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Peter Leko vs Alexander Morozevich
Sarajevo (1999), Sarajevo BIH, rd 2, May-18
French Defense: Tarrasch. Morozevich Variation (C03)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This was (apparently) their first meeting. 7..Nb4 was a new move and is now the most popular move in this position. 8 Nb3 would have been a sharper alternative trying to hold onto the extra pawn. Leko's 14 Bxe7 seems to make Black's life easier and has not been repeated; 14 Bg3 looks more promising.

Morozovich after 20..g5: "The most active way of putting pressure on the white centre. Now any of three results is possible."

23 Nd2? turned out to be a poor square for the knight allowing Morozovich to develop a queenside initiative; instead after the better 23 Nc1 approximate equality would have been maintained.

A pretty variation that shows what could have happened if Black had been over-aggressive is 34..Rxa2 35 Rbe1..Rxb3 36 Re7+..Kf6 37 Rxd7..Rbb2 38 Rd6+..Kf7 39 Rd7+..Kg6 40 Rd6+..Kh5 41 Rf6..b4? 42 Ree6!..Rxf2+ 43 Rxf2..Rxf2 44 Kxf2..a2 45 Ra6..b3 46 Kf3!..g4+ 47 Kf4..b2 48 h3! and White wins. Morozovich had several paths to victory the easiest one pointed out by Leko: 35..Re4 (35..Rxb3 should win as well) 36 dxe..Kxe5 37 exd..Kd6. Instead after 35..Bf5? and 36..Bc8? White had taken over the initiative and was material up. 38 Nd4! threatened Nc6 and Re7+ winning. Morozovich does not question 41 Re5 but after his response 41..g4! He had enough counterplay to draw despite being two pawns down.

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