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Peter Leko vs Ehsan Ghaem Maghami
World Team Championship (2001), Yerevan ARM, rd 7, Oct-18
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Polugayevsky Variation (B96)  ·  1-0



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Given 16 times; par: 26 [what's this?]

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find similar games 1 more Leko/E Ghaem Maghami game
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-14-04  Marvol: Especially the position after White's 26th move is great. Black is a full Queen ahead but none of his five pieces is able to prevent white's pawn at g7 promoting.
Aug-16-06  aazqua: This is an incredible game. Leko is playing on a completely different level. I don't know why this game isn't better known.
May-22-08  gambitking: Awesome game with clear advantage to Leko, although why resign when you're only down a rook for knight and pawn?

The Gambit King

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <gambitking> The problem seems to be that Black can't hold his extra pawn. For instance, 27...Kxd7?? 28.Rxf7+; 27...Nxd7 28.Bxa6+; 27...Qxd7 28.g8Q+ Qd8 (on king moves, 29.Rxf7), and White can either snatch pawns with his queen or trade her off and do the damage with his rook. It's not 100% clear-cut, but Black has too many weaknesses to stand up to White's superior firepower.

By the way, not that 27...Qd8 is answered not by 28.Nf8? Qg3!, but 28.Nf6!

Sep-08-14  SpiritedReposte: This needs to be one of Lekos notables.
Sep-08-14  hedgeh0g: I believe 17...Qb4! would be an improvement on Black's play here, immediately getting the queen back into play. After 18.c4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 gxf6!, the position should be roughly equal.
Jun-26-15  SpiritedReposte: <Leko Suave>
Nov-06-15  zanzibar: This game is mentioned for the move 20.Rxb4!! René Olthof, the Supervisor of NIC Yearbook:

<MG: How much has chess theory changed since the pre-computer era (i.e. since the 1980s)? Is chess theory, the main subject of the Yearbook, something that still belongs to us, humans?

RO: It is clear that the rise of the computer has had an enormous impact on chess theory, but perhaps less so than people tend to think. Let me single out two aspects. A nice example of the changes the computer has brought dates back to the 1991 Candidates' match Speelman-Short, held in the City of London in the offices of Watson, Farley and Williams. For the first time in his life Short played the Grünfeld. And what a success it was! After a mere 10 moves the first match game was effectively over. He repeated this three time during the match and scored 2,5 out of 4. Afterwards he played the Grünfeld once in Debrecen 1992, only to abondon it ever after. Without the computer such daring behaviour would have been highly erratic but nowadays surveying new opening lines or indeed entire openings and collecting all available information about them has become far less time-consuming, so experiments like Short's become less and less irresponsible. Another side of the coin. In Yearbook 59 Hungarian IM Tibor Karolyi wrote a lengthy and incredibly thorough survey on the Polugaevsky Variation called 'Questions About 10.exf6'. But it took somebody of the stature of Peter Leko to come up with this fantastic novelty 20.Rxb4!! from his game against Ghaem Maghami, Erevan World Team Championship 2001. I would say there is still hope for mankind!>

Playing it over with an engine it's surprising that 17...b4 is marked as weak, yet is the most common move (6/9 games).

The engine prefers the other move 17...Qb4 (-0.31/21 going to dead draw at 24-ply), but it scores badly for Black (83.3%). Of course, there's only 3 games to study.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The Polugaevsky Variation (7..b5) is rarely played these days. In Dimitrov-Vasiliev Pravets 1988-89 (not included in this database) White had played 20 Rbd1 and had gone on to win though Black had not defended well; 20 Rxb4! was a clear improvement. 20..Bxb4 21 fxg..Rg8 22 Nf6+..Kd8 23 Nxg8..Bc5 24 Nxe6..fxe 25 Rf8+ would have been winning for White. 22..Bc3 would have been the best defense though Leko and Rodriguez provided extensive analysis that after 23 Rc1! White would have maintained an advantage.

Perhaps Black thought to catch Leko by surprise with this highly theoretical line but he was more than ready - voted the 3rd best game in Informant 83.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I couldn't decide which of white's many forcing moves was best.

In the game line, 21...g6 seems to give black some chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is a bishop and a pawn down.

Black threatens Bc5, Bxb4, Bd5 and gxf6.

White has fxg7 and Nxe4. In the case of 21.fxg7 Bxg7 22.Qxe4 (22.Nxe4 O-O 23.Nf6+ Bxf6 24.Rxf6 Qa7 seems to hold):

A) 22... O-O 23.Qxh7#.

B) 22... Nc6 23.Rc4 Qb6+ 24.Kh1, with pressure on the whole board, looks good for White.

C) 22... h6 23.Nxf7 Rxf7 24.Qxe6+ Re7 (24... Kf8 25.Rxf7+ Qxf7 26.Rxb8+ Qe8 27.Rxe8#) 25.Bh5+ Kd8 26.Rxb8+ Qxb8 27.Rd1+ Kc7 28.Qxe7+ wins.

