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Alexander Khalifman vs Peter Leko
Linares (2000), Linares ESP, rd 8, Mar-08
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Modern Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-09-09  Andrijadj: No kibitzing for this game???
Jan-28-12  holy tramp: El Khalif gets no respect yet many of his games are so inventive and fun to study. I'll post more on him, some favorite games of his, and this great game in particular shortly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: A few weeks before Linares Khalifman had lost a match to Leko 4.5-1.5 so this win must have provided some consolation. In Kramnik-Kasparov Linares 1998 White had played 22 Re1 and the game was drawn a few moves later. If White wants to play for a win then the pawn sacrifice 23 Ba4 is necessary as 23 f4..axb 24 fxe..Qa6 25 Rc7..Qa5 26 Rb7..Qa6 is equal. A short time before this game Black tried 24..Nh4+ in Haba-Skytte Cappelle la Grande 2000 but lost quickly; the whole line where White is allowed to advance the d-pawn to d7 looks suspect for Black.

In his preparation for te game Khalifman had reviewed some of his old analysis scribbled on some notebooks from 1984-9. He had not spent much time on Lekos 25..Qc4?! because he assumed after 26 Qd4!, virtually forcing the queen exchange, that the endgame was technically won for White. Most of his notes had looked instead at 25..Qa3 and 25..Bg7 where Black aims for a kingside attack to compensate for the advanced d-pawn. Khalifman spent half an hour to find 28 Bc6! depriving Black of counterplay. The mass exchanges ending with 32 Be7 left Black one tempo late; 32..f6 33 Rc1..Kf7 34 Rxc7..Kxe7 35 Rc8 and 32..Bd8 33 Rc1..Bxe7 34 Rc8 both win at once. The immediate 33 Bxd8..Bxd8 34 Kf3..Kf8 35 Ke2..Ke7 36 Rd1..g5 would have seriously damaged Whites winning chances. Again, the obvious 38 Ra7..Kd6 39 Kg3..h5 40 Kf4..Bf6 would not be that easy to convert to a win. 39..Bxh2 40 Rxe6+ would not have helped Black.

This was Lekos first loss in 60 games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <plang> Bit surprising that Khalifman, a strong, solid grandmaster, should finish minus-three vs anyone in six games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Yup, match was one-sided but he bounced back and played solidly at Linares finishing tied with Anand, Leko and Shirov at -1 behind the co-winners Kasparov and Kramnik (both +2)

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