C42: Petroff Defence
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Again the Petroff Defense as in game one. Will Kramnik risk it again in game five? There's an old saying about not playing the same defense three times in a row.
3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 The dynamic modern line as opposed to the old main line 5.Qe2, which is much more drawish. Mostly thanks to Russian-German GM Artur Jussupow (a commentator at the match, conveniently enough) the world needed a way to get better winning chances against the Petroff. Now there are main lines with piece sacrifices!
5...d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 Undermining the knight's outpost.
8...Nb4 9.Be2 If you want to attack you have to keep pieces on the board. This retreat gives Black a tempo, but White doesn't want to give up a bishop for a knight so early.
9...0-0 10.Nc3 Bf5 Black also follows a plan of rapid development.
11.a3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Exchanging gives White a pair of dangerously mobile pawns in the center. His pawn structure is less intact than blacks, and so more vulnerable in several ways. That's more in the long run, however, and the mobile pawns can cause trouble if they get moving.
12...Nc6 13.Re1 This sharp move gave new life to this variation and it has been quite popular in the past few years. Kasparov used it against Adams in Linares a few years ago and that game can be considered a model. White has two mobile pawns and he must play aggressively. To generalize, Leko likes to play for small advantages, so this line may not suit him that well. [ 13.cxd5 Qxd5 14.c4 ( 14.Bf4 Na5 15.Bxc7 Rac8 16.Bxa5 Qxa5 17.c4 ) 14...Qe4 15.Be3 ]
13...Re8 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Bf4 Rac8 16.c4 In game one Leko played 16.h3. [ 16.h3 Be4 17.Be3 Na5 18.c4 Nxc4 19.Bxc4 Qxc4 20.Nd2 Qd5 21.Nxe4 Qxe4 22.Bg5 Qxe1+ 23.Qxe1 Bxg5 0-1 Leko,P-Kramnik,V/Brissago SUI 2004 (65)]
16...Qe4 17.Be3 Qc2 New on the board, but not in our hearts. Back when Garry Kasparov was preparing for Vladimir Kramnik for the London 2000 world championship match, this move was under consideration even before the now-popular 17...Bf6. After all, Kramnik is known for his misogyny, always wanting the queens off the board! If the move itself wasn't a big surprise, Leko's long think was. Soon he was again an hour behind on the clock, just like game one. It's a very bad sign for his preparation. Not to have looked at this natural move can be considered a blunder. [ 17...Bf6 18.Ra2 ( 18.Rc1 h6N ( 18...b6 19.h3 Bg6 20.c5 Ne7 21.Ba6 Rcd8 22.Bg5 Qc6 23.cxb6 Qxb6 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Qa4 0-1 Kasparov,G-Karpov,A/New York USA 2002/The Week in Chess 424 (47); 18...Na5 19.Bd2 b6 20.c5 Qa8 21.Qa4 Be4 22.Bxa5 bxa5 23.Qxa5 1/2-1/2 Goloshchapov,A-Motylev,A/Dubai UAE 2003/(23)) 19.d5 Ne5 1/2-1/2 Shirov,A-Karpov,A/Cap d'Agde 2003/CBM 98/[Huzman] (29) ( 19...Ne7 20.Nd4 Bd7 21.Bf3 Qg6 22.c5+/- ) ) 18...Rcd8 ( 18...b6 19.h3 Na5 20.g4 ( 20.Bd2 Qb1 21.Qxb1 Bxb1 22.Rxb1 Rxe2 23.Kf1 Rce8 24.Ng1 R2e4 25.Bxa5 bxa5 26.Re2 1-0 Kotronias,V-Marjanovic,S/Kallithea Chalkidiki GRE 2003/(64); 20.Bf1 Qc6 21.d5 Qd6 22.Nd4 Bd7 23.Qd3 c6 24.dxc6 Nxc6 25.Nb5 Qxd3 26.Bxd3 Be5 0-1 Nedev,T-Gustafsson,J/Halkidiki GRE 2002/(85)) 20...Bg6 21.g5 Be7 22.Ne5 Bd6 23.Nxg6 ( 23.Bd3 Qh4 24.Nxg6 hxg6 25.Qg4 Qxg4+ 26.hxg4 Bf4 27.Rae2 Bxe3 28.fxe3 c5 1/2-1/2 Svidler,P-Gelfand,B/Moscow RUS 2002/ (36)) 23...hxg6 24.c5 Bf8 25.Bg4 1-0 Kasparov,G-Adams,M/Linares ESP 2002/The Week in Chess 382 (47) 25...Rcd8 26.Rae2 Qc6 27.cxb6 1/2-1/2 Anand,V-Adams,M/Linares ESP 2002/(27)) 19.d5 Ne5 20.Nd2 Qh4 21.g3 Qh3 22.Bf1 Qg4 23.Be2 Qh3 1/2-1/2 Grischuk,A-Huzman,A/Rethymnon 2003/CBM 98 (23)]
18.d5 Na5 19.Nd4 [ 19.Bxa7? b6-/+ ]
19...Qxd1 20.Rexd1 Bd7 White has space and central control, Black has good squares like c5 and f6 for his pieces, exploiting the weak squares created by the advanced pawns. Unless White can make something of his initiative, those pawn weaknesses could be a serious problem. Frustrated, Leko embarks on a piece-trading sequence and a short draw.
21.Bd2 Bf6 22.Bxa5 Bxd4 23.Rxd4 Rxe2 If this isn't a totally dead draw, it's a draw on life support. Neither side has weaknesses the other side can effectively attack. Kramnik leads the match 2-1 and will have White on Thursday. 1/2-1/2