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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 14 OF 15 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-01-05  karlzen: <acirce>, I'm not sure! :) I just have a feeeling that black can't make progress (the black king is too open beacuse the passers are too far apart), but I may be wrong. Perhaps someone should create a tablebase for that positon? Your first variation: 65.Qh4 g5 66.Qh1+ Kc7 67.Qh2+ Kd7 68.Qh5 Qe5+ 69.Kc4 b5+ 70.Kb4 and it looks like a draw (admittedly it's beyond my horizon).

Your last variation <acirce>, seems to win for black easily though: 55.Kc3 Qxg2 56.Qh4+ Kg7 57.Qd4+ f6 58.Ra7+ Bb7 59.Rxb7+ leads to a Q endgame where black two connected passers and must be an easy win.

Thus, Qh4 is the only try. I have looked into Feist's (; thanks <hintza>!) analysis and will publish some comments soon. <Black should win in the end with his two extra pawns shouldn't he?> I don't know, I will look into it again, but it seems to me that the presence of opposite-coloured bishops and pawns on only one wing favours a draw. I guess it's probably a theoretical win though.

Feb-01-05  square dance: <karlzen> <I'm not sure! :)> but at least you're not sure with enthusiasm. ;-)
Feb-01-05  csmath: Ha-ha-ha.
Anyway, black has a winning position. And 42. ... Kh7 would win it. Find me anybody who wants to play it and has a decent rating (2600+) and I will beat him in this position as black, that is a bet.

I am sure Leko knows that now but it is too late. In the game he behaved like a "Leko" meaning that he decided not to take any risks since, I guess, according to his estimates he was on the edge of big trouble and that is the only reason why he engaged in a series of moves involving sacrifices. So the psychology takes over and the guy just feels happy he "saved" a draw.

By the way, notice that Topalov played quite a suspicious opening ideas, he did the same to Polgar and he lost that game. I think he is a bit too self-confident about his tactical abilities. We'll see if he feels that way playing with Gazza in Linares. I think not. ;-))

Feb-01-05  csmath: Another interesting thing about Leko's character is his insecurity about himself.

In the match with Kramnik he played quite a defensive chess in the last 4 games of the match, in the games in Corus he is immediately ready to accept the draws when he has not accomplished significant edge. Not just this game but the game with Adams where he refuses to play anything original after Adams achieved equality by playing active defence, in the game with Morozevich where Leko overdefended himself while Moro was pressing in a game he actually had nothing to press for.

Interesting character, not exactly a daring person by any standards. Gazza compared him with a tennis player that just keeps on returning the ball, I think Gazza is right though of course Leko is highly capable and skillful. I wonder if he is that way in the real life since Hungarians are usually fiery people.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Need to make a rather obvious correction. I meant to indicate in my reply to <hintza>'s post that the German web site claims a win for 42...Kh7!, where they recommend continuing with 49...Bxe4!?

I've had Fritz 8 on a long analysis, and currently at almost 19 depth, it's giving 42...Qh6!? as a best move with an evaluation of -1.34! It's also got 42...Bb7!?, evaluated at -0..78, rated as good a possibility as 42...Kh7! Interesting! Will post later after I've had a chance to at these and other possibilities, previously discussed, in more depth.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < 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. > How do you continue if 44.Nxb3 instead?
Feb-01-05  karlzen: <Gypsy>, 44.Nxb3 Ne4 45.Rd2 Qg3+ should do it. :)

<csmath: Ha-ha-ha.
Anyway, black has a winning position. And 42. ... Kh7 would win it. Find me anybody who wants to play it and has a decent rating (2600+) and I will beat him in this position as black, that is a bet.>
Is that without computer analysis?

Feb-01-05  karlzen: <Feist;>

42...Kh7 43.Qh4 Qh6 (Feist's suggestion; Qg6 is better) 44.Nc4 Bxc4 45.Qxc4 Rxf2 46.Bd3+ Kh8 47.Qc8+ (47.Re1 could hold because after Rh2+ white's king could become active in an ensuing B vs. N endgame but it is not as clear as the main line) 47...Ng8 48.Qf5 h4 49.Qxf7 Qg5 50.Qg6 Qxg6 51.Bxg6. This position is probably a draw. The bishop is advantageous in these sort of positions where there are pawns on both flanks. The b6-pawn is a liability for black and his knight has a hard time getting active.

