some compensation for the pawn, too. 22...a5 23.Qg5. This is safe, to get rid of the enemy queen. 23.Nxa5 Ra4 24.Nb3 b4 Was anything but safe for white. After 25.cxb4 Bxb3 26.axb3

Analysis diagram
White has still three pawns in front of his king, but not in the right orientation! 26...Ra7 27.Qd6 Qf4 28.Rd5 Re8 And Fritz thinks it is +/-, but I find it unclear.

23...Qxg5 24.hxg5 a4 25.Nd2 R4c7 26.a3

White is a solid pawn up, but his position is blocked. 26...Rd7 27.Kc1 f6 28.gxf6+ Kxf6 29.Nf1 Rxd1+ 30.Kxd1 Rd8+ 31.Ke1 Kg5 32.g3 Rd3 33.Nd2 Bc4 34.Nxc4 bxc4 35.Ke2 Rd6

Now 36.Rd1 Rxd1 37.Kxd1 h4 38.gxh4+ Kxh4 and 39.b4 would be the winning move, but unfortunately Black is allowed to take the pawn "en passant": 39...cxb3-+. Therefore White played 36.Rh2 and the players agreed draw. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay].

Game one after Carlsen's move 28...Kxf6

One move before the end Peter Leko studies and rejects the possibility of 36.Rd1

Photographers and camera teams surround the players at the start of game two

Magnus ponders after Peter has played 7...e6

Carlsen,Magnus (2765) - Leko,Peter (2741) [B18]
Miskolc rapid (2), 28.05.2008 [Gyimesi Zoltán]

1.e4. Until now Carlsen preferred 1.d4 over 1.e4 against Peter, five times in seven games. But the result was always the same. 1...c6. Just a slight surprise, although Leko's last classical game in the Caro-Kann was in 2005 (against Judit Polgar). This year he played it three times in rapid games against very strong opponents. 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Nc5. This came as a real surprise, and never occured in Peter's career. Magnus tried it once in a blindfold game. By the way, it was the young Fischer who played it for the first time in 1964 in some simul games. 5...b6 6.Nb3 Nf6 7.Nf3 e6 8.g3 Nbd7 9.Bg2 Rc8 10.0-0 Bd6 11.Qe2 Qc7 12.c4. 12.Nh4 might have been the choice of Fischer, although after 12...Bg4 13.f3 Bh5 14.Nf5 0-0 15.Nxd6 Qxd6 chances are about unclear. 12...0-0 13.Be3 Rfe8 14.Rac1

Again most of the pieces are well developed, so it is time for... 14...Bg4 15.Qc2 Bf5 16.Qe2 Bg4 17.Qc2 Bf5 18.Qe2 ... a move repetion. Although here we don't have the Sofia rule, the players agreed to draw strictly according to those rules – by actually repeating the position three times, not just agreeing when they knew it was inevitable. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay].

Current standing

Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen

Intensity: Peter Leko in game two...

... and moments olf calm reflection

Magnus Carlsen looking for chances...

... and slowly accepting the inevitability of a second draw

In the press conference after the game arbiter Zsuzsa Veroci translates for Magnus

Pictures by Frederic Friedel in Miskolc


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