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Peter Leko vs Ehsan Ghaem Maghami
World Teams (2001), Yerevan ARM, rd 7, Oct-18
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Polugayevsky Variation (B96)  ·  1-0


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Given 12 times; par: 27 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-07-04  polonius: Leko exhibiting mind-numbing tactical prowess that only the most gifted of the brilliant can execute with any regularity . Outstanding creativity .
Sep-07-04  notyetagm: I think this game finished 2nd in the Informant Best Game Prize voting in its issue of the Chess Informator.
Sep-14-04  Marvol: Especially the position after White's 26th move is great. Black is a full Queen ahead but none of his five pieces is able to prevent white's pawn at g7 promoting.
Aug-16-06  aazqua: This is an incredible game. Leko is playing on a completely different level. I don't know why this game isn't better known.
May-22-08  gambitking: Awesome game with clear advantage to Leko, although why resign when you're only down a rook for knight and pawn?

The Gambit King

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <gambitking> The problem seems to be that Black can't hold his extra pawn. For instance, 27...Kxd7?? 28.Rxf7+; 27...Nxd7 28.Bxa6+; 27...Qxd7 28.g8Q+ Qd8 (on king moves, 29.Rxf7), and White can either snatch pawns with his queen or trade her off and do the damage with his rook. It's not 100% clear-cut, but Black has too many weaknesses to stand up to White's superior firepower.

By the way, not that 27...Qd8 is answered not by 28.Nf8? Qg3!, but 28.Nf6!

Sep-08-14  SpiritedReposte: This needs to be one of Lekos notables.
Premium Chessgames Member
  hedgeh0g: I believe 17...Qb4! would be an improvement on Black's play here, immediately getting the queen back into play. After 18.c4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 gxf6!, the position should be roughly equal.
Jun-26-15  SpiritedReposte: <Leko Suave>
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: This game is mentioned for the move 20.Rxb4!! René Olthof, the Supervisor of NIC Yearbook:

<MG: How much has chess theory changed since the pre-computer era (i.e. since the 1980s)? Is chess theory, the main subject of the Yearbook, something that still belongs to us, humans?

RO: It is clear that the rise of the computer has had an enormous impact on chess theory, but perhaps less so than people tend to think. Let me single out two aspects. A nice example of the changes the computer has brought dates back to the 1991 Candidates' match Speelman-Short, held in the City of London in the offices of Watson, Farley and Williams. For the first time in his life Short played the Grünfeld. And what a success it was! After a mere 10 moves the first match game was effectively over. He repeated this three time during the match and scored 2,5 out of 4. Afterwards he played the Grünfeld once in Debrecen 1992, only to abondon it ever after. Without the computer such daring behaviour would have been highly erratic but nowadays surveying new opening lines or indeed entire openings and collecting all available information about them has become far less time-consuming, so experiments like Short's become less and less irresponsible. Another side of the coin. In Yearbook 59 Hungarian IM Tibor Karolyi wrote a lengthy and incredibly thorough survey on the Polugaevsky Variation called 'Questions About 10.exf6'. But it took somebody of the stature of Peter Leko to come up with this fantastic novelty 20.Rxb4!! from his game against Ghaem Maghami, Erevan World Team Championship 2001. I would say there is still hope for mankind!>

Playing it over with an engine it's surprising that 17...b4 is marked as weak, yet is the most common move (6/9 games).

The engine prefers the other move 17...Qb4 (-0.31/21 going to dead draw at 24-ply), but it scores badly for Black (83.3%). Of course, there's only 3 games to study.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The Polugaevsky Variation (7..b5) is rarely played these days. In Dimitrov-Vasiliev Pravets 1988-89 (not included in this database) White had played 20 Rbd1 and had gone on to win though Black had not defended well; 20 Rxb4! was a clear improvement. 20..Bxb4 21 fxg..Rg8 22 Nf6+..Kd8 23 Nxg8..Bc5 24 Nxe6..fxe 25 Rf8+ would have been winning for White. 22..Bc3 would have been the best defense though Leko and Rodriguez provided extensive analysis that after 23 Rc1! White would have maintained an advantage.

Perhaps Black thought to catch Leko by surprise with this highly theoretical line but he was more than ready - voted the 3rd best game in Informant 83.

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