Feb-01-05  csmath: <<44.Nxb3 Ne4 45.Rd2 Qg3+ should do it. :) <csmath: Ha-ha-ha.
Anyway, black has a winning position. And 42. ... Kh7 would win it. Find me anybody who wants to play it and has a decent rating (2600+) and I will beat him in this position as black, that is a bet.>
Is that without computer analysis? >

Of course. I have a master level of chess without a machine but I doubt I can beat Topalov just like that, even in the position as it is. However with my machine he would have no chance. ;-))

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < karlzen: <Gypsy>, 44.Nxb3 Ne4 45.Rd2 Qg3+ should do it. :) > Thanks. I actually found it, but had to work haaarrd for it. :-) It's just that such sidelines are so easy to pass by when presenting computer lines. But humans still worry about them, despite the fact that it helps to have the boost of confidence of knowing that someone's computer had found a solution in the sideline...

OTB, the situation is harder still, with worries about things like 42...Kh7 43.Kh2 Bb3 44.Qd3+ g6 45.Qxf3 Rxf2+ 46.Qxf2 Bxe1 47.Nd4 Nxd4? (47...Qe5+ ) 48.Qxf7+ = ... and such.

Feb-01-05  karlzen: <It's just that such sidelines are so easy to pass by when presenting computer lines.>, very trrruue! :)

The position is extremely complicated and finding the whole Ng4+ line is close to impossible without a computer unless you're Top 5 I'd think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < karlzen: ... The position is extremely complicated and finding the whole Ng4+ line is close to impossible ... > Absolutely.

OTB, ahead of time, with confidence = such player was not born yet

Going in on intuitive basis and working it all out on go = WC talent

Working it all out, at home but without a computer = GM-level analyst/second

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Karlzen> <acirce> If I understand your posts correctly, the consensus of your combined analysis is 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 Bc6+ 52.Kd2 Bf3 53.Ra1 g2 54.Bxg2 Qg5+ 55.Kc3 Qxg2 56.Qh4+ Kg7 57.Qd4+ f6 58.Ra7+ Bb7 59.Rxb7+ leads to a Queen endgame where Black with two connected passers wins.

If so, this would seem to settle the debate over the merit of 42...Kh7!! It wins! Thank you both for your time and effort on this extremely difficult variation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: My thanks to you <Hintza> for the help from the German web site you provided. The lines given there are accurate, and support the consensus of <Karlzen>'s and <acirce>'s combined research and analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: In the analysis below, validated with Fritz 8, I believe there is a win for Black after 42...Qh6!! Note that it transposes to <acirce's> and <Karlzen> 's <42...Kh7!!> winning line (where Fritz 8 may have found an improvement with <55. Qg5+!>, but not before offering a few traps and pitfalls for White to have to figure out first:

In the game a draw was agreed upon after 40...♕g6 41.♔h2 ♕g5 42.♔h1, but Leko could have played on and won with 42...♕h6!! <this transposes back to <acirce>'s 42...Kh7!! winning line, but gives White a few opportunities to go wrong before getting there> 43.♔g1 <43.Qxb6 Rxd2 44.Rxd2 Qxd2 45.Qe3 Qd1 46.Kg1 Ne4 47.b6 Nxf2 48.Kxf2 Qc2+ 49.Kg3 Qg6+ 50.Kf2 h4 51.Qe8+ Kh7 52.Qb5 Qg5 53.Qd3+ g6+; 43.Kh2 Ng4+ 44.hxg4 hxg4+ 45.Kg3 g5 46.Kxg4 f5+ 47.Kg3 (47.Kxf5 Be6#) 47...Qd6+ 48.Kh3 Re6 49.Qxd5 Qxd5 50.Bc4 Qd7 51.Bxe6+ Qxe6 52.Nxf3 g4+ 53.Kh2 gxf3+> 43...♔h8 44.♔h2 <44.Qxb6 Qg6+ 45.Kh2 h4 46.Ne4 Bxe4 47.Kh1 Qg5+> 44...♕g5 45.♔h1 <45.Qxb6 h4 46.Kh1 Nh5 47.Ne4 Rxe4+> 45...♔h7 46.♕d3+ g6 (transposing back to <acirce>'s 42...Kh7 line) 47.♕d4 ♘g4 48.hxg4 hxg4 49.♔g1 ♖xf2 50.♔xf2 g3+ 51.♔e1 ♕e7+ 52.♘e4 f2+ <52...Bxe4 53.Kd2 f2 (transposes to 53. Bxe4 in the main variation below) 54.Bd3 Qg5+ 55.Kc3 Bf3 56.Rf1>

