Miskolc 2006: Leko vs Karpov 1:1

by ChessBase
8/30/2006 – Both the games on the first day of the rapid chess match in Miskolc, Hungary, between the top national GM Peter Leko and the legendary 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov, ended in draws. The first was a fighting game in which Karpov introduced a novelty in the Caro-Kann and both sides had winning chances. Images of Miskolc.

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Peter Leko vs Anatoly Karpov in Miskolc

Chess Rapid Match – Miskolc

Peter Leko and Anatoly Karpov are playing a rapid chess match in Miskolc, Hungary, from August 30 to September 3, 2006. There are two games per day at 16:00h and 17:30h European time.

Péter Lékó was born on 8th September 1979 in Subotica, and has been living in Szeged since 1980. At 2738 Elo he is ranked sixth in the world (July 2006).

Anatoly Karpov, born on May 23, 1951, is the legendary 12th world champion and the most successful tournament player of all time. His peak strength was 2780, his current rating is 2668, putting him at no. 40 in the world.

Day one

In the first game Karpov had black and to nobody's surprise played the Caro-Kann, and in fact whipped out a novelty on move 17.

Leko,P (2738) - Karpov,Ana (2668) [B19]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (1), 30.08.2006
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bf4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2 Bb4 13.c3 Be7 14.c4 Qc7 15.0-0-0 Ngf6 16.Rhe1 b5 17.c5 0-0

Karpov's novelty allows a temporary piece sacrifice, which chess engines like Fritz do not care to play: 18.Nf5 exf5 19.Rxe7 Nxc5 20.Qe2 (the white rook was hanging) 20...Ncd7 21.Nh4.

Black has an extra pawn and a promising position ("White had good losing chances," he told us). The white rook has nowhere to go, and Black can win the exchange with 21...Nd5, and after 22.Nxf5 Nxe7 23.Qxe7 it is unclear how White can use his attack to compensate for the material deficit. However Karpov decided to go for 21...Qd6 22.Nxf5 Qd5 23.g4 Qxa2, which turns the tables and give White the initiative to play for a win.

Here Fritz calls for the immediate 24.Bxh6, when after 24...gxh6 25.Nxh6+ Kh8 26.g5 Ng8 27.Nxg8 Kxg8 28.Rxd7 White is a healthy pawn up with winning chances; or the super-sharp 24...c5 25.d5 Nb6, which Peter Leko perhaps shied away from. Instead he played 24.g5 hxg5 25.Qe3, and because of the deadly kingside attack that White is threatening Black must go for the perpetual: 25...Qa1+ 26.Kc2 Qa4+ 27.Kc1 Qa1+ 28.Kc2 ½-½.

The second game was a less eventful Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2 in which it was again Karpov who came up with a new move (8.a3 instead of the usual 8.dxc5), but one that was not as volatile as his novelty in the first encounter. The second game ended after 30 moves in a draw.

Score so far

Peter Leko
Anatoly Karpov

Picture gallery

The ChessBase team has just arrived in Miskolc, around midnight of the first day. We have thus far been occupied with settling into the very comfortable hotel, sorting out our Internet connection (took all of ten minutes) and having breakfast. To this Karpov turned up, one minute before the official end of serving, and we were able to have a nice opening conversation. We will now take a walk through the overcast city and hopefully provide you with first pictures shortly. In the meantime you can see pictures of the opening ceremony on our German news page.

Well, here they are...

The evening flight from Hamburg to Budapest, where the organisers had arranged a pick-up at 10:30 pm. The drive to Miskolc took a little under two hours, in a sleek mini BMW.

Our hotel, which offers very spacious rooms, bathrooms, sauna and spa facilities, and free high-speed Internet connection in every room. If the wireless signal is not strong enough they give you a network cable.

One of the first things that hits you in Hungary is the permanent reminder that they speak Magyar, which is quite out of this world. Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language, unrelated to the other languages of Central Europe. Try an understand a syllable in the sign above. We will return to the subject for sure in subsequent reports. Thankfully everybody speaks German in Miskolc, and some even English. Incidentally the pronunciation is "Mish-kolts".

A promising museum just a few hundred paces from the hotel

A beautiful church a few hundred paces on

Houses up the hill, just off the main road

The central part of the city, with a canal running through it

A group of bronze ladies chatting in the park by the canal

Real flesh-and-blood Hungarians on the bench next to them

The main shopping street, with a chess poster reminding us why we are here

The tramcar is a very popular form of transportation in Miskolc

Wine tasting and sales at stalls on the central square

The regional wines are interestingly flavoured with leaves and herbs

A "goulash cannon" provides sustenance for the masses

A spa in the middle of the city, with a famous politician posing in front

Lajos Kossuth (Ludovít Košút) was a Hungarian politician and Regent-President of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1849. He was a freedom fighter and is considered one of the country's greatest sons – for instance by Péter Rácz, a young Hungarian journalist in the press area of the playing venue, who is only willing to concede that perhaps Péter Lékó may be even greater.

Frederic Friedel

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