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Photo copyright © 2006 by Milan Kovacs (  
Peter Leko
Number of games in database: 2,033
Years covered: 1989 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2713 (2747 rapid, 2736 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2763
Overall record: +339 -185 =879 (55.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      630 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (373) 
    B90 B33 B42 B32 B44
 Ruy Lopez (215) 
    C78 C67 C89 C92 C88
 Sicilian Najdorf (129) 
    B90 B93 B91 B96 B92
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (106) 
    C89 C92 C88 C95 C99
 French Defense (100) 
    C11 C18 C16 C10 C12
 Caro-Kann (67) 
    B17 B18 B19 B10 B12
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (181) 
    B33 B30 B31 B65 B56
 Queen's Indian (119) 
    E15 E12 E14
 Ruy Lopez (116) 
    C89 C84 C88 C78 C65
 Grunfeld (100) 
    D85 D97 D91 D79 D82
 Nimzo Indian (75) 
    E32 E53 E20 E55 E21
 English, 1 c4 c5 (74) 
    A30 A33 A35 A37 A34
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kramnik vs Leko, 2004 0-1
   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004 1/2-1/2
   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004 1-0
   Anand vs Leko, 2005 0-1
   Leko vs Radjabov, 2006 1-0
   Leko vs Radjabov, 2003 1-0
   Leko vs Kasparov, 2003 1/2-1/2
   Leko vs L Bruzon, 2005 1-0
   Leko vs Kramnik, 1995 1-0
   Ivanchuk vs Leko, 2011 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)
   Kramnik - Leko World Championship Match (2004)
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005)
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Yopal (1997)
   Corus Chess Tournament (2005)
   Candidates Match: Leko - Gurevich (2007)
   XX Ciudad de Linares (2003)
   20th Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament (2012)
   Wijk aan Zee Corus (2004)
   13th Amber Blindfold (2004)
   Linares 2006 (2006)
   FIDE Jermuk Grand Prix (2009)
   Tilburg Fontys (1997)
   Amber Blindfold (2006)
   Russian Team Championships (2014)
   Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2009)
   Olympiad (2008)
   Russian Team Championships (2012)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Leko! by amadeus
   Exchange sacs - 1 by obrit
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 2000-2010 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   Leko! by larrewl
   2001-2007, 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 or 5.Nbd2, Rated 2700+ by cybermarauder
   Lékó vs. Carlsen by Method B
   maestro37's favorite games C89 Marshall by maestro37
   Fide 2007 world cup by King mega
   2007 World Chess Championship by Penguincw

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Peter Leko
Search Google for Peter Leko
FIDE player card for Peter Leko

(born Sep-08-1979, 35 years old) Hungary
[what is this?]
International Master (1992); Grandmaster (1994); U16 World Champion 1996; Candidate 2002 (PCA) and 2007; Classical World Championship Challenger (2004).


Péter Lékó was born in Subotica in Northern Serbia. When he became a grandmaster in 1994 at the age of 14 years 4 months and 22 days, he was the youngest person ever to have become a grandmaster (GM), and the first under 15, eclipsing the records previously set by Robert James Fischer in 1958 and then by Judit Polgar in 1991. In 1996 he won the World U16 Championship. Eight years later in 2004, he contested the Classical World Championship against the incumbent Vladimir Kramnik. He has been a regular participant in the World Championship cycle and in major tournaments since he was 15.

Classical Tournaments:

Lékó’s first encounter as a participant in a super tournament occurred as a 15 year old in 1995, when he created a minor sensation by placing 3rd at the category 17 Dortmund event. Between 1995 and 1997, he capitalised on his success and started building his reputation by winning several GM tournaments in Denmark, Cuba and Columbia (Yopal (1997)). In 1998 he came in second behind Viswanathan Anand at the category 18 Tilburg Fontys (1998). Lékó’s first super tournament victory came at the category 19 tourney at Dortmund in 1999. The following year, he placed =2nd with 8/13, a point and a half behind Garry Kasparov at the category 18 Wijk aan Zee Corus (2000), and =3rd behind Kasparov and Kramnik at the category 21 Linares (2000). His form continued into 2001 when he came 3rd at Dortmund, a category 21 event that year, and then into 2002 when he took 2nd place at the category 17 Essen quadrangular, =3rd behind Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand at the category 18 NAO Masters in Cannes, and 2nd at the category 16 Borowski tournament behind Vadim Zvjaginsev, also winning that year’s edition of Dortmund, which doubled as a Candidates tournament to select a challenger for Classical World Champion Kramnik. He maintained his good form into 2003 and onwards to the extent that won the Category 20 Linares ahead of Kramnik and Kasparov, placed 3rd behind Nigel Short and Judit Polgar at the Category 17 “Talent and Courage” GM tournament in Hungary, and placed 2nd in the 2004 edition of Linares (also category 20).

