Leko: decision in the last round or tiebreak

by ChessBase
8/20/2005 – As the FIDE World Chess Championship draws closer the organisers are interviewing each of the eight participants, asking them the same set of ten questions. After Vishy Anand it is Peter Leko who gets into the hot seat. The Hungarian GM predicts that the tournament will be very tight and will only be decided in the final phases.

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The FIDE World Chess Championship will take place in the Hotel Potrero de los Funes Complex, in the Province of San Luis, Argentina, from September 27 to October 16, 2005.

WCC San Luis 2005 Press Release

Leko: “This will be the main event of the year”

Hungarian chess player Peter Leko exchanged some feelings about the World Chess Championship San Luis 2005 with its Press Office. He is sure that “the pressure on the players will be tremendous”, and that “everybody has a decent chance to win”. That’s why he thinks that it will be a very close competition, with a winner that “will be most likely decided in the last round only, if not in a possible tie-break”. Peter also remembered his trip to Argentina in 1994, when he, a great football fan, visited River Plate team and met former goalkeeper Sergio Goycoechea and then national captain Daniel Passarella.

1. What are your expectations about this important competition?

Everything is possible if I am able to show my best chess. But I am not thinking about the final result that much. My approach is just to play game per game as good as possible – step by step. My opponents are strong but I will fight.

2. How do you evaluate the way of play of this competition? (Double round-robin)

The double round robin format is nothing unusual for top players. We play it quite similar year by year in Linares. But the situation in San Luis will be rather different because the pressure is much higher as normal. A good mental and physical shape will be required.

3. Which are your favourite players among your seven opponents? And who will be the toughest?

This is a difficult question. Of course Anand and Topalov are the favourites if you just consider the ratings. But as I said: all players participating in San Luis are very strong. I think everybody has a decent chance to win this. You know, it is just one event and by the end of the day you need also a little bit of luck. But I am sure that we can expect a very close competition and the winner will be most likely decided in the last round only if not in a possible tie-break.

4. How are you preparing yourself for the WCC Argentina 2005?

In terms of chess there will be nothing special. I will have a more general preparation. You can not compare a tournament with a match against one player as I had it last year against Kramnik. In a match it is necessary to dedicate a big part of your preparation especially towards him. But it is impossible to do the same with seven opponents. For San Luis you need to be motivated, fresh, full of energy, and very flexible.

5. Do you think that you will be coming being in your best competition level?

After my match with Vladimir Kramnik I was able to win the super tournament at Wijk aan Zee in January 2005. At this time I needed to prove something to myself. Since then I am fully focusing on San Luis. Therefore I think the not very convincing result in Dortmund in July is in a way logical but has nothing to do with my real strength. I am increasingly optimistic that I will play in San Luis very well. You know, I won already all classical super tournaments: Dortmund, Linares and Wijk aan Zee. It should be possible to do the same in San Luis.

6. Which will be the "tips" to win the competition?

Sorry, I am for sure not the one who will talk about "tips" but of course I have some understandings of what should be done. I will keep them secretly!

7. Will this tournament be very different from all the others you have already played?

Yes. This not only a super tournament but an event for the title. The pressure on the players will be tremendous. One will need a good nerve system.

8. Will the spectators be seeing "new things" in the way of playing?

I am sure that the players are trying to present some novelties by developing certain opening systems. But I do not think that this will be the most decisive factor. I very much hope that we can expect a lot of great games, no blunders, and the fans all around the world will enjoy the competition.

9. Why should spectators not miss this championship?

Sorry, I don't want to be harsh. But I can assure you that the chess lovers will not miss it. This will be the main event of the year and people are already getting excited.

10. Name the first things that come in to your mind when you think of Argentina.

Of course the National Football Team of Argentina as I am a passionate soccer player myself. I visited Argentina once in 1994. At that time I was invited to meet the River Plate team. My talks with the legendary goalkeeper Sergio Goycoechea and the then national coach Daniel Passarella will be unforgettable.

Source: Press Office of the WCC San Luis 2005

Short biography of Peter Leko:

Born in Subotica on September 8th, 1979. With a 2763 Elo he is the world’s number four. He came very close to beating Vladimir Kramnik at the Professional World Chess Championship, but in the last game he lost and since they tied up in points, the title remained in the champion's hands. He is considered to be one of the most important theorists of the circuit. His youth and his aggressive style make him a major candidate to win FIDE’s championship.

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