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Veselin Topalov vs Peter Leko
Corus Group A (2005), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 12, Jan-29
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation. Keres Defense (E32)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 13 OF 15 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member 1/2-1/2, a draw has been agreed. Thanks to everybody for coming by today.

The 13th and final round is tomorrow morning at 6:30am EST. Hope to see everybody here.

Jan-29-05  fred lennox: excellent game
Jan-29-05  matrix: That's the kind of draw I can handle
Jan-29-05  nightsend: 42.. Bb7 43. Qd8+ Kh7 44. Qd3+ g6 45. Qd4 Ng4 looks too good to be true. Are there better moves for White?
Jan-29-05  acirce: In spite of initial appearances, a long Fritz think indicates that Leko could after all have played for a win in the final position with 42..Kh7 (and maybe other moves), might even be indeed winning. One neat line is 43.Qd3+ g6 44.Qd4 Ng4! 45.hxg4 hxg4 46.Kg1 Rxf2! 47. Kxf2 g3+ 48.Ke1 Qe7+ 49.Ne4 f2+ 50.Kd2 Bxe4 Or 43.Qh4 Qg6 44.Kh2 Bb3! 45.Rb1 (45.Nxb3 Ne4) Bc2 46.Nxf3 Rxf2+ 47.Qxf2 Bxb1 -- or here 44.Qd4 Qc2 45.Nb1 Ne4 46.Bh4 Qc7 47.Bxe2 Ng3+ 48.Bxg3 Qxg3

43.Kh2 Bb3 44.Nxb3 Ne4, or here 44.Nxf3 Rxf2+ 45.Qxf2 Qf4+ 46.Qg3 Qxg3+ 47.Kxg3 Bxd1

Jan-29-05  aw1988: Why is this still "live"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: It was conducted with such energy, that it simply refuses to die. :)
Jan-29-05  aw1988: LOL, I suppose.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <acicrce> Great piece of analysis with Fritz 8, especially since the program initially only gives 42...Kh7!! as 0.00 even and drawish.

I also plugged it into Fritz 8, and confirmed the same analysis through <42...Kh7! 43.Qd3+ g6! 44.Qd4 Ng4! 45.hxg4 hxg4 46.Kg1 Rxf2! 47.Kxf2 g3+ 48.Ke1 Qe7+ 49.Ne4>.

However, I had Fritz vary with 49... Bxe4!? and continued the line with 50.Kd2 f2 51.Bd3 Qg5+ 52.Kc3 Bf3 53.Rf1 Qc5+ 54.Qxc5 bxc5 55.Rxf2 gxf2 56.Kd2 Bd5 57.Ke2 c4 58.Bb1 Kg7 59.b6 Kf6 60.Kxf2 Ke5 61.Ke3 f5 62.Ba2 f4+ 63.Kf2 Kd4 64.Bb1 g5 65.Bf5 c3 66.Ke2 f3+ 67.Kf2 Ke5 68.Bb1 Kf4 69.b7 Bxb7 70.Bc2 Be4 71.Bb3 Bd3 72.Bd1 g4 , when Black has a clear endgame win.

So it would appear that Leko may well have missed a very difficult win in this "drawn" position, but with time constraints and a material deficit against a very strong opponent, I think he did the right thing in taking the practical step of conceding a draw by three-fold repetition.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: I have added 42...Kh7!!, <acirce>'s strong suggestion, to my "passed pawn" game collection, since it appears to enable Black to decisively mobilize his pawns for a win, despite White's extra piece(s).
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: According to, Leko might have played 37...h6! with excellent winning chances.

