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Garry Kasparov vs Peter Leko
"Merry Springer" (game of the day Jun-17-2008)
Linares (2001), Linares ESP, rd 6, Mar-01
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  1-0



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Given 37 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-17-08  saintstephen11: <kinseadm: why did Leko resign?>

Leko is about to lose his white bishop which is the only thing preventing Qd5 (threatening mate on g8). For Leko to prevent mate he also needs to sacrifice his black bishop and will down material. He had no chance at this point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White's last five moves were with a springer---A kind and loyal dog.
Jun-17-08  vuchamchi: What happen if 22...dc5 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <kinseadm> In the final position, 31. ... hxg5 allows 32. Qh5#. So black has to play 31. ... Kh8 32. Nxe4 fe 33 Qd6 threatening 34. Qg8#.

Black can defend by sacrificing the Bf8 with 33. ... Bxd6 34. Qxd6. Or he can walk his king into danger with 33. ... Kh7 34. Qg8+ Kg6 35. Bd5. White then threatens both a murderous king hunt, which black will not survive.

Jun-17-08  TheBB: <notyetagm> <... winning the Black a4-queen.>

The justification for this line does not (merely) lie in the fact that the black queen falls. Material is in fact even, after you've tossed away a pawn, a rook and a bishop for it.

Instead, a glance at the position reveals a black pawn army scattered like nothing else:

click for larger view

Jun-17-08  zb2cr: Hi <TheBB>,

following on to your previous comment, it's not just the hideous state of Black's Pawn structure after Black's 24th in the variation--at least one Black Pawn is going away after 25. Nc4.

The way I see it, if Black retreats 25. ... Bc7; 26. Qh5+, Kf8; 27. Nxe5, Bxe5; 28. Rxe5, Rxe5; 29. Qxe5 and now the Black Pawn structure works against him as you pointed out.

Trying to defend by 25. ... Re6 or 25. ... Rd8 is clearly even worse.

Jun-17-08  Mostolesdude: Leko puts his queen on b6 as in 15...Qb6 and then Kasparov starts a brilliant sequence of moves that ultimately win the game. The combination of moves starting with 17. Nd5, 21. c5, etc almost seem to me like a force mate or a force win for kasparov. I haven't seen a combination of moves as deep as this one in a long time. I would give 3 !!! to the last five moves made by white. White makes 5 consecutive KNIGHT moves at the end that attack many of black pieces (including the queen) and ultimately destroy the king. Simply Amazing.
Jun-17-08  micartouse: Kasparov said in OMGP II that the whole anti-Marshall idea with 8. a4, 9. d3, 10. Nbd2 was Geller's idea given to him during the time of the championship match with Nigel Short. A fearsome game!
Jun-17-08  capatal: Kasparov's elegant knight moves create 'Sunshine Chess'!
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Well I do like the move 21. c5! However, I don't see it as a deep combination, so much as it is an excellent example of the use of a tactical threat to obtain a positional advantage. Kasparov, like Fischer before him, was absolutely brilliant in his ability to use tactical threats to secure superior positions.

The pawn decoy 21. c5! is of course poison, as 21...dxc5? 22. d6! Bxd6 23. Bxf7+ Kxf7 24. Rxa4 wins the Queen via a discovered attack with check.

Relatively better for Leko was 21...Qh5 22. c6! Bc8 23. Qe2 . While 21...Qh5 concedes a significant positional advantage, due to the threat of the c-pawn's advance, it does offer Black a chance to organize a defense and fight for the draw. Of course I'm not a GM, and Leko's decision to go down fighting with a speculative counter attack rather than passively defend an inferior position may have been his best option.

So, rather than meekly give up this positional advantage and go into a defensive posture, Leko decides to fight for counterplay with 21...Qb4?! However, Kasparov's reply 22. Ne4!, which threatens to win the Queen with 23. c3 , proves Leko's defense to be insufficient.

While Leko is occupied with trying to save his Queen, Kasparov turns his attention to the weak castled King side position and the advance of his central pawns. By the time Leko can free his Queen, Kasparov's dancing Knight and advancing pawns have left him facing a decisive attack on his weak King position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Kasparov's mastery of Knight play to secure a dominating attacking position is instructive. After tying up Leko's queen with 22. Ne4!, he begins the advance of his central pawns with the maneuver 23. cxd6! Bf8 24. c3! f5 25. d7 Red8 26. d6+ Kh8 which threaten the exposed Queen as well as the weak King's castled position. In addition, the two White pawns on d6 and d7, prevent Black from organizing his pieces for effective attack or defense.

Once this objective is accomplished, Kasparov steps into stage two of his plan with the decisive Knight maneuvers 27. Nc5!, 28. Nd3, 29. Nxe5, 30. Nf7+ and 31. Ng5+! to absolutely dominate the position and leave himself with a decisive attack against the weak Black King position.

P.S.: One could argue Kasparov's 22. Ne4!! actually initiates an attack against the Black King by setting up and enabling the follow-up moves described above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: In the final position, Leko resigns due to such possibilities as 31...Kh8 [31... Kg6 32. Nxe4 fxe4 33. Bd5 Ra7 (33... Kh7 34. Bxa8 Rxa8 35. Rc1 Qa5 36. Rc8 ) 34. Bxe4+ Kf6 35. Qh5 ] 32. Nxe4 fxe4 33. Qd5 Kh7 34. Qg8+ Kg6 35. Bf7+ Kf6 36. Be8 Ke5 37. Qxf8 .

