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Peter Leko vs Peter Svidler
FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005), San Luis ARG, rd 10, Oct-09
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Peter Leko vs Peter Svidler (2005)
Photograph copyright © 2005 World Chess Championship Press.  Used with permission.

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-09-05  muzzy: Leko had a nice advantage at the beginning of the middle game.
Oct-10-05  csmath: To play anti-Marshall you need to have some understanding for the position. I think Leko outplayed Svidler in the middlegame here. For some reason Leko retreats with queen 26. Qe3 and after that Svidler is able to equalize.

In the final position white will have to put his rook on a-file, perhaps even on a3 to stop the a-pawn from advancing. It is doubtful what black can do here, it is probably a draw but it wouldn't hurt if they both continued for few moves more.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: I think 34... Rb6! could have been played.

If 35. Nc2 bc 36. Ra1 Rb2! 37. Rec1 (37. Ra6 Rb1 38. Raa1 Ba2! 39. Kh2 Kh7! (39... Ra1? 40. Ra1 Bb1 41. Ra8 Kh7 42. Rc8 ) 40. Ra2 (40. f3? Kh7 ) Re1 41. Rc2 Re4 =) Ba2 41. Kf1 Rb1 42. Ke2 Rc1 46. Rc1 Bb3 47. Kd2 a5. If white exchanges on c2, it is a draw king ending at least for black (meanwhile white go to catch the a pawn, black king go to the king side). So white king must stay on the queen side to stop the a and c pawns in order to free his rook. But even in that case, I don't think white can win with the rook and the king side majority because black can defend with the king (which goes to f8-e7), and the bishop is both attacking and defensive, having a look to e6.

If white does not take the offer and plays for instance 35. Rec1 black plays 35... Rd2 at least equal.

In the game after 35. Red1 Rd1 36. Rd1 Rb6 Leko has a slightly better ending. For instance, 37. f4 a5 38. Kf2 a4 39. Ra1 Ra6 40. Ra3 , with a very small advantage for white. I am a bit disappointed he did not try to press Svidler in this position. The same thing occurred against Topalov where he took a draw in a slightly better position.

Oct-10-05  csmath: <<with a very small advantage for white. >>

I would agree they should have played a little longer but only for the sake of audience, there is no advantage for white here, he can do nothing, it is fairly easy to hold this. Push your engine for few moves more and see for yourself. If white moves knight the black rook will come to c2 and eat b2 pawn, white rook can go nowhere. White is practically paralized even with a pawn majority on the kingside. If knight and bishop are exchanged, the resulting ending is a theoretical draw.

I am not a grandmaster but I could hold this for either side fairly easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <csmath> I must tell you that that my variations are NOT computer analysis, as you suggested several times, but more exactly computer + myself analysis (I have been playing for years in FIDE tournaments with an international elo). If I see a move which the computer does not think about I play it and ask to the computer to analyse it. Sometimes (not always) it may improve the computer variations and change his evaluation. For instance, that is what happened in the above mentionned analysis on move 35 : my computer said 35. Red1 and draw. I thought 35. Nc2 desearved consideration. The same about 37... Ba2. The computer said 37... Bd3. In other words, I do not always trust computers and I do not see why I should not use my brain!

About the game, in the final position you may be right. But my idea was in my variation to try something like Ne2-c3, and black cannot invade the c file.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: "There was an interesting moment just before the end when Svidler could perhaps have sacrificed the exchange and obtained a passed pawn on the seventh rank as compensation. It entailed some risk though, and I am not surprised that he chose to let the opportunity slip gently by." (Short)
Oct-10-05  csmath: Not much of an opportunity.
It doesn't seem he would be any better after sacrificing the exchange. White can accept it and in fact it would be Svidler fighting for a draw. This way he got quite a safe draw therefore his choice was correct.

All I am saying is that in the final position this is not a GM draw, there is no advantage to anybody and in fact it is a draw easy to hold since white is paralized and cannot use the pawn majority on the kingside. It is fair for the guys not to waste energy.

Leko and Svidler have made many GM draws in their careers but this is not one of them.

No fret, I am using computer for analyses as well. I also play this line of anti-Marshall and my take is here that Leko lost his advantage somewhere in the middlegame.

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