Playing it out move-by-move with Fritz 8, gave the possibile line of play 37...h6! 38.Qd4 Nh5 39.Qxd5 Rxf2 40.Nxf3 Nf4 41.Qd1 Ne2 42.Qxe2 Rxe2 43.Bxe2 bxa5 44.Rd1 Qg3 45.Ng1 Qe3 46.Rd3 Qe4+ 47.Kh2 g5 48.Rd8+ Kg7 49.Rd7 Qf5 50.Rb7 a4 51.Kg2 a3 52.Rxa7 Qe4+ 53.Bf3 Qb1 54.Ne2 a2 55.b6 a1Q 56.Rxa1 Qxa1 57.b7 Qb2 58.Kh2 Qe5+ 59.Kh1 f5 60.Nd4 Kf6 61.Bg2 g4 62.hxg4 fxg4 63.Ne2 h5 64.Kg1 g3 65.Kf1 (65.Bf1 Qe3+ 66.Kh1 Qf3+ 67.Bg2 Qxe2 68.b8Q Qe1+ 69.Bf1 Qxf1#) 65...Qa1+ 66.Nc1 Qxc1+ 67.Ke2 Qb2+ 68.Ke3 h4 69.Kd3 h3 70.Bf3 g2 71.Bxg2 hxg2 , with a clear win for Black.

Jan-30-05  karlzen: <patzer2>, how about 41.Ne5 in your 37...h6 line? After the exchange of queens black has two pawns more but it is not so easy to win since black has to keep an eye on the queenside and black's knight has a hard time finding something good to do. White should hold I think. Perhaps the immediate Bc4 intending a6, Bxd5, Rc7 is simplest.
Jan-30-05  csmath: This could have been the best game for Leko in Corus, short of a great game he played against Bruzon but that one was too short. In this game he was forced by Topalov, after Topalov played original game and achieved some advantage, to play tactical game and he did it quite well.

The game was stopped in the position that should have been played out for a win by black. After 42. ... Kh7 black is better with a significant advantage.

Leko simply chickened out. So typical.
Kasparov or Fischer would not give a draw to Topalov here. ;-))

Jan-30-05  csmath: Possible continuation:

42. ... Kh7!
43. Kh2 ... Bb3
44. Nxf3 ... Rxf2
45. Qxf2 ... Qf4
46. Qg3 (hard to find anything better) ... Qxg3
47. Kxg3 ... Bxd1.

White is in the lost ending.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Karlzen> After 37...h6 38.Qd4 Nh5 39.Qxd5 Rxf2 40.Nxf3 Nf4 <41.Ne5!?> (your recommendation) 41...Nxd5 42.Nxg6 fxg6 43.Bc4 Rd2 44.axb6 axb6 45.Re1 Kf8 46.Re6 g5 47.Bxd5 Rxd5 , I must admit the Rook and Pawn endgame looks difficult for Black despite his two extra pawns.

However, although I'm far from an endgame expert, and do not have a strong ending program, the following line played out with Fritz 8 indicates Black's position does have winning potential:

37...h6! 38.Qd4 Nh5 39.Qxd5 Rxf2 40.Nxf3 Nf4 <41.Ne5!?> 41...Nxd5 42.Nxg6 fxg6 43.Bc4 Rd2 44.axb6 axb6 45.Re1 Kf8 46.Re6 g5 47.Bxd5 Rxd5 48.Rxb6 Kf7 49.Kg2 Rd2+ 50.Kf3 Rd3+ 51.Kg4 Rb3 52.Kf5 Rf3+ 53.Kg4 Rf4+ 54.Kg3 Rb4 55.Kf3 Ke7 56.Rb7+ Kf6 57.b6 Kg6 58.Kg2 Rb2+ 59.Kg3 h5 60.Kf3 h4 61.Rb8 Rh2 62.Ke4 Rxh3 63.Kd5 Rb3 with a clear win for Black.

In any event, I don't think Leko would have anything to lose by playing out a two pawn up ending, as Topalov's passer doesn't seem too big a concern.