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <(a) 56.Ra1 Qc5+ 57.Qxc5 bxc5 58.Bf1 g2 59.Bxg2 Bxg2 60.b6 g5 61.b7 (61.Rb1 g4 62.Kd2 g3 63.Ke2 Bb7 64.Ra1 Kh6 65.Ra7 Bd5 66.Ra1 c4 67.Rb1 Bb7 68.Rc1 c3 69.Ke3 c2 70.Ke2 f5 71.Rxc2 Ba6+ 72.Ke3 f1Q) 61...Bxb7 62.Rf1 g4 63.Rxf2 Kg6 64.Rc2 g3 65.Kd3 g2 66.Rc1 c4+ 67.Ke3 Kf5 68.Kf2 Bd5 69.Rd1 Ke5 70.Rc1 f5 71.Kg1 Kd4 72.Rd1+ Kc5 73.Rc1 Be4 74.Kf2 Kb4 75.Rd1 c3 76.Rd8 c2 77.Rc8 Kb3 78.Rb8+ Kc3 79.Rc8+ Kd2 80.Rd8+ Bd3 81.Rc8+;

(b) 56.Rb1 Kg8 (56...Qc5+? 57.Qxc5 bxc5 58.Bf1 g2 59.Bxg2 Bxg2 60.b6 Kg7=) 57.Qxb6 Qh4 58.Rf1 g2 59.Qxf2 Qxf2 60.Rxf2 g1Q 61.Rxf3 f5 62.Rf1 (62.Kd2 Kf7 63.Ke2 Ke6 64.Rf1 Qg4+ 65.Rf3 Ke5 66.Kf2 f4 67.Bf1 g5 68.Rc3 Qh4+ 69.Kg1 Qe1 70.Rc5+ Kd4 71.Rc4+ Ke3 72.Rc2 f3 73.b6 Qg3+) 62...Qe3 63.Rb1 Qb6 64.Rf1 Kf7 65.Kd2 Kf6 66.Ke2 Qd4 67.Rb1 f4 68.b6 Qe3+ 69.Kd1 Qxd3+ 70.Kc1 Qc3+ 71.Kd1 f3 72.b7 f2 73.Ke2 Qc2+ 74.Kf1 Qxb1+;

56...Qc5+ 57.Qxc5 bxc5 58.Kd2 g2 59.Rxf2 g1Q 60.Rxf3 Qd4 61.Kc2 c4 62.Be2 Qe4+ 63.Kd2 Qd4+ 64.Kc2 f6 65.Rc3 Qe4+ 66.Kd2 Qd4+ 67.Kc2 Qf2 68.Kd2 f5 69.Rxc4 g5 70.Rc7+ Kg6 71.Rc6+ Kf7 72.Rc7+ Ke6 73.Rc6+ Kd7 74.Rc2 f4 75.Kc3 f3 76.Bd3 Qg1 77.Rb2 g4 78.b6 Kc8 79.Rb1 Qc5+ 80.Kd2 g3 81.Rh1 g2 82.Rh8+ Kb7 83.Rh7+ Kxb6 84.Rh6+ Ka5+>

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: 53.♔d2 ♗xe4 54.♔e3 <54.Bd3 (transposes to the 52...Bxe4 53. Kd2 f2 54. Bd3 side variation given above)> 54...♗d5+ 55.♔d2 <55.Kd3 Qe1 56.Qh4+ Kg8 57.Qg4 Bb3 58.Qc8+ Kg7 59.Rc1 Bd5 60.Qc7 Qe4+ 61.Kd2 g2 62.Qc3+ f6 63.Qc7+ Bf7 64.Bxg2 Qxg2 65.Kd3 f1Q+ 66.Rxf1 Qxf1+> 55...♕g5+! <55...g2 56.Bxg2 Qg5+ 57.Kd3 (57.Kc3 Qxg2) 57...Qg3+ 58.Qe3+ is the winning variation given by Karlzen, following up on a suggestion by acirce> 56.♕e3 <56.Ke2 g2 57.Qxd5 Qxd5 58.Rxd5 g1Q 59.Rd3 g5 60.Rf3 Kg7 61.Rxf2 g4 62.Rg2 Qd4 63.Ke1 f5 64.Rd2 Qe3+ 65.Kd1 f4 66.Rc2 g3 67.Rc4 Kf6 68.Rc8 f3 69.Rf8+ Kg7 70.Rd8 g2+> 56...♕h4 57.♕xb6 ♕b4+ 58.♔e2 ♗c4+ 59.♔f3 ♕b3+ 60.♔g2 ♕xd1 61.♔xg3 ♕xf1 62.♕xf2 ♕xf2+ 63.♔xf2 ♗xb5+<this is way overkill, but drives home the point that Black wins decisively after 42...Qh6!! or <acirce>'s 42...Kh7!! by transposition> 01
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Karlzen> Despite Leko's and Topalov's post mortem assessment, I think you are probably correct that 37...h6!? leads to a draw (can't explain my thought that Black had winning chances, except that I was a little too influenced by the comment at TWIC that the players though highly of the move and got carried away with my own wishful thinking).

