Miskolc 2007: games seven and eight annotations

by ChessBase
4/30/2007 – The final two games of the Rapid Chess Match between Kramnik and Leko ended in draws, leaving Kramnik to win by 4½:3½ points. But they were not tame affairs, and the eighth game could have easily gone against Peter Leko, who found himself under considerable pressure. Our team of GM Ferenc Berkes and IM Gyula Meszaros have analysed the games for you.

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Rapid Chess Match Leko-Kramnik in Miskolc

The rapid chess match between Vladimir Kramnik, the reigning world champion, and Peter Leko, Hungary's top grandmaster, takes place from April 23 and 30 in the National Theater of Miskolc, Hungary. The games start at 16:00h and 17:30h (4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.) local time, which is Central European Sommer Time (GMT +1). The arbiter is WGM Zsuzsa Veröci, Head of Communication of the Hungarian Chess Federation. The games can be watched live on the official site and on Playchess.com.

Round seven + eight express commentary

The final day of the rapid chess match in the National Theater in Miskolc was attended by a large crowd, with practically everybody (except for an emigreé named Natalia) rooting for the country's sporting hero. Peter Leko needed one win to equalise the score. GM Ferenc Berkes and IM Gyula Meszaros, who are doing the official match commentary for the public over infrared headphones, tell us how things went.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Leko,P (2738) [D43]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (7), 29.04.2007 [Berkes/Meszaros]

1.Nf3 d5 Peter decided not to meander in the maze of the English Opening or the Queen's Indian Defence again. 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6. Peter told us that Kramnik was a little bit surprised by this variation, so he reacted carefully. After all it is not him who has to struggle for the point. 6...Qxf6 7.Qc2 dxc4 8.e3 b5 9.a4 Bb7 10.axb5 cxb5 11.Nxb5 Bb4+ 12.Nc3 0-0 13.Be2 Rc8! 14.0-0 Nd7 15.Rfc1 a5 16.Na4 Rab8 17.Qd1 e5

18.Rxc4. Kramnik doesn't take any unnecessary risk, the games develops on the usual path. Peter achives the half point easily. The question is open: will he be able to equalize after the lastgame? 18...Rxc4 19.Bxc4 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Qxf3 21.gxf3 exd4 22.exd4

22...Nb6! Black forces the exchange of the knights, and the draw becomes inevitable in the developing opposite coloured bishop endgame, because of the weakness of the white kingside. 23.Nxb6 Rxb6 24.Rd1 Kf8 25.b3 Rg6+ 26.Kf1 Rg5 27.Rd3 Rh5 28.Kg2 Rg5+ 29.Kf1 Rh5 30.Kg2 Rg5+ 1/2-1/2.

Leko,P (2738) - Kramnik,V (2772) [C77]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (8), 29.04.2007 [Berkes/Meszaros]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.0-0 d6 8.c3 h6 9.a4 Rb8 10.d4 Bb6 11.Na3. Peter condemned this move after the game. 11...0-0 12.axb5 axb5 13.Nxb5. Peter, as he later admitted, bluffed. He was obliged to do so because he wanted to equalize the score in the match. 13...Bg4

14.Be3?! White might to close the position by all means, because he is behind in development. We think the logical continuation would be 14.d5 Now most likely 14...Ne7 15.Bc2 Ng6 (15...Nxe4?! 16.Bxe4 f5 17.Bb1 e4 18.h3 Bh5 19.g4!; 15...Nexd5!? 16.exd5 e4 17.h3 Bh5 18.g4 exf3 19.gxh5 Qd7 20.Qxf3 Qxb5 21.Bxh6 Qxd5 22.Qxd5 Nxd5 23.Bd2+/-) 16.h3 Bd7 17.c4 can happen and in spite of the feeling that Black has enough compensation we cannot find any satisfying follow-up. For example: 17...Nh5 (or 17...Bxb5 18.cxb5 Qd7 19.Qe2 +/=) 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.Qxh5 Nxc4 20.Nc3 +/=. 14...d5! Typical blow in the center which lands White in difficulty at once. 15.exd5 Nxd5 16.h3. 16.Qd3 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Nce7! 18.Kh1 c6 19.Na3 exd4 20.cxd4 Ng6-/+. 16...Bh5 17.g4?! Although White gets rid of the pin, he breaches the position of his own king. 17...Bg6 18.Na3 exd4 19.cxd4

19...Be4?! Kramnik's play is comfortable, actually he can do whatever he wants. Don't forget that drawing this game would mean the win of the match for him. 19...Qd6! 20.Kg2 (20.Nc4? Nxe3! 21.fxe3 Qg3+) 20...Nf4+ 21.Bxf4 Qxf4-/+ Rfd8, Be4. 20.Bc2 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Nxd4 22.Bxd4 Bxd4 23.Rad1 c5 24.Nb5 [24.Nc4 =/+]

24...Rxb5! This move is in a class by itself. In the commentator-room we crossed our fingers for the exchange sacrifice not to be discovered. But Kramnik is uninterceptable. 25.Qd3 g6 26.Qxb5 Nf4 27.Qc6 Nxh3+ 28.Kg2 Nf4+ 29.Kf3 Ne6 [29...Qg5! 30.Bb3 h5 31.Rg1 Ne6-+] 30.Kg2. Here Peter offered a draw. After the game (and the match) Kramnik told us that he felt like he was winning, but he didn't see any tangible line. Peter's offer ensured the win of the match for him and he was not able to resist accepting it. 1/2-1/2.


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