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Vasyl Ivanchuk vs Peter Leko
Ivanchuk - Leko Match (2009), Mukachevo UKR, rd 5, Jan-05
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation Spielmann Defense (A32)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-06-09  Extremophile: As it has been written in noone would expect such an outcome when you consider the position at move 48. Another great game by Chucky!
Jan-08-09  arnaud1959: Who said that ♖+♗ was stronger than ♖+♘ and with pawns on both sides of the board the ♗ was stronger than the ♘? Black has also the advantage of a strong passed pawn on the ♕-side while white didn't even try to create a passed pawn on the ♔-side.

As usual Chucky has destroyed all the principles of the game.

Jan-08-09  sallom89: <As usual Chucky has destroyed all the principles of the game.>


Jan-08-09  areknames: The 10(!) consecutive knight moves starting with 47.Nf6+ that eventually lead to the decisive capture of the g6 pawn are highly instructive and aesthetically delightful.
Jan-08-09  Ulhumbrus: Leko gains an enduring advantage because instead of gaining the superior minor piece Ivanchuk concedes it. After 17 Nf5 White can gain the advantage by the move Nxe7+ gaining the superior minor piece for the ending.

Ivanchuk omits to play this move and even relinquishes his own bishop by the move 21 Bxf6? passing the advantage to Leko.

After 24 Qc4 there is no need for Leko to avoid an exchange of Queens. 24...Qxc4 gains the advantage.

Instead of 32...Qa8. 32...Be7 begins the plan of ...Rd7 and ...Qb7 removing the White Queen's blockade.

35...Qd5 allows White to occupy the seventh rank. After 35...Rc8 or 35...Qb7 Black may still have the better of it.

Jan-09-09  paavoh: Well, the Black pawns on Q-side are more or less fixed on black squares which IMHO limits the power of the Bishop. Therefore, Ivanchuk's choice to keep the Knight looks quite alright.
Jan-09-09  Paraconti: The white play from move 22-50 is a work of harmony. Everything flows so smoothly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <As usual Chucky has destroyed all the principles of the game.>

I would humbly disagree with that. In fact, Chucky has demonstrated perfectly validity of Tarrasch's rule that the best place for Rook is behind passed Pawn. Chucky's Rook on the seventh rank and behind black Passer would be Tarrasch's ideal. Both Leko's pieces were clearly worse than their counterparts which led to the loss of his Kingside Pawns and win of white. Nice game in classic style.

Jan-10-09  madlydeeply: One would think Leko to be a great endgame player but there are plenty of games that I remember him blowing the ending. He's more of a super-solid opening specialist I sincerely believe.

There are a few things I like about this game...playing against a bishop. The white kingside pawns were "bishop proof" with the pawn chain base securely guarded at f2. They were also set up perfectly to hide the king at f3 should the black pawn get to a2 with black rook at a1. Of course that is the only thing that can happen with the white rook behind the passed pawn. Now it a given that with a simplified ending that "offside" rook passed pawn situation would arise with the 3:2 pawn majority? Does it always lead to a general exchange with the rook offside? I'm going to think about that quite a bit. The pawn majority needs a king to help it out. So where was the king? Ah...more long term planning. The white kingside pawns on dark squares induced the black kingside pawns to be on white squares...this generally happens...pawn chains on opposite color complexes...even if they aren't locked together "french style". So the dark bishop was completely useless defensively, tying the king down to a defensive role. So that passed pawn was going nowhere. Now, this isn't a genius observation...which means either Leko wasn't "game on" for the ending...or he was coward-ily thinking of a draw with passive defense.

You would think the dark squared bishop is perfect because it controls the queeening square. It probably shouldve worked anyway, yes? just protect the pawn with the bishop and make the rook more active...but the rook and knight worked well against the kingside defenseless pawns. So Leko never got it together. The knight is superior with pawns on one side because it can attack either color complex...

I hate to say it but I only think Leko could lose this endgame. I think Kramnik would've held it.

Good day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: <Ulhumbrus> If White follows your suggestion of Nxe7+, then all Black does is recapture with the Queen, White must make a defensive move to protect the Pe2, and then Black outposts the Knight with ...Ne4 and ...f5 when the check on b3 does not inconvenience him in any way.
Jan-16-09  falso contacto: leko could not be very happy with this game.
Jan-22-09  ounos: It was a really difficult endgame for Black. If only the bishop could protect f7... but wrong color :)
Jan-22-09  ounos: After seeing this again, I think the critical moment was move 46, where Leko played a4. He should have played Bc5, depriving the Rook of the excellent post at a7 (both covering the 'a' pawn, and attacking f7). 46. ...a4 was all Ivanchuk needed to bring the knight to e4, stopping Bc5, and moving on to create the fatal weakness on black pawns.
Sep-12-09  mendellevin: This is an instructive game and in my understanding arnaud1959 is excatly right. Chucky shows that the knight is stronger than the bishop when the squares that the bishop cannot reach are weakened. To me that is the lesson of the game?
Sep-12-09  davegras: I'm wondering if 59...Rb7, followed by 60...Ra7 has possibilities for Leko.

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