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Peter Leko vs Garry Kasparov
Linares (2005), Linares ESP, rd 1, Feb-23
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-24-05  AdrianP: <IMlday> I don't know whether Garry comes out badly with the implied comparison to Fischer - at least, Garry might leave the board a bit early but at least he still gets there!
Feb-24-05  euripides: I think Kasparov in his prime would probably have played on as well. However, sometimes players agree draws not because they have no winning chances but because they are very relieved to have escaped the opponent's threats and don't have the nervous energy to play on. Kasparov did this in a clearly winning position in one of the games in his 1993 match against Short. Possibly Kasparov had been worried about something nasty down the h file and was so relieved when Leko played Rhd2 that he thought he should call a halt there. I must admit, though, the h file seems well enough guarded by Rf7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I still like the idea of the sac of exchange in the 17th move. 17.Rxh4!? Qxh4 18.Qb4 attacking Bb7 and Pd6 leaves black in considerable troubles. For example, 18...Rb8 19.Qxd6 Qd8 (19...Qe7 20.Qc7 0-0 21.Nb6 Rfd8 22.Bf4! e5 23.Nf5 Qc5 24.Rxd7! Qxc7 25.Rxc7 exf4 26.Nxc4 Ba8 27.Ncd6 is quite convincing, 20...Qd8 21.Nxe6! Qxc7 22.Nxc7+ Ke7 23.Nc5 Nxc5 24.Bxc5+ looks also very well for white.) 20.Nf5! (It opens d-file and the line for the Bishop with a tempo.) 20...exf5 (what else?) 21.Nc5 Bc8 (21...Nxc5 is not good for 22.Qe5+) 22.Nxd7 Rb5 (it is necessary to cover a threat Qe5+) 23.Bc5! etc.
Feb-24-05  swapov: Chess is a draw. But at the local club we would have played on.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Honza Cervenka> What do you see for White after 17.Rxh4!? Qxh4 18.Qb4 Ba8!?