Shortly after his near-miss at winning the World Championship match against Kramnik (see below), Lékó came 2nd at the category 19 Wijk aan Zee Corus (2004) behind Anand and then won the Corus Chess Tournament (2005) ahead of Anand, Topalov and Kramnik. Lékó thus became the fifth player to win what were then the "big three" annual super tournaments, namely Corus, Linares, and Dortmund. In 2004, he also won the Petrosian Memorial Tournament with 4/6 ahead of Peter Svidler on tiebreak, and half a point ahead of Kasparov, Anand, Etienne Bacrot and Rafael Vaganian. He experienced something of a hiatus in terms of results until 2006, when he won the 1st Tal Memorial (2006). In 2007, he placed =2nd behind Kramnik, while in 2008, he again won at Dortmund, and then came 2nd at Dortmund (2009). There followed a longer hiatus in leader board results, broken only by a medals winning performance at the Russian Team Championships (see below) and 2nd place in the 20th Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament (2012) behind Fabiano Caruana and =3rd at Dortmund (2012), a half point behind Sergey Karjakin and Caruana. More recently he placed 5th at the category 20 Tata Steel (2013), =3rd at the category 19 Dortmund (2013) and =2nd at Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (2014).

World Championship:

Lékó’s good form in tournaments did not carry over into his early assaults on the FIDE World Championship. The 19-year old was seeded directly into round two of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999) that was staged in Las Vegas. He won his first match against Christian Bauer, but lost in the 3rd round to Sergei Movsesian. His next attempt was a repeat of the first. Seeded directly into the 2nd round of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000) played in New Delhi and Tehran, Lékó defeated Sergey Volkov, but then lost in an extended tiebreaker to defending FIDE World Champion, Alexander Khalifman. He also lasted the first two rounds of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001) played in Moscow, losing to then-six time Armenian champion, Ashot Anastasian, in the second round.

Under the terms of the "Prague Agreement" facilitated by Yasser Seirawan, and intended to unite the two World Chess Championships that had split in 1993, Leko's 2002 win at Dortmund qualified him to play a match against Vladimir Kramnik. It was intended that the winner of this match would play the winner of a match between Kasparov and the FIDE World Chess Champion (first Ruslan Ponomariov, then Rustam Kasimdzhanov) to decide the undisputed world champion. After several delays, the Kramnik - Leko World Championship Match (2004) was held from September 25-October 18, 2004 in Brissago, Switzerland. Lékó came extremely close to becoming Hungary's first World Champion. Leading by one point going into the fourteenth and final game, he was beaten by Kramnik who thereby tied the match 7-7 and retained his title.

In October 2005, Lékó was invited by reason of his Classical World Championship match with Kramnik in 2004 to play in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005) in San Luis, Argentina. He accepted the invitation but only placed fifth out of a field of eight with 6˝/14 points. However, this was sufficient for him to qualify for the 2007 Candidates Tournament to determine the final four qualifiers to the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007). At the Candidates matches, he won the Candidates Match: Leko - Gurevich (2007) (+3−0=1) and the Candidates Match: Bareev - Leko (2007) (+2−0=3), to qualify for the eight-player championship tournament in Mexico City, where he finished fourth out of eight.

Lékó placed 7th in the 2008-2009 Grand Prix series, and as he did not compete in the World Cup (2009), he did not qualify for the Candidates tournament of matches that were eventually held in Kazan in 2011. There followed a disastrous result at the World Cup (2011), when he was eliminated in the first round – and from the 2013 World Championship cycle - by the young US GM Samuel Shankland. His 2014 campaign for the World Championship started modestly at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012) when he placed outright 5th with 6/11, starting his GP points tally with 80 points. In his remaining Grand Prix events, the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012), the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013) and the FIDE Grand Prix Beijing (2013), he scored totals of 5.5/11 (+1 -1 =9) (7th place), 5/11 (+0 -1 =10) (=7th place) and 6/11 (+1 =10) (=3rd place), adding a total of 200 GP points to make a best-of-3-event total of 230, ending his chances to finish in the top 2 and thereby qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. He had a chance to qualify for the Candidates via the World Cup (2013) for which he qualified by reason of his rating; he defeated Norwegian GM Leif Erlend Johannessen in the first round but in one of the shocks of the round, he lost to Peruvian #1 Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga in the second round.

