Disastrous start for Leko in beautiful Miskolc

by ChessBase
6/2/2005 – We have to look back to 1991, when the eleven-year-old Peter Leko lost a white game in 27 moves. He did it in 25 against Michael Adams today in their rapid chess match in Miskolc, eastern Hungary. Worse still: in the first game he allowed mate in one in a drawn position. No, we don't know what is wrong with Peter Leko.

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An eight-game rapid chess match between the world's No. 3 Peter Lékó (Hungary) and No. 6 Michael Adams (England) is being held between June 2nd and 5th 2005 in the Kossuth Cinema of Miskolc, Hungary.

Péter Lékó was born on 8th September in 1979 in Subotica, he has been living in Szeged since 1980. At 2763 Elo he is ranked fourth in the FIDE rank list published 1st April 2005, i.e. number three if one removes the retired Garry Kasparov.

Michael Adams was born on 17 November 1971 in Truro, Cornwall. He was ranked number seven at 2737, i.e. number six without Garry Kasparov.

The event is taking place in Miskolc, the third city in Hungary. The people there are great lovers of sport and culture, it is a city of music festivals and has a long tradition of chess activity. Miskolc has produced multiple-winning teams in national championships, as well as a number of noted players on the international scene.

The first day of the event brought a shocker: Hungary's great chess hero Peter Leko lost both games, and did so in horrible fashion. One wonders whether the lad is overplayed, or whether it's a virus or something. Especially since the first game was a one-move blunder into mate; and the second simply an execution in 25 moves, with Leko having the white pieces.

A disastrous start for local hero Peter Leko

The first game was an Archangelsk/Möller in the Ruy Lopez, with Peter Leko equalising nicely with black, then sacrificing a knight for two pawns, and getting into a spot of trouble. But just when he seemed out of it disaster struck.

Adams,Mi (2737) - Leko,P (2763) [C78]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (1), 02.06.2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.d3 d6 9.h3 0-0 10.Nbd2 Ne7 11.Re1 Ng6 12.Nf1 h6 13.Ne3 Be6 14.c3 Bxb3 15.Qxb3 Re8 16.axb5 axb5 17.Nf5 Qd7 18.Be3 Bxe3 19.Nxe3 Nf4 20.Qc2 b4 21.c4 c6 22.Ra5 Ra8 23.Rea1 Rxa5 24.Rxa5 g6 25.Nh2 Kg7 26.Nhg4 Nh7 27.Qd2 h5 28.Nh2 c5 29.Nd5 Nxd5 30.cxd5 Qb7 31.b3 Ra8 32.Qa2 Rxa5 33.Qxa5 Nf6 34.Nf3 Nxd5 35.exd5 Qxd5 36.Qa6 e4 37.dxe4 Qxb3 38.Qxd6 Qb1+ 39.Kh2 Qc2 40.Qe5+ Kg8 41.Qf6 Qxe4 42.Ne5 Qd5 43.Nc6

Black needs to simply play 43...Kh7 and the game looks like a draw. 43...Qe4? allowing: 44.Ne7+ Kf8 (forced) 45.Nc6. Naturally Black must go 45...Kg8 and offer a repetition. Instead the rock-solid Leko played the incredible 45...Ke8?? which simply allows 46.Qd8# 1-0.

Easy picking for the world's number seven Michael Adams

Maybe this blunder had stunned Leko, because in the second game he was simply torn to shreds by Michael Adams in a Queen's Indian.

Leko,P (2763) - Adams,Mi (2737) [E15]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (2), 02.06.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Rc1 d5 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.Bg2 Re8 12.Rc2 c5 13.0-0 Nc6 14.Bc3 Rc8 15.Bh3 Rc7 16.Re1 cxd4 17.Bxd4 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Bb4 19.Rf1

Black is already clearly better, but Leko could have tried exchanging on c7 and playing Qc1 instead of moving his rook out of the black bishop's attack. Adams does not have to be asked twice: 19...Rxc2 20.Qxc2 Bc5 21.Rd1 Bxd4 22.Rxd4 Rxe2 23.Qc1?

It's looking very grim for White, but he could have at least tried 23.Qc3 Qf6 24.f4. With his queen on c1 this doesn't work: 23...Qf6 threatening of course 24...Qxf2 and mate. Now 24.f4 is impossible because the rook on d4 is hanging. 24.Rf4 Qe7 threatening the fork 25...Re1+ with mate to follow. 25.Kg2 Re1 0-1. The threat is 26...Bf1+ and mate (27.Kg1/h1 Bxh3+ 28.Qxe1 Qxe1# and 27.Kf3 28.Qe2#), to which there is no reasonable defence.

When did we last see Peter lose with the white pieces in this way? There is a 25-move loss to Vishy Anand in 2001, but that was a computer-assisted game in León. For other short losses we have to go back to 1990, when he was eleven and lost a game with white in 27 moves (when he was ten he lost three times with white in 28). The shortest losses of his career were 23-movers with black in 1991 and 1993, and a 24-move rapid game in 1996.

The official web site has a lot of cool graphics and a full English language section, with bios of both players, live coverage, and pictures of the Miskolc region. Here a selection:

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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