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Etienne Bacrot vs Peter Leko
Elista Grand Prix (2008), Elista RUS, rd 4, Dec-17
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-17-08  ellenliisbet: What a beautiful move, 31. Qh7+!! :-)
Dec-17-08  ex0duz: Watching this game live(before falling asleep), i had a feeling Leko was gonna get raped after 17.Nxg4

Anyone know the theory behind this line? Is the pawn poison?

Dec-17-08  percyblakeney: According to chessok 17. g4 is a <novelty of doubtful advantage>, but chessvibes points to one earlier game with the move (Pesoa-Romero, Villa Ballester 2002).

Leko got a good position but missed playing Bg5 on move 21 or 22 (both seen as giving black a very big advantage by chessok). 23. ... Rg5 is another improvement suggested by chessok, and evaluated as better for black.

28. ... Qxf2 looks as if it could hold, and 30. ... Qe7 would at least give white some problems to overcome. When the last moves were played Leko was in bad time trouble, with only a few seconds on the clock, but Bacrot's finish is still pretty.

Dec-17-08  ex0duz: Thanks dude. After this game, it will probably go out of 'fashion' with everyone analyzing it, but OTB the first time it seems to be pretty deadly(refused the first time, and with Leko himself getting raped in less than 15 moves after taking the pawn). I like these kinds of 'unsound' novelties, especially when they work. If it is a novelty of doubtful advantage, then surely Bacrot came up with it OTB and it wasn't prepared? Even more respect if so.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: A <short triangle> or "swinging gate" mate, cf. Stanishevsky vs Nikonov, 1981 and Capablanca vs T A Carter, 1909. Push that P to 6 or 3!
Premium Chessgames Member
  JointheArmy: Oh my Peter. What happened?
Dec-17-08  shintaro go: The "safe" Caro-Kann loses yet another game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: I like the fact that if Leko tries to run with 31...Kf8 then Bacrot forces mate in quick order with 32.Bb4+ -- in boxing terms a devastating right-left combination.
Dec-18-08  arnaud1959: Bacrov loves to give up his queen. sometimes he sacs it like in this game or he forgets it: Bacrot vs E Inarkiev, 2008
Dec-19-08  TheChessGuy: A sharp and humorous game by M. Bacrot!
Dec-20-08  Alphastar: <shintaro go> the game wasn't lost in the opening so your remark is off target.

On a different note, I don't understand how Leko can get in time trouble, considering at least the first 16 moves or so are mandatory.

This g4 pawn sacrifice is very often made in similar positions and black has to accept to not end up worse.

Dec-20-08  Bobsterman3000: Isn't this a blatant case of "castling into trouble" unnecessarily and inviting an immediate attack with 16... 0-0?! Maybe 16... 0-0-0 would have worked better, at least it wouldn't have given Bacrot so much initiative.

At the time, Leko was still about 2 tempi away from a tangible counterattack on the queenside, so Bacrot could open lines on the kingside with impunity and have a free hand.

Dec-21-08  Alphastar: <Bobsterman3000> if black wants to castle queenside with a 'safe' game, he should play 12. ..Qc7 immediately, so white doesn't have the extra move c4 to accelerate his queenside (and central) play.

The theory of the classical variation with castling queenside is so much worked out that it is completely impossible to play for a win with black while white can try to grind out a small advantage.

I wouldn't say castling kingside gives black far better chances of scoring a full point but it is definitely sharper. That white usually gets to attack first doesn't really matter - theory says it is all fine for black.

Dec-22-08  Bobsterman3000: <Alphastar> Thanks for the lucid explanation, I think I'm not yet advanced enough to tackle the underlying theoretical issues that powered Leko's choice to handle the line in this way...

Dec-27-08  Brown: <exOduz> Please, go get yourself raped before using the term so flippantly.
Feb-12-09  Geronimo: Lovely game. This month's Euro Echecs has commentary by Bacrot on it. I'll try to translate/post a bit later on today.
Oct-24-14  TheBish: I'm a little surprised that no one commented on the option of 19...fxe4 20. Qxe4 Ndf6! (better than 20...Ngf6 21. Qxe6+ Rf7 22. Bxh6, and much better than 20...Nxf2?? 21. Rxg7+ Kxg7 22. Qg6+ Kh8 23. Qxh6+ Kg8 24. Qg6+ Kh8 25. Rg1, when Black will need to give up major material to stop mate starting with 25...Bg5).

Rybka gives as best (after 20...Ndf6) 21. Qxe6+ Rf7 22. Ne5 Nxe5 23. dxe5 Ne8 24. Bxh6 Qc8 25. Qxc8 Rxc8 26. Be3 Rf5 27. f4 Rd8 28. h6 g5 29. Rg3 Nc7 30. fxg5 Ne6 31. g6 Rxe5 32. Bd2 Bf6 33. g7 Bg5

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34. h7+ Kxg7 35. Rxg5+ Rxg5 36. Bc3+ Kg6 37. h8=Q Rxh8 38. Rxh8 with a dead even position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: If the Black king accepts the queen sacrifice, it's Anderssen's Mate from the corner after 31...KxQ 32.hxg7+ Kg8 33.Rh8#.

This pattern and it's variations are explained well in the classic chess book "The Art of the Checkmate" by Georges Renaud and Victor Kahn.

If the Black king runs from the queen check to 31...Kf8 32.Bb4+ will get the job done. One possible finish is 32...c5 33.Bxc5+ Rfe7 34.hxg7+ Kf7 35.g8=Q#.

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