Jun-20-19  malt: Have 21.N:e4 B:b4
(21...g6 22.Rc4 )
22.fg7 Rg8 23.Nf6+ Kd8
(23...Ke7 24.Nd5+ )
24.N:g8 looks tempting but black has ...Bc5

Doh missed 25.Nf6

Jun-20-19  mel gibson: I thought
21. f6xg7
and Stockfish did too
for about 90 seconds, then changed to the text move.

Stockfish 10:

21. Nxe4

(21. Nxe4 (♘g5xe4 ♗f8xb4 f6xg7 ♗b4-c3 ♖f1-c1 ♖h8-g8 ♖c1xc3 ♕c7-e5 ♖c3-c5 ♕e5-a1+ ♖c5-c1 ♕a1-e5 ♖c1-f1 f7-f5 ♗e2-h5+ ♔e8-d8 ♕e3-b6+ ♕e5-c7 ♕b6xe6 ♖d7xg7 ♕e6-f6+ ♖g7-e7 ♖f1-d1+ ♘b8-d7 ♕f6xf5 ♖e7xe4 ♕f5xe4 ♕c7-c5+ ♖d1-d4 ♔d8-c7 ♗h5-f3 ♖g8-b8 ♔g1-f1 ♖b8-b1+ ♕e4xb1 ♕c5xd4 ♕b1-b7+ ♔c7-d8 ♕b7xa6 ♘d7-e5 ♕a6-a8+ ♔d8-c7 ♕a8-e4 ♘e5xf3 g2xf3 ♕d4-d7 h2-h4 ♔c7-b6 ♕e4-b4+ ♔b6-a7 ♔f1-g2 ♔a7-a6 ♔g2-g3 ♕d7-g7+ ♔g3-f2 ♕g7-e5 ♕b4-c4+ ♔a6-b6 f3-f4 ♕e5-f5 ♕c4-b4+ ♔b6-c7 ♕b4-e7+ ♔c7-c6 ♔f2-e3 ♔c6-b6 ♕e7-d6+ ♔b6-b7 ♔e3-d4 ♕f5-g4 ♔d4-c3) +3.10/41 308)

score for White +3.10 depth 41

Jun-20-19  patzer2: Today's Thursday puzzle was difficult, but I still managed to find 21. Nxe4! +- (+2.58 @ 38 ply, Stockfish 10) and correctly guess White's follow-up moves moves in the game continuation.

According to the computer, White can also obtain a winning advantage with the simple 21. fxg7 Bxg7 22. Qxe4 +- (+1.95 @ 38 ply, Stockfish 10).

P.S.: So where did Black go wrong? The losing move was 17...b4?, allowing 18. Rab1 +- (+2.44 @ 35 ply, Stockfish 10) or the potentially stronger 18. Qf4! (+4.41 @ 35 ply, Stockfish 10).

Instead, Black could have secured an advantage with 17...Qb4 ∓ (-0.75 @ 30 ply, Stockfish 10).

Jun-20-19  Andrew Chapman: <According to the computer, White can also obtain a winning advantage with the simple 21. fxg7 Bxg7 22. Qxe4 +- (+1.95 @ 38 ply, Stockfish 10).>

Point of fxg7 is that white can then take the bishop without losing the exchange. A point I missed, sadly.

Jun-20-19  5hrsolver: 27...Qd8 28. Nf6
Jun-20-19  dhotts: 22....Bc3 may have saved Black, certainly better than 22...Rg8? It seems that 22...Bc3 23.Nxc3 Rg8 24.Ne4 Rxg7 and black has fighting chances.
Jun-20-19  Coriolis: Is it just me, or are the puzzles more difficult than they used to be?
Jun-20-19  dumbgai: The days when Leko played like a tactical beast.
Jun-20-19  saturn2: After <21. fxg7 Bxg7 22. Qxe4> there is also the double attack on the knight g5

<22...Qc5+> But also here white keeps an (slight?) advantage

23. Kh1 Qxg5 24. Rxb8+ Ke7.

Jun-20-19  saturn2: Strange computers evaluate the position level up to move 17. Black has wasted tempos with the queen, 3 pieces are undeveloped on the back rank and the king has not castled.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <saturn2>--Black does have an extra pawn. I've always had problems with these dynamic, unbalanced positions myself.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As <ray keene> wrote (paraphrasing) of a sharp line in the Nimzo-Indian long ago:

<One needs a ball of string and some pre-game analytical work!>

May-05-23  syracrophy: < Sep-07-04 polonius: Leko exhibiting mind-numbing tactical prowess that only the most gifted of the brilliant can execute with any regularity . Outstanding creativity .>

Totally agree

May-05-23  syracrophy: A single ♘ takes both ♖s to allow a promotion!!!
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