After 19. Qxd6 Qe7 20. Qxa6 0-0, Black seems to maintain at least a slight advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <patzer2> 18...Ba8 is a possible alternative but I don't think (of course, I can be wrong) that after 19.Qxd6 Qe7 20.Qxa6 0-0 21.Qa7 Rcd8 22.Nb6 black has any advantage. Line 22...c3 23.Nb3 cxb2+ 24.Kxb2 Qf6+ 25.Bd4 Qxf3 26.Rd3 Qxe4 27.Nxd7 looks okay for white who can force a draw (27...Rfe8 28.Ne5 Rf8 29.Nd7 etc.) or try to play that for win.
Feb-26-05  artemis: My opinion on this game was requested on another page, so I hope it proves enlightening, and if anyone has the time to read it, please tell me how coherent and correct it is, since I would love to be able to learn where my analysis is wrong. Leko,Peter - Kasparov,Garry
Linares 2005
<1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3> This move signals the english attack, where white will plan to castle long and place his bishop on e3 and his queen on d2. Then white plans to storm the kingside with his pawns. Black gets good play in this system where the d6,e6, and f7 pawns act as a nearly impenetrable shield. <6...e6 7.Be3 b5> This move is necessary. Any other response tends to leave black lagging in development. What is interesting here is that Kasparov's preferred line in the scheveningen, playing a6 like the najdorf before playing e6, is completely sound and does not miss a beat. It also avoids the Keres attack and invites white to play the najdorf, where Kasparov's opening knowledge should give him an edge over any opponent. <8.Qd2 Nbd7> Also an important move. The knight comes here quickly. Kasparov has many ideas in the sicilians, and here he shows one that I have not seen at all before on his next move. By playing the knight here, black allows the rook to move to b8, where it must be if white plays a3 to slow the pawn advance. <9.g4> normally white castles here, but the move order does not appear to be of particular value, as black can still play many different things. <9...Nb6> This is new to me. I normally play h6 here to slow the advance, and this is main line. Apparently Leko was not fazed by this move. The idea behind this move is to attack the dark square combination of the queen and bishop. White's response is clever, and shows that Leko was quite comfortable handling this move.
Feb-26-05  artemis: <10.a4> This move is excellent, forcing black to immediately play the knight to c4, so that after the exchange on c4, the c file is closed by one of black's own pawns. It also prepares an outpost on b6, which can be reached by a knight via a4. <10...Nc4> virtually forced. Any other moves are not following the basic theme of Kasparov's opening choice, as he has decided to play for the two bishops, understanding that one will necessarily be bad (the f8 bishop). <11.Bxc4> Also virtually forced, or else the exchange on e3 would leave white crippled in his defense of the dark squares. <11...bxc4 12.a5> Laying claim to b6. These moves are still being played very quickly, so both players are obviously still in their preparation. <12...Bb7> Kasparov brings the bishop to the long diagonal, where it can, and will, be most effective. In addition, after the knight goes to a4, there are many possibilities of sacrificing it on e4 to give the f6 knight an excellent outpost on e4. <13.Na4> giving up the defense of the e pawn to go after b6. this is usually played in this line, as the Bxe4 sacrifices are unclear and white generally welcomes them. Black's next move took Leko by complete surprise. <13...Rc8> Basically, he realizes that he can stunt the maneuverability of the white pieces by utilizing his pawn on c4. White has no way around the pawn and black is starting to utilize his advantages on the light squares. <14.Qc3> And now Leko pulls Kasparov out of his preparation. He spent about an hour thinking about this move, and Kasparov thought for about the same amount of time concerning his next move. 14. Nb6 would fall to the diabolical ... c3! by black, forcing the weakening of the white queenside pawn structure, and reopening the c file. White's king would have no safe haven, and any sacrifices in the center of the board would likely result in a win for black. <14...Nd7> This move was a great anti-climax after Kasparov's long think. Many where expecting the exciting 14. ... Bxe4 15. fxe4 Nxe4 16. Qb4 Qh4+ 17. Kd1 Qxg4+ where Black gains three pawns for the piece, plus an awesome attack against the open king. As far as I know, this is playable and I see no definite refutation to for white. Refusing the sacrifice seems to leave black with awesome chances against the open white king and a pawn up. Kasparov's line is most definitely solid, and may be based on his decision to push the game further into a sicilian like position before the tactical brawl, where his vast experience can give him a greater edge. The knight on d7 provides a response to the eventual Nb6 and leaves the possibilities of playing the knight to e5 as an option. Also the bishop can come to f6 now. Note: if you wanted to get the bishop onto the long diagonal via a fionchetto, then white plays 15. g5 Nd7 16. Nxe6, fxe6 17. Qxh8
Feb-26-05  artemis: <15.0–0–0> Now white connects his rooks, and gets his king safe before Kasparov pulls any of his tactics in the center. If this is not played, then the bishop could still sac on e4, after which Qh4+, Qxg4, and Qxe4 are all playable and virtually unstoppable, leaving the white king in the center of the board, and with disorganized forces. <15...Be7> This is Kasparov's attempt to bring his bishop into play and, temporarily, quiet the position and build tension in the center. <16.h4> Planning to dominate g5 and f6. Black has a difficult choice now, for to take the pawn would open the h file, and allow a potentially devastating attack. but playing h6 would seem to do the same thing. h5 would open the g file for white, and probably force the rook to move and keep black from castling. <16...Bxh4> This was played immediately. Kasparov decides to destroy the advancing pawn, gaining a slight material edge. Of infinitely greater importance is that he remains in firm control of the g5 square. On the down side, the h file is open, and white could get something going there and on the d file. <17.Ne2> This is a multi-purpose move. First the knight is moving away from the rook’s line of vision, making the d6 pawn a liability. The knight is also covering two very important squares from here, d4 and most importantly f4. It is also opening up the queen's attack on