Other Matches:

<Classical>: In 2000, he defeated Alexander Khalifman in match play in Budapest by 4.5-1.5.

<Fischer Random Chess>: In 2001, Lékó narrowly defeated Michael Adams in an eight-game match played as part of the Mainz Chess Classic.

<Rapid>: From 2005 until 2010, Péter Lékó has played a rapid chess match in the Hungarian city of Miskolc:

• In 2005, he drew Leko & Adams (2005) 4–4

• In 2006, he won the Leko - Karpov Match (2006) 4˝–3˝

• In 2007, he lost the Leko - Kramnik Rapid Match (2007) 3˝–4˝. In 2007 he also played the Ivanchuk - Leko Rapid Match (2007) losing by 6˝-7˝, and then lost the rematch, the Ivanchuk - Leko Match (2009), by 2˝-3˝.

• In 2008, he lost the Carlsen - Leko Rapid Match (2008) 3–5

• In 2009, he lost the Leko - Anand Rapid Match (2009) 3–5 and

• In 2010, he lost the Leko - Gelfand Match (2010) 3˝–4˝


Lékó was somewhat more successful in rapid tournaments. In 1999, he won the Rapid Grand Prix in Bordeaux (France) and two years later (in 2001), he won the Rapid Master Event in Nordhorn. In 2002, he won the Rapid Grand Prix in Dubai and managed to place 3rd at Monaco 2002. In 2007, he took first place at the ACP Rapid (2007) and =2nd at the 16th Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2007). In 2008, he was =3rd at the Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2008) and =5th, a half point behind the four joint leaders, at the Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2008). In June 2013, he placed =3rd behind Karjakin and Topalov at the Sberbank Rapid Open 2013 held in Ukraine. In December 2013, he was =1st alongside Wang Yue at the SportAccord World Mind Games (Men, Rapid) (2013) with 5/7.

Team Events:

<Olympiads>: He represented Hungary in the Olympiads of 1994, 1996, 2000, Bled Olympiad (2002), Olympiad (2008), Chess Olympiad (2010), Chess Olympiad (2012) and Chess Olympiad (2014), winning team silver in 2002 and 2014 and individual gold for board 1 in 2008.

<World Team Championship>: Lékó represented Hungary at the World Team Championships in 2001 and at the World Chess Team Championship (2011), both times on board 1. On the latter occasion he won individual bronze.

<European Team Championships>: He represented the Hungary 3 team on board 4 in the European Team Championships in 1992, when he was a 13 year old FM, posting a modest +3 =4 -2 result. He again played for Hungary in 1999, this time on board 1 and won team and individual silver. There followed a long absence from the competition until the European Team Championship (2011) when he lead his national team from board 1 to team bronze.

<European Club Cup>: Lékó played for Honved Budapest from 1995 until 1997, winning team silver in his inaugural year in the competition. Lékó’s absence from the ECC since then was also notable for its length as he did not resume until 2012 when he was recruited to play board 3 for DhSM-64 Moscow, winning team bronze. In 2013 he played board 2 for Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, which placed 6th, (1) while in the European Club Cup (2014) he played board 3 for Malakhit Ekaterinburg, helping his team to a bronze medal. (2)

<Other Team Competition>: He played board 3 for the Rest of the World in the Russia - The Rest of the World (2002), helping his team defeat Russia with a personal performance of +2 =7 -1. Lékó also played with his ShSM-64 Moscow team in the Russian Team Championships (2012) on board 3, winning individual silver and team bronze. Playing for Malachite in the Russian Team Championships (2014), he won individual silver for board 3 and helped his team to win the gold medal.


Lékó has been ranked as high as fourth on the FIDE World Rating List, that ranking first being achieved in April 2003 and from April to December 2005, when he also reached his peak rating of 2763 (April-September 2005). He was in the world’s top 10 for most of the decade until November 2009.

As of 1 February 2015, Lékó’s rating was:

<Standard> 2713 (Hungarian #1; world #33);

<Rapid> 2747 (world #20); and

<Blitz> 2736 (world #29).


Peter Lékó married Sofya Petrosyan on September 2nd 2000 and is the son-in-law of Armenian grandmaster Arshak B Petrosian. He is currently living in Szeged in Hungary. His hobbies are football, tennis, bowling and music.