Jan-30-05  aw1988: <patzer2> Kh7!! should win! However, even for a player of Leko's standard the corresponding square in the middlegame/endgame like that is pretty impossible to see. Nevertheless, good catch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <aw1988> The credit goes to <acirce>. Except for his analysis, I never would have caught it.
Jan-30-05  aw1988: Oh, I missed it, though you contributed as well.
Jan-31-05  karlzen: <acirce>, <patzer2>, 42..Kh7 43.Qd3+ g6 44.Qd4 Ng4 45.hxg4 hxg4 46.Kg1 Rxf2 47. Kxf2 g3+ 48.Ke1 Qe7+ 49.Ne4 f2+ 50.Kd2 Bxe4:

51.Ke3 Bg2+ 52.Kd3 Bxf1+ 53.Rxf1 g2 54.Rxf2 g1Q 55.Rxf7+ Qxf7 56.Qxg1 Qd5+ 57.Kc3 Qxb5 58.Qh2+ seems like a draw by perpetual and it is quite hard to find improvements for black earlier on.

Another line where it is hard to find a clear win for black is: 43.Qh4 Qg6 44.Kh2 Bb3 45.Nxf3 Bxd1 46.Ng5+ Kg8 47.Bxe2 Bxe2 48.Bxb6 Bxb5 with drawing chances for white.

Jan-31-05  karlzen: <patzer2>, the h6 line: I think your line is a draw (well not the final position obviously! :)). White should simply stay with the king on the kingside, guarding the h3-pawn and black can make no progress, perhaps not even if white loses his b-pawn somehow. The thing is, 2 vs. 1 on the kingside is not a win and I'm not even sure about 2 vs. 0 (with rooks on the board). I think the h6-line is a draw but I do not want to say I am absolutely sure.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Karlzen> I'll do some more research on both 37...h6!? and and 42...Kh7!? and post at a later date. The quote is interesting on the game, stating Leko <had distinct winning chances, e.g. with 37...h6! with the threat of Nh5, as found by the players in the postgame analysis.> I wonder if Leko and Topalov even considered the 42...Kh7!? possibility?

Even if it were a theoretical draw, it would have been interesting to have watched Leko make Topalov find the best defense. Guess Leko was so releived just to draw with his material deficit, that he didn't want to risk pushing for a difficult winning possibility -- especially since he only needed a couple of draws to win the torunament.

Jan-31-05  hintza: <acirce, karlzen, patzer2> I have found some analysis of this game on the German ChessBase website that you may be interested in:
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <hintza> Thanks for the website. Looks like they're claiming a win for 42...Kh6! I'll look at it in more in depth and report later.
Jan-31-05  flamboyant: leko probably saw it.. i was on during the game and every GM there saw it.. (or their program.. ) but he was prefered had a safe draw probably
Jan-31-05  acirce: <karlzen><42..Kh7 43.Qd3+ g6 44.Qd4 Ng4 45.hxg4 hxg4 46.Kg1 Rxf2 47. Kxf2 g3+ 48.Ke1 Qe7+ 49.Ne4 f2+ 50.Kd2 Bxe4: 51.Ke3 Bg2+ 52.Kd3 Bxf1+ 53.Rxf1 g2 54.Rxf2 g1Q 55.Rxf7+ Qxf7 56.Qxg1 Qd5+ 57.Kc3 Qxb5 58.Qh2+ seems like a draw by perpetual>

Are you sure? Sometimes White can choose between more than one check, but it seems Black can escape in all lines (as is so often the case when the checking side's king is so close to the center, making it hard for him to avoid queen exchange). It might go 58..Kg7 59.Qc7+ Kf6 60.Qf4+ Ke6 61.Qg4+ Qf5 62.Qc4+ Kd6 63.Qd4+ Kc6 64.Qa4+ Kb7

or 60.Qd6+ Kf5 61.Qf8+ Ke4 62.Qa8+ Ke3

or 60.Qd8+ Kf5 61.Qc8+ Kf4 62.Qf8+ Ke4 63.Qa8+ Ke3

So White's checks run out and Black should win, even though it's not completely simple as he must always beware of new possible perpetuals.

However, 51..Bc6+ 52.Kd2 Bf3 53.Ra1 g2 54.Bxg2 Qg5+ earlier looks effective enough.

As for your line after 43.Qh4 I agree White might have drawing chances but Black should win in the end with his two extra pawns shouldn't he?

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