Miskolc 2007: Kramnik wins rapid chess match by 3½ 4½

4/29/2007 – The final day of the rapid chess match was attended by the largest crowd so far. Everyone in the theatre was eager to see if Peter Leko would be able to get the point he needed to catch Vladimir Kramnik. The first game ended in a fairly quick and fairly safe draw. In the second Kramnik almost took the point with the black pieces. Big pictorial report with a new perspective on the match.

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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 report

The final day of the rapid chess match in Miskolc, Hungary, was attended by the largest crowd so far. Everyone in the theatre was eager to see if Peter Leko would be able to get the point he needed to catch Vladimir Kramnik. And it looked good when the first game of the day – game seven of the match – ended in a fairly quick and fairly safe draw. Peter had survived his black game.

In the final game started off normally but then suddenly turned to Black's favour, with Vladimir Kramnik coming close to deciding it in his favour. The Hungarian crowd followed the game with thumping hearts, and there was a big sigh of relief when the draw was agreed.

Final Standings

 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Total
Peter Leko
½
½
0
½
0
1
½
½
Vladimir Kramnik
½
½
1
½
1
0
½
½

Kramnik,V (2772) - Leko,P (2738) [D43]
Rapid Match Miskolc HUN (7), 29.04.2007
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 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 Rxc4 19.Bxc4 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Qxf3 21.gxf3 exd4 22.exd4 Nb6 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
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 0-0 12.axb5 axb5 13.Nxb5 Bg4 14.Be3 d5 15.exd5 Nxd5 16.h3 Bh5 17.g4 Bg6 18.Na3 exd4 19.cxd4 Be4 20.Bc2 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Nxd4 22.Bxd4 Bxd4 23.Rad1 c5 24.Nb5 Rxb5 25.Qd3 g6 26.Qxb5 Nf4 27.Qc6 Nxh3+ 28.Kg2 Nf4+ 29.Kf3 Ne6 1/2-1/2.

Full annotations to follow...

Picture gallery


Before the game Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko nervously pace the backstage area


The start of game seven – and we got the handshake!


And the game is under way, with Vladimir Kramnik playing white


Peter Leko in the middle of castling

Here's the problem: same dudes, same place, same game, same visuals. Eight games of it. We decided that this could not go on and that we were scraping the bottom of the barrel ("in the middle of castling" – pathetic!). So we undertook a dangerous journey to the highest tier of the national theatre, where few people had walked before. From these lofty heights, where every fibre of your body tells you you do not belong, we start to shoot some more interesting pictures.


Game one under way in the National Theatre in Miskolc, seen from the highest point in the theatre. On the left is the arbiter's table, with WGM Zuszsa Veröci officiating.


The position after 16.Na4 by Kramnik


... and after Leko's reply 16...Rab8 (ah, the miracle of a 745mm zoom lens)


Bird's eye view of Vladimir Kramnik playing 24.Rd1


... and of Peter Leko playing 26...Rg5


In the pedestrian zone outside the Theater: a meeting of old-times


We are no experts – identifying these vehicles must be left to old car buffs


The cockpits of some of these cars were fascinating


... and sometimes poignantly frugal


Yessir, a fully functional Ford from 1923 – and fully functional motorists from the same era


This three-eyed cyclops seemed to be equipped with missiles


... and an engine in the rear


Our own favourite: a super-sleek Mercedes roadster from yesteryear


Back to chess: the first move of game two being ceremoniously executed by György Bartha, the Secretary of Sports of the city of Miskolc


We are back on our lofty perch, watching Kramnik castle on move eleven


... and Leko stretches to capture the b-pawn in reply


In the press conference after the game Zsuzsa Veröcy translates for Kramnik


Leko contemplative...


While Kramnik evaluates the outcome of the match


Mayor Sandor Kali (one last time: Polgármester Káli, Sándor) announces that the city will do at least three more events like this one in Miskolc, in the next three years


Vladimir Kramnik with his first prize trophy, the same that Ayrton Senna won in 1992 in the Hungarian Grand Prix


The almost full moon on the final night in Miskolc (yes, 745mm with anti-shake)

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