Live rating list: Wikipedia article: Peter Leko Lékó’s official website:

(1); (2)

Last updated 5 Feb 2015 2014

 page 1 of 82; games 1-25 of 2,033  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. D Seyb vs Leko  ½-½31 1989 NurembergB22 Sicilian, Alapin
2. Leko vs W Heckel 1-025 1989 NurembergB40 Sicilian
3. Leko vs U Jahr  0-150 1989 NurembergC07 French, Tarrasch
4. Leko vs A Rotstein 0-143 1989 WerfenB26 Sicilian, Closed, 6.Be3
5. T Brionne vs Leko  0-127 1990 ParisD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
6. B Kusic vs Leko 1-074 1990 Nuernberg op 1-21D94 Grunfeld
7. Leko vs M Meiser  1-030 1990 St IngbertB07 Pirc
8. Leko vs A Labarthe 1-041 1990 ParisB01 Scandinavian
9. Leko vs W Von Alvensleben  1-034 1990 Budapest Spring opB12 Caro-Kann Defense
10. S Gorgievski vs Leko 0-150 1990 ParisA07 King's Indian Attack
11. G Koschka vs Leko 0-154 1990 Nuernberg op 7-36B57 Sicilian
12. Leko vs S H Grunberg 0-141 1990 Budapest Spring opB02 Alekhine's Defense
13. Leko vs Leitao 1-020 1990 WisconsinB02 Alekhine's Defense
14. Leko vs A Alawieh 0-159 1990 ParisC41 Philidor Defense
15. Leko vs W Wirth  ½-½41 1990 Nuernberg op 6-37B86 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
16. Leko vs T Souche 1-040 1990 ParisC44 King's Pawn Game
17. M Gretzer vs Leko 0-124 1990 Nuernberg op 5-55D85 Grunfeld
18. Leko vs K Pytel  0-134 1990 St IngbertB10 Caro-Kann
19. B Stein vs Leko  ½-½49 1991 Dortmund-DA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
20. Leko vs R Caessens  ½-½24 1991 NettetalC45 Scotch Game
21. I Gurevich vs Leko  ½-½42 1991 KecskemetB63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
22. K Jarowski vs Leko  0-130 1991 ?B56 Sicilian
23. A Stebbings vs Leko  ½-½27 1991 London LloydsD82 Grunfeld, 4.Bf4
24. Leko vs Podzielny  ½-½45 1991 Dortmund-DB42 Sicilian, Kan
25. Mephisto vs Leko  0-156 1991 NettetalD90 Grunfeld
 page 1 of 82; games 1-25 of 2,033  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Leko wins | Leko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 98 OF 98 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-21-14  Kain3: <Perhaps Leko got demoralized when he lost his chance to be a world champion. There are cases of players not being the same after losing matches.>

That's good reasoning, but it's a bit puzzling then that he won Corus 2005 and the Tal Memorial 2006 and his qualifying and 4th result of the WC 2007 was still solid. He also won Dortmund 2008 by the way.

I think his style and progress as a chess player simply stagnated.

Jul-21-14  Petrosianic: <Perhaps Leko got demoralized when he lost his chance to be a world champion. He has great chance against Kramnik(needing only a draw in their last game). There are cases of players not being the same after losing matches.>

Well, for one thing, Leko didn't lose the match. For another, he sure didn't seem to be trying that hard to win. He tried to sit on a 1 point lead for nearly half the match, gave up easy draws with White, and didn't play out what looked like a nearly won game with Black in Game 12. If he'd been busting a gut and failed, that would be more demoralizing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: I don't consider Leko's stagnation to be terribly mysterious. I'm still sticking with my opinion which I first posted here seven years ago:

<He's always had the skills that are more typical of an older player, so in hindsight it's maybe not surprising that he hasn't been able to improve since 2002, and now may even be in decline. He was 33 when he was 23.>

His understanding of the game is probably second to none among top GMs, but the downside to that is he never has a new idea about anything. Leko always knows what he's doing, and almost always knows what the other guy's doing, so his chess is totally dead.

Jul-27-14  isemeria: In his game introduction to I Morovic vs Leko, 1994, Evgeny Solozhenkin writes: <"... at age of 14, Peter Leko's knowledge of the modern chess theory and technique are much better than his evaluation of the dynamic positions. It would be more correct to say that Leko feels not entirely confident in a dynamic fight. Nevertheless he's got a perfect sense of danger."> (Leko's One Hunder Wins by Sergey Soloviov, 2003).

It seems that this has been characteristic to his style for his whole career. Or was his play more dynamic during peak years 2002 - 2006?

Aug-10-14  john barleycorn: Leko is a great commentator, imo. I like him here:

Aug-14-14  shivasuri4: Peter Leko turned out to be the only player to beat a Chinese player this Olympiad! He won against Wang Yue in Round 2.
Sep-08-14  Kain3: Player of the day!

