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Peter Leko vs Robert Fontaine
"Leko My ECO" (game of the day Dec-04-2011)
3rd Youth Olympiad (1995), Las Palmas ESP, May-??
Anderssen Opening: General (A00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Leko shows how to win with 1. a3 by playing solid developing moves and not trying to push too hard to justify the opening. It's sort of like a "counterpunching" strategy in boxing or "a counter-attack" strategy in soccer.

Indeed, it is Leko's counter-attack against White's extended center (i.e. moves 12 to 15) that starts the unraveling of black's position. The lesson to me with 1. a3 here is to play it like you were Black trying to simply develop, steal the initiative and counterattack, and not like you have to justify 1. a3 and force an initiative.

Jun-04-04  Whitehat1963: A top-flight master plays the rarely employed opening of the day!
Jul-07-05  schnarre: <patzer2> 1. a3 is perfectly viable with straight-forward play. It's real strength is that it can square off against any Black reply move :I've faced off with conventional 1...e5, 1...d5, & 1...c5 which I play; I've seen hypermodern 1...g6, 1...b6 & the like; & the "outlandish" 1...g5, 1...a5, 1...b5 (surprisingly common) & on one occasion 1...Nh6. The Anderssen has done well for me even in games I've lost.
Jul-07-05  fgh: 1. a3 is not a bad move as most people might think. I used to play it in the past, and I had good scores with it.
Jul-13-05  schnarre: <fgh> Still play it?
Dec-04-11  sevenseaman: Leko plays hardball; a tough win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: As someone who used to play the Anderssen exclusively, this is all quite familiar. The 1.a3,e5; 2.c4 variation almost always transposes into some byway of the English, as here; after 8.Bg2, we have the English Four Knights 4...d5 main line.

Leko could have tried 3.d3!? which contains a little trickery: 3...d5?!; 4.cxd5,Nxd5; 5.Nf3,Nf6; 6.g3! combines the Dragon with the Najdorf to good effect. 1.a3,e5; 2.c4,f5 might be the best continuation for Black because after 1.c4,e5; 2.Nc3,f5 White almost never plays a3.

Dec-04-11  Oceanlake: A reversed Sicilian against a player rated 200 points above you and who routinely plays the Sicilian. Maybe not the best idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Playing the "White" side of an Open Sicilian a tempo down is about the last thing I'd play against 1.a3. I'd rather play 1...d5, 1...c5, or 1...g6.
Dec-04-11  ColeTrane: this game turns into a kind of English Opening, and playing a3 at some point during the English is HIGHLY common. Leko just chooses to do it right off the bat.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <An Englishman: ... 1.a3,e5; 2.c4,f5 might be the best continuation for Black because after 1.c4,e5; 2.Nc3,f5 White almost never plays a3.>

White can play the Tal Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5! 3.exd5 Nf6) with reversed colors and the extra tempo a3 by playing 3.d4. If Black accepts it with 3...exd4 4.Nf3, White is happy that 4...Bb4+, as in the main line against the regular Tal Gambit, is impossible.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Everything on the white side is well together.
Dec-04-11  erniecohen: This game is not quite what it appears.

First, 29. ♖c1 was a massive blunder; 29... ♖xf2 starts a mating attack that will force white to give up his ♕, e.g. 30. ♘d3 ♖xg2+ 31. ♔xg2 ♗d5+ 32. ♔g1 ♕f3.

Second, white missed two earlier wins:

- 26. ♘e6 ♖f6 27. ♗xc6 ♖xc6 28. ♘b7d8
- 23. ♘xd8 ♖xd8 24. ♖c1.

Dec-04-11  erniecohen: Since I don't know where else to gripe about opening-of-the-day choices, I have to say, the Gedult attack? seriously?
Dec-04-11  lemaire90: This opening is basically a reverse silician dragon, isn't it ?
Dec-04-11  LoveThatJoker: Wow! What a game! Tactics, tactics, tac-tics! :)


Dec-04-11  Magic Castle: 1. a3 as a first move gives black the initiative to chose whether to go for a King or Queen pawn opening. So there is nothing spectacular to it. After 1. a3, it is now white who would play the role of black. Its the same move as 1. Nf3. No big deal or impact on the game favorable to white. In short it is a mere wait and see move and in my opinion a weak one.

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