the g7 pawn. While fritz likes Bg5 here, this is simply the computer being dumb. Black would hold little advantage in that line, and would have few attacking prospects on the dark squares. <17...Bf6> Excellent. Kasparov places his bishop on the long diagonal. This is really forcing Leko to play the line he does, as one leads to a disadvantageous endgame, (after Qb4, Qc7, Nb6 Nxb6, Qxb6 Qxb6, and axb6 or Bxb6, where white has the two bihsops if there was not a queen trade, then I think that black would be able to keep the pressure up by playing Qc6 and pushing on c3) and the others hand black a large initiative. <18.Bd4> Threatening to reduce the black bishop pair, and keeping the pawn off of c3, where it would force some sort of exchange and would open up the c file for black's attack. I saw black's response immediately, but I think that kasparov was probably searching for the complications after Bxd4 Qxd4 and Qxa5. These lines, are very tactical and took Kasparov a good 30 minutes to consider. When he played his next move, he had about eighteen minutes left and leko had about twenty-eight. <18...e5> This is the typical pawn structure of a normal najdorf sicilian, save the pawn on c4 (usually on b5). The hole on d6 is obvious, but since white lacks a light squared bishop, there seems to be little immediate pressure on this square. also, the knights have great difficulty in reaching this square, as Kasparov would play c3 if the queen vacates the square. Since White cannot take advantage of d5, black must be better here. Also, notice how the f pawn advance is stopped dead in its tracks, and the bishop is controlling the g5 square. The pawn advance is completely stopped. Black must be better.
Feb-26-05  artemis: <19.Be3> This must be the correct move, as the bishop is contesting g5 and supporting a potential f4 pawn advance. In addition, it is not entirely wasting time, since Black must now retreat to hold a tangible advantage. <19...Be7> Again, Fritz wanted Bg5 and the trade of the dark squared bishops. As long as these monsters remain on the board, black holds a serious edge, since the kingside pawn structure is weak due to the b7 bishop in the endgame, and the holes are monitored by the e7 bishop in the middle game. <20.Kb1> This move is at first very strange, but the king is leaving the dark squares and is getting off of the c file. I see no way for white to avoid the c3 pawn advance, if the game were to continue, and this blunts any chances black has on the a file. <20...Qc7> The queen really belongs on this file. It also takes the queen off of the same file as the white rook, a real advantage in these games. <21.Nb6> Seeing that this move will gain time and prove to be uncomfortable for black's attack. In addition to that, The exchange of a knight on the rim for the black knight on d7 is good for white, since the knight in the center could look to f6, protect e5, or go to c5. <21...Nxb6> moving the rook out of the way is simply out of the question. Black needs to get this meddlesome knight out of his position as quickly as possible. <22.axb6> not Bxb6, which does not prove to be as limiting since it needs to be back on e3 to control the dark squares on the kingside. By taking with the pawn, white is limiting the squares that black can attack from and is gaining a passed pawn, although black could take it at the cost of many moves. <22...Qd7> keeping the queen on the seventh rank, to defend h7 (see final position). This also puts the queen on the light squares, which could be useful since it controls c6, b5, a4, e6, f5, g4, h3. The detrimental aspect of this queen move is that the queen is once again on the same file as the black rook, which allows <23.Rh5> utilizing the pin on d6 and preparing to double rooks on any file he wants to. <23...f6> A very important move. black is just now looking to castle and slowly build up a counterattack and this move allows black to control d5 still. Also, white gains from this move, since it is weakening the kingside, and it is allowing white to ignore threats on g5. <24.Ng3> This move kind of forces Kasparov to play g6, since the knight should not be allowed to reach f5. White is slowly forcing black to play weakening moves on his kingside, but I think that kasparov is willing to do that. <g6> protecting f5 and attacking h5. Kasparov has decided to refionchetto his bishop and perhaps activate it with an eventual f6-f5, which would be fascinating. While this move weakens his king, his attack would probably be more than worth the weakening. <25.Rh2> allowing maximum flexibility for the rooks. Now he can double his rooks on two different files, which is very important, since it is not clear where his best chances are going to be. <25...0–0> pulling the king over to the corner, before counter attacking in the center and the queenside. Also, this move allows him to connect rooks, although I think that if the game had continued, this rook would have ended up on f7 to support h7 and allow for doubled rooks on the f file to support the f5 break. If the queen moved, then both could be on the c file, which would also be useful. <26.Rhd2> stifling any ideas of a d5 pawn advance. With little time left, and a very unclear position, they agreed on a draw. ½–½
Feb-26-05  artemis: And that is my whole explanation of the game. Again if anyone has any time to look through this explanation I would be most grateful if you could suggest some corrections, or just flat out tell me where I am wrong, (hopefully this is not the case too often). I hope this is helpful for anyone who missed any of my insights, and if not, sorry for taking up so much space.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Honza Cervenka> Thanks for the great lesson in attacking tactics Honza! Just filling in the branches left out as obvious I find a great homework.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Gypsy> I concur. Being able to query and review all of <Honza Cervenka>'s outstanding posts is alone worth the price of a paid membership on this site. Much can be learned about attacking positional chess from his posts.
Jun-17-06  spirit: <csmath> GAZZA?...cowardice?...thats something
Aug-27-06  Bufon: There was so much left to play...
Feb-16-07  Tacticstudent: <Artemis> comments for this game are excellent. Well done for this great work!
Mar-16-11  Hesam7: Kasparov missed a big chance to seize the initiative and get a big advantage with 25. ... Qb5! with the idea of playing d5-Bb4 trapping the White queen. Here is a sample line:

26. Bf2 Rd8! 27. Rhh1 d5 28. exd5 Rxd5 29. Rxd5 Bxd5 30. Rd1 O-O 31. Ne4 Rd8

click for larger view

Mar-16-11  fab4: @<Hesam7>

Yes it looks good.And 25..Qb5 looks such a natural move to play! One can only assume GK did'nt fancy a fight that day, because there's still plenty of play left in the position without 25..Qb5

Possibly in your sample line 26.Bg1 is better, allowing the rook on h2 to swing over quickly to the d file.

Mar-17-11  Hesam7: <fab4: Yes it looks good.And 25..Qb5 looks such a natural move to play! One can only assume GK did'nt fancy a fight that day, because there's still plenty of play left in the position without 25..Qb5

Possibly in your sample line 26.Bg1 is better, allowing the rook on h2 to swing over quickly to the d file.>

Couple of points:

After 25. ... O-O? Leko also missed his chance: 26. Ne2! Qb5 27. Qd2 and White has the advantage: 27. ... d5? 28. Nc3! or similarly 27. ... Rf7 28. Nc3! But Leko played played 26. Rhd2? after which 26. ... Qb5! was still very strong: 27. Ne2 Rf7 28. Rxd6 a5! 29. Qe1 Bxd6 30. Bxd6 Qb4 and now 31. Qxb4 axb4 just looks lost for White so he has to contemplate moves like 31. Qd1 or 31. Rd2 ...

After 25. ... Qb5! 26. Bg1 O-O then 27. Rhd2? just loses to 27. ... d5! 28. Rxd5 Bxd5 29. Rxd5 Qc6. The best move seems to be: 27. Ne2 d5 28. exd5 Rcd8 after which White's pieces look uncoordinated and his king is weak.

Mar-17-11  fab4: <Hesam7>

Re Bg1 I did'nt mean an immediate Rd2, as ofcourse it just adds sting to d5 with threat of Bb4 ect..But yes, after 27.Ne2 Black is comfortably better I agree. 27.Nf1/e3 is too slow after d5.

Yes Leko missed 26.Ne2. After 26.Rhd2 Qb5 27.Ne2 why not an immediate 27..d5 tho? (instead of your 27..Rf7.) 28.Rd5 Bd5 29.Rd5 Bb4 30.Rb5 Bc3 31.Rd5 Bb4 looks winning for black.

Mar-19-11  fab4: <Hesam7>

I like and respect your insights.. but you've gone a bit quiet on this one ..

I'm getting used to this site now.. people/posters only come back when they think they know better. lol

Apr-09-11  Hesam7: <fab4: Yes Leko missed 26.Ne2. After 26.Rhd2 Qb5 27.Ne2 why not an immediate 27..d5 tho? (instead of your 27..Rf7.) 28.Rd5 Bd5 29.Rd5 Bb4 30.Rb5 Bc3 31.Rd5 Bb4 looks winning for black.>

I think your suggestion (27. ... d5) is better than mine (27. ... Rf7). I guess the reason is that Black's dark squared bishop is more valuable than his light squared one. After 26. Rhd2 Qb5 27. Ne2 d5! 28. Rxd5 Bxd5 29. Rxd5 Bb4 30. Rxb5 Bxc3 31. Rd5 Bb4:

click for larger view

Stockfish gives -1.21 @ depth 31.

Apr-09-11  fab4: <Hesam7> Respects for getting back to me.. I trust you don't use 'stockfish' ect.. in formulating your ideas and variations on here?
Apr-22-15  Brit: Why is it a draw? Kasparov's position is slightly better than his opponent's, so when his opponent offered a draw, why did he agree?

Or take it the other way, Kasparov offered a draw since he thought his opponent's stacked rooks are major threats.

So, this means they were both in a bad position. Why would a grandmaster then offer a draw, and his opponent, seeing he was winning, had agreed? If he declined, his opponent would resign, a better solution.

Sep-13-17  Arconax: <fab4: Yes Leko missed 26.Ne2.>

He probably missed it, but perhaps he saw it but misjudged the position or simply miscalculated.

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