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Veselin Topalov vs Peter Leko
Corus Group A (2005), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 12, Jan-29
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation. Keres Defense (E32)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-02-05  aw1988: aw1988: Kh7!! should win!

<12 or so posts of intensive analysis later>


Yeah, it does!

What did I tell ya? ;)

Feb-02-05  patzer2: Even though it transposes back into <acirce>'s 42...Kh7! line, the option 42...Qh6!! seems to have independent signfificance in avoiding the complications of the line 42...Kh7! 43. Qh4!? Qg6 for Black, as pointed out by <Karlzen>.
Feb-02-05  patzer2: <aw1988> Well, actually, I have more faith in 42...Qh6!! transposing into the 42...Kh7! line, because 42...Kh71 43. Qh4!? Qg6 could make the win problematic for Black. In any event, pushing for a win was worth a try for Leko because White's chances of surviving against strong play here were, IMHO, slim to none.
Feb-02-05  aw1988: Oh. Well, then, back to the drawing board... <mournful song>
Feb-02-05  aw1988: Oh of course. Machines may be right, but it needs to be plausible for human-human games... (the best kind)
Feb-02-05  themindset: <csmath> i have trouble understanding your comments about leko in light of this very game. 30...Nf3 definitely was *not* the safe choice in this position.

30...Nf3 is a Tal-like magical sacrifice that does not yield immediate results; and is, by its very nature, intuitive and daring. I would say that Leko here proves that he has the potential to be an attacking menace of unrivaled proportions, and he has become more so with each passing year.

Feb-03-05  patzer2: <aw1988> <Oh. Well, then, back to the drawing board...> Well, yeah, that was kinda sorta my idea with 42...Qh6!! Five moves into the 42...Qh6!! line it transposes back into the main variation of the 42...Kh6!? variation, but without the problems of 42...Kh6!? 43. Qh4!? Qg6!

However, if you are patient and let the computers run for a while, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that 42...Kh6!? 43. Qh4!? Qg6! 44. Kh2 Bb3!! (a delightful surprise deflection) offers Black excellent winning chances (Fritz 8 @ 15 depth has the line at -1.50 for a Black win, but I haven't explored it in any depth yet), and <Karlzen> indicates this line (with 43...Qg6) holds some promise for Black.

Feb-03-05  aw1988: See, I haven't even looked at this game very much, so i'm unlikely to have anything helpful to contribute. Perhaps I will look at the Bb3 line, although I will be at a festivity all day so you will probably beat me to it.
Feb-03-05  patzer2: <aw1988> Enjoy. I'm getting ready for a trip to visit with my daughter and son-in-law in Florida. They live near the Beach and get a lot of visitors.
Feb-03-05  patzer2: I think 42...Kh7!! 43.Qh4!? Qg6! 44.Kh2 Bb3! 45.Nxf3 Bxd1 46.Bxe2 Bxe2 47.Ng5+ Kg8 48.Bxb6 Bxb5 49.Qf4 Nd7 50.Be3 Qc2+ –+ should be decisive enough for Black.
Feb-03-05  acirce: <themindset><30...Nf3 definitely was *not* the safe choice in this position.>

I don't agree. Without it, Black is just much worse and would probably have ended up losing. On the other hand, Leko afterwards said "when I launched the knight on f3 I knew I was safe". And I believe he saw deeper into the position than any of us patzers here did during the live relay. :)


<karlzen><patzer2> After 37..h6! 38.Qd4 Fritz instead suggests 38..bxa5! as winning. Threatens for example 39..Qg5 40.Rd1 a4! 41.h4 (41.Qh4 Rxd2! 42.Qxg5 Rxd1! is neat as well) Qg4 42.Qxa7 Qf4 43.Qd4 Qxd4 44.Bxd4 Ng4 45.Kg1 f2+ 46.Bxf2 Rxf2

The only real defense is 39.h4 whereupon the computer suggests 39..h5 as best. This is a position where White is in such a terrible bind that he can hardly move. Black doesn't even threaten an immediate lethal blow (for example 40..Ng4? 41.Bxe2 fxe2+ 42.Qxd5 Nxf2+ 43.Kh2 Nd3 44.Rc8+ Kh7 45.Nf3 and White has survived) but can slowly prepare one. Still, even with White to move, there are very few alternatives - after 40.Rc8+ Kh7 he has nothing better than to return with 41.Rc1, but *now* 41..Ng4 is decisive since White has already used up his rook check! 42.Bxe2 fxe2+ 43.Qxd5 Nxf2+ 44.Kh2 Nd3

Note that moving the rook along the c-file, for example, 40.Rc5, allows 40..Re1! All such details go to show that White is so out of moves that there is no shock at all that Black is winning.

40.Bh3 is also met by 40..Ng4 and if 41.Bxg4 Qxg4! 42.Qxg4 hxg4 winning thanks to the fork.

Feb-04-05  Milo: Best game of Corus '05?
Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: <Milo> It's what I've been saying.
Feb-04-05  patzer2: <acirce> Congratulations on another great find in 37...h6!! 38.Qd4 bxa5! 39. h4 h5 . Obviously I didn't let Fritz run to 20 depth on the early TWIC recommendation of 37...h6!! 38.Qd4 Nh5?! (recommended by the players in post game analysis), which apparently only draws.

I think I was too influenced by the "expert" published analysis, and failed to question the premise that the 37...h6!! 38.Qd4 Nh5?! line was best.