I played it out a little more seriously, analyzing every move to about 20 depth with Fritz 8, and came up with the following drawish result:

37...h6!? 38.Qd4 Nh5 39.Qxd5 Rxf2 40.Nxf3 Nf4 41.Ne5! Nxd5 42.Nxg6 fxg6 43.Bc4 Rd2 44.axb6 axb6 45.Re1 Kf8 46.Re6 g5 47.Bxd5 Rxd5 48.Rxb6 Kf7 49.Kg2 h5 50.Kf2 Rd2+ 51.Kf3 Rh2 52.Kg3 Rb2 53.Kf3 Rb3+ 54.Kg2 h4 55.Kh2 Rb2+ 56.Kg1 g6 57.Kh1 Kg7 58.Rb8 Kh7 59.b6 g4 60.hxg4 Kh6 61.b7 Kg5 62.Kg1 Rb1+ 63.Kg2 Rb4 64.Kh2 Rb6 65.Kh1 Rb3 66.Kg2 Rb1 67.Kh2 Rb4 68.Kh1 Kxg4 69.Rg8 Rxb7 70.Rxg6+ Kh3 71.Rg7 Rb2 72.Rg2 looks drawish and I can see no way for Black to push any further or improve earlier.

I suspect your 41. Ne5! was a possibility that they did not seriously investigate at the time. Of course I could be wrong (end games are definitely not my forte), but I can find no serious analysis or lines of deep analysis with Fritz 8 to prove Black gets any thing but a drawish Rook ending with 37...h6!? In any event, thanks for the education on this particualr Rook and Pawn ending.

Feb-02-05  aw1988: aw1988: Kh7!! should win!

<12 or so posts of intensive analysis later>


Yeah, it does!

What did I tell ya? ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Even though it transposes back into <acirce>'s 42...Kh7! line, the option 42...Qh6!! seems to have independent signfificance in avoiding the complications of the line 42...Kh7! 43. Qh4!? Qg6 for Black, as pointed out by <Karlzen>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <aw1988> Well, actually, I have more faith in 42...Qh6!! transposing into the 42...Kh7! line, because 42...Kh71 43. Qh4!? Qg6 could make the win problematic for Black. In any event, pushing for a win was worth a try for Leko because White's chances of surviving against strong play here were, IMHO, slim to none.
Feb-02-05  aw1988: Oh. Well, then, back to the drawing board... <mournful song>
Feb-02-05  aw1988: Oh of course. Machines may be right, but it needs to be plausible for human-human games... (the best kind)
Feb-02-05  themindset: <csmath> i have trouble understanding your comments about leko in light of this very game. 30...Nf3 definitely was *not* the safe choice in this position.

30...Nf3 is a Tal-like magical sacrifice that does not yield immediate results; and is, by its very nature, intuitive and daring. I would say that Leko here proves that he has the potential to be an attacking menace of unrivaled proportions, and he has become more so with each passing year.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <aw1988> <Oh. Well, then, back to the drawing board...> Well, yeah, that was kinda sorta my idea with 42...Qh6!! Five moves into the 42...Qh6!! line it transposes back into the main variation of the 42...Kh6!? variation, but without the problems of 42...Kh6!? 43. Qh4!? Qg6!

However, if you are patient and let the computers run for a while, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that 42...Kh6!? 43. Qh4!? Qg6! 44. Kh2 Bb3!! (a delightful surprise deflection) offers Black excellent winning chances (Fritz 8 @ 15 depth has the line at -1.50 for a Black win, but I haven't explored it in any depth yet), and <Karlzen> indicates this line (with 43...Qg6) holds some promise for Black.

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