About the decline, one of the recurring opinions about him in recent years is that he cannot convert advantages into victories anymore, and that is a big problem.(he won a lot more during his peak) Of course he also saves games when he's behind, so this results in a lot of draws. He never really changed his playing style, and in my opinion he should have changed his coach. He's still a solid top-30 GM, but that's about it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 35th birthday to Super GM and almost World Champion, Peter Leko.
Nov-08-14  Whitehat1963: So far, Leko remains perfect at the Petrosian Memorial! +0-0=4
Nov-08-14  john barleycorn: <Whitehat1963: So far, Leko remains perfect at the Petrosian Memorial! +0-0=4>

No matter how many ways lead to a draw - Leko knows them all. :-) Engine evaluations showed he had a +3.89 at a certain point and blew it.

Just to be clear about two points: Leko is a hell of a player and very nice person.

Nov-08-14  Whitehat1963: No question that Leko is a hell of a player <john barleycorn>. I only wish his games didn't result in draws so frequently. As I don't know him from Adam or even Kasparov, I won't begin to make pronouncements about his character. I wish him well. I also wish him more decisive results more frequently.
Nov-08-14  Whitehat1963: This quote (lifted from his Wikipedia page) says it all:

"I like to play in a 'clean and clear' way, and I am definitely not the type of guy who takes unnecessary risks. I believe much more in the logic of our game rather than gambling on your opponent's nerves."

Despite criticism that his style leads to drawish chess, his consistent style has seen him remain in the elite since he was a teenager and win multiple elite-level tournaments.

Nov-27-14  Everett: Here's is a funny sequence of players: Leko-Karpov-Carlsen. The full spectrum of positional players from most risk-averse to least.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jamesmaskell: <Whitehat1963> The Wikipedia page quote was my writing, part of an overhaul of the page I did back in September. Leko did at one point try to spice up his game (a Chessbase report on Linares had a quote from Leko on this), I think around 2003-4. I want to put it in there as Leko clearly made an effort but I have to be sure, and have a reference for it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Leko an enormously talented player. Perhaps just not enough 'fight' to get to the top.

Leko's One Hundred Wins book (no jokes please!) by Soloviov is excellent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Well, according to the database at, Leko have 505 wins, so 20% (give or take) made it into the book. =))
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: The book came out in 2003...

Jan-23-15  Kain3: Out of the top-30, and sliding downwards. He won't get many invitations to the super level anymore, so he has to go back to lesser rated tournaments and start to work seriously on his chess. Adams had to do something similar and came back a lot stronger, Gelfand did this multiple times. This "slide" might just be what Leko needs..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: His slide has lasted more than five years now, so I would expect it to be more or less permanent. He's already older than the vast majority of players above him. Time is crueler than ever to top players nowadays--or perhaps kinder, since he still has time to go out and get a regular job.
Feb-13-15  The Rocket: <If he'd been busting a gut and failed, that would be more demoralizing.>

Leko was a draw away in the final game from being the new world champion. If you don't concider this demoralizing, I don't know what is.

Feb-13-15  Petrosianic: It wasn't just the last game, he'd been coasting almost half the match. He agreed to a draw in Game 12 in a position he should have tried to keep winning, and blew off a White in Game 11by agreeing to a quick draw. You can't coast with a 1 point lead when the other guy has draw odds.

Now, Kramnik on the other hand, the guy who too often does coast, did bust a gut to equalize the score. Not only in Game 14, but he made a major effort with Black in Game 13, that came within an inch of succeeding.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Petrosianic> <You can't coast with a 1 point lead when the other guy has draw odds.>

"You don't dance with the champ."

Feb-13-15  The Rocket: <It wasn't just the last game, he'd been coasting almost half the match. He agreed to a draw in Game 12 in a position he should have tried to keep winning, and blew off a White in Game 11by agreeing to a quick draw. You can't coast with a 1 point lead when the other guy has draw odds.>

He was in the <lead>. This is far too common. Doesn't mean he didn't care. What you seem to suggest is beyond comprehension I can assure you Kramnik broke his spirit by winning the final game which would have given leko the titel.

Mar-12-15  cplyakap: He has +1 score against Carlsen. :D
Mar-12-15  Kain3: <He has +1 score against Carlsen.>

Also +1 against Grischuk, and +3(!) against Caruana. He's tied with Nakamura.

The inner talent is definitely there, but something needs to change (his style & his coach) for him to be able to fight back to the "world's elite" status.

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