Having looked long and hard at the 42...Kh7!! variation, and witnessed Fritz go crazy finding winning lines after 37...h6!! 38.Qd4 bxa5! 39. h4 h5! (plus looked at the position and got a feel for it myself without the computer), it is clearly obvious to me now that this analysis proves the 37...h6!! line would have won for Leko. The line simply improves over the 42...Kh7!! line, holds the position and puts White in a terrible Zugzwang-like bind. Beautiful concept!

The subtlety, complexity and beauty of this game is ever fascinating, especially when one of the world's best players can miss two wins (37...h6!! and 42...Kh7!!) and concede a draw in a won position!

Feb-04-05  karlzen: I believe it is time to look for earlier improvements of white's play. 35.Nd2 seems much to passive and 35.axb6 axb6 36.Re1 looks pretty good for white actually. It's probably a draw but I'd rather be white, I think.
Feb-04-05  aw1988: <especially when one of the world's best players can miss two wins (37...h6!! and 42...Kh7!!) and concede a draw in a won position!> Indeed: if it takes Fritz 3 days of analysis to finally make everything clear (perhaps not 3 days, but just look at the thickness of the above posts) obviously no one is able to find it. In fact, if Leko had in fact played Kh7!! or h6!! he probably would not be able to find the win after that, even having the right idea and making the correct first move.

Normal sacrificial-type positions like this are a grand headache for analysts because it is not a typical Tal game- say- vs Aronin (Tal's immortal draw), there everything was tidily arranged you could say, among the masses of complications.

What we have here, I believe even Tal would be unable to defeat his opponent (of course it all depends on the opponent!) since two of these '!!' moves require amazing subtlety. Not only that, we have a rook on e2 constantly under attack, or rather, en prise for many moves, a wide open king which could be mated but it cannot immediately, but black's forces too, are for now stuck. No, this is not Tal-like chess. This is not... this is not Spassky-like, either. This is diverse. It holds the nature of Bronstein-Tal chess. And whilst this is in itself rare, when you get these particular subtleties, even a player of Leko's strength, one of the top in the world, cannot hope to get it right.

Even after looking at the position for half an hour, not necessarily for analyzing, I cannot see the points of h6 and Kh7, (Qh6 is clearer) so in order to do that I would need to look at all posted lines, and make sense of all the Bronstein moves, and make numerous additions myself, since I am far from grandmaster level...

This, of course, merely supports my understanding that Leko could not hope for this. I guess the old saying is true, computers are here to help us.

Feb-04-05  aw1988: I just had a thought, quite an interesting one: an 'enthusiastic' (ie quite a knowledgeable player but is prone to beginnerish tendancies) player can win this position vs the great Bulgarian, but not Leko! I believe at the level they are playing at, because of the more risky conceptions the beginner thinks about, as compared to Leko, where just knowing some advanced Steinitz rules and such will vastly improve the play, in the given instance, this does not work! If I were playing this, I might play Qh6!! carefully, and win, and be very proud of beating the world number... 6?

Nevertheless, it is a rare instance, and in the majority of cases these players would crush most of us. But here, Leko did not even think of it, since he relies very much on classical rules as well, being a tactician when it demands. Yet, behold the diversity of this game!

Feb-04-05  aw1988: To be honest actually, I only would play Qh6 due to studying Nimzowitsch.
Feb-04-05  patzer2: <aw1988> Take a look at 37...h6!! and 42...Kh7!! and try playing it out with your computer (feel free to take all the "take back's" you need). You might be surprised at how intuiitive and uncomplicated the ideas are once you get through the first five moves or so of the main variations. Much of the "thickness of the variations" involves my "overkill" in trying to make obvious wins clear. Remember the main idea, as pointed out by <acirce> is that Black is establishing a solid position and waiting for White to move and weaken his position before making a few exchanges and pushing the Kingside passed pawns to victory. Once you understand the concept, the details become a bit less complicated.

I'm sure <acirce> or <Karlzen> could now win given those positions, and I feel pretty confident myself. That's one reason <Karlzen> and other strong players are already looking for earlier improvements in this game. Playing it out against a computer should be instructive -- a great lesson in strategy, planning and tactics.

Feb-04-05  aw1988: <patzer2> And a great lesson in reminding you of being a patzer! :)

Of course you would feel confident, because you consulted the computer. Did you try figuring it out yourself?

Feb-04-05  aw1988: And without acirce's suggestion?
Feb-04-05  patzer2: <aw1988> This position is tough for any human! <Did you try figuring it out yourself?> Actually, I let Fritz defend the White side and then tried to beat it.

Also, after all this time of looking at Fritz 8's evaluations, I'm starting to get a good feel of when Fritz is off on a less-than-best variation. So, quite often, I'll force Fritz 8 into another variation, or will more often than not guess which move or variation Fritz will finally settle on as best after it has a much longer time to go into about 19 depth. Altogether, it's not a bad way to study Chess.

Feb-04-05  aw1988: No, definitely not bad. My point is, the position was so complicated even Leko couldn't figure it out. Remember they don't have Fritz.
Mar-09-06  Mongolia: What a complicated position!
Mar-09-06  whatthefat: <patzer2>
Your description of analysis with Fritz is surprisingly close to my own method! And you genuinely do get a feel for how scores will tend to evolve in a given position.
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