(1) Leko,P (2740) - Ivanchuk,V (2729) [C88]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (4), 22.02.2006



1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4
[Being a Marshall expert himself, Leko prefers not to embark in long theoretical discussions. Lately, 8.h3 has been quite popular as a method of avoiding the Marshall, but Leko's choice might have been dictated by the fact that Ivanchuk had preciously lost two games against 8.a4.]

8...Bb7 9.d3 d6
[The game Shirov-Ivanchuk, Linares 2002 went 9...Re8 10.Nbd2 Bf8 11.c3 Na5 12.Ba2 c5 13.d4 d6 and now a very animated and slightly irrational series of moves was initiated:14.b4 exd4 15.bxa5 dxc3 16.Nf1 Nxe4 17.axb5 axb5 18.a6 Bc6 19.Rxe4 Bxe4 20.Bxf7+ Kxf7 21.Ng5+ Kg8 22.Nxe4 . The position remains chaotical, but White's minor pieces eventually prevailed.]

10.Nbd2 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nf1 Bc8
Black initiates a long regroupment, aimed to consolidate the... f7-square! Not completely unexpected, if we think about Ivanchuk's previous experience with this variation, but the plan is rather time consuming, allowing White take over the control of the d5-square and of the a-file.

13.c3 Bd7 14.Ne3 Qc7 15.axb5 axb5 16.b4 Nb7 17.Bd2 Nd8 18.Bb3 Rxa1 19.Qxa1


19...Re8
[With hindsight, 19...cxb4 20.cxb4 Be6 was a safer choice, although White's position looks better.]

20.bxc5 Qxc5 21.Qa2 h6 22.h3 Ne6 23.Nd5 Nxd5 24.Bxd5 Qc8 25.d4
White's advantage in the centre is obvious now.

25...Bf6 26.Qb3 Bc6 27.Qb4 exd4 28.cxd4 Bxd5 29.exd5 Ng5 30.Rxe8+ Qxe8 31.Bxg5 hxg5 32.Qxd6 Qe2 33.Qc5 Qc4 34.Qxc4 bxc4 35.Kf1 Kf8 36.d6 Ke8 37.Ne5
White is obviously winning. Ivanchuk's move just makes his sufering shorter.

37...Bxe5 38.dxe5 Kd7
Hoping for 39.Ke2 f6.

39.g3!
Planning to keep the chain of pawns intact with f4. 1-0