Dec-08-08  Techuva: Can somebody explain me why after 16 Nd2 black cannot play d4? Thank you!
Dec-08-08  Alphastar: <Techuva> I presume you mean 16. ..d5. Black cannot play this because the e5-pawn will have lost its protection. White might play 17. Bxe5 or 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Bxd5 19. Bxe5.
Dec-08-08  sneaky pete: Good question! In this position I sure would have tried 16... d6-d4 against Harry, lighting a cigarette (to distract the attention, it's a criminal offence these days, I believe) and looking as innocent as a new born baby.
Jun-23-09  aazqua: Oh slap. This Kasparov fellow is just so good.
Apr-17-10  James Bowman: Time, space & lines truly a hallmark of Garry's game, his link to the legends of a bygone era become more appearant to me with every game I see. No doubt he understood what most of his contemporaries never truly had. His tactics are muliti dimensional and his mastery of tempi sets him apart in todays game. I lumped him in with the Nimzovitch cronies with out due consideration sorry. Another great game for the record. Who else could force a top ten player to make so many concessions. I wish I would have studied Kasparov sooner ;o]
Apr-17-10  kingsindian2006: 2850 type of butt kicking here, legend this guy is
Apr-18-10  A Karpov Fan: I like Leko, but he got way too close to the Championship for his chess strength imo.
Dec-03-10  sevenseaman: Kasparov's N is irrepressible and he plays it like a puppeteer - its antics deciding the game!
Oct-23-11  DrMAL: Thanx <KKDEREK> for pointing out famous game. Opening followed less traveled 8.a4 line of closed Ruy (8.c3 more common) 10.Nbd2 instead of 10.Nc3 tends to be sharper depending on which of several responses black plays (Opening Explorer). For example, 10...Nd7 alternative to most common 10...Na5 was played in WC crush Kasparov vs Short, 1993 both are sharp whereas quieter 10...Qd7 debuted in important Svidler vs Adams, 2001 draw. Here are starting lines from computer for various option, ideas vary of course but it is useful reference.

Houdini_20_x64: 29/69 5:02:25 185,277,926,704
-0.12 10. ... Qd7 11.Qe2 Rfc8 12.h3 h6 13.c3
-0.16 10. ... Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nf1 Bc8 13.Bg5
-0.16 10. ... Nb8 11.axb5 axb5 12.Rxa8 Bxa8 13.Nf1
-0.21 10. ... Nd7 11.c3 Na5 12.Bc2 c5 13.Nf1
-0.21 10. ... Nd4 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Nf3 c5 13.Qe2
-0.27 10. ... b4 11.a5 Bc8 12.Nc4 Rb8 13.Ba4

Leko's 12...Re8 departure from 12...Bc8 in line (12...b4 computes as best on move 12) had tiny impact in Kasparov's favor it was probably best to push 12...b4 (main move) but 12...Re8 was novelty, tried also in Kasparov vs E Vladimirov, 2001 slaughter.

Kasparov has reputation for opening preparation, his insight and play often defined new theory and response 13.Ne3! also did so here. In 2011 Houdini computes it as strongest as well. Rest of game has more example of how Kasparov simply outclassed Leko. Next is after 20.dxc4 taking pawn back 20...Qxa4?! was dubious giving Kasparov solid advantage. Here is computer eval.

Houdini_20_x64: 31/83 2:42:39 99,745,215,437
+0.70 21.c5 Qd4 22.c6 Bc8 23.c3 Qb6

Kasparov played 21.c5! and Leko stumbled again with 21...Qb4?!

Houdini_20_x64: 30/71 1:05:07 42,128,516,693
+1.58 22.Ne4 Rad8 23.Bb3 Qd4 24.Qg4 Bc8

After 22.Ne4! Leko played 22...Qxb2?! oblivious to now decisive attack, and Kasparov again played best 23.cxd6! start of crush.

In Pillsbury vs Tarrasch, 1895 someone wanted example where N is stronger than B Kasparov's gorgeous finish here might suffice!

Oct-23-11  kasparvez: What a game! Garry at his crystalline best! With every Knight move starting from 27. Nc5, white is posing new threats, revealing ever new combinations; here threatening the Queen and there threatening the Rook etc. Funnily, during the whole course of these moves, the Knight doesn't deliver a single punch in favor of a material exchange. But at the end, when it offers itself with 31. Ng5+, it's a knock out!!
Nov-28-11  indoknight: another Kasparov game when he use the knight with brilliant combination! Huebner vs Kasparov, 1986
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This was Leko's only decisive result at Linares 2001 which was a 6 player double round robin. He finished ina 5 way tie for 2nd a full 3 points behind Kasparov. With 8 a4 Kasparov avoided the Marshall Gambit - a line he has consistently avoided throughout his career. Perhaps better than Leko's 16..Nc6?! would have been 16..Rec8 17 Bxa5..Qxa5 18 axb..axb 19 dxc..b4 with compensation for the pawn. Leko was angry with himself for playing 20..Qxa4?; he had originally intended 20..b4 and could not really explain his decision not to play it. After the further error 21..Qb4? Black was lost; better was 21..Qd4 (21..dxc 22 d6! costs Black material) 22 c6..Bc8 23 c3..Qb6 24 Qh5 when White is better but Black is still in thre game. Similarly 22..dxc? would have lost to 23 c3..Qxb2 24 Re2..Qa3 25 d6. Black resigned due to 31..Kg6 32 Bf7+..Kf6 33 Qh5..hxg 34 Qg6+..Ke5 35 Rxe4+..Kxe4 36 Qe6+..Kd3 37 Qd5+.
Sep-17-17  Arconax: <plang: With 8 a4 Kasparov avoided the Marshall Gambit - a line he has consistently avoided throughout his career.>

And wisely so.

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