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Viswanathan Anand vs Peter Leko
"Game of the Wijk" (game of the day Apr-04-2013)
Corus Group A (2006), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 5, Jan-19
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-19-06  Ulhumbrus: 11...Nd7 moves the N again. 11..Rc8 gets the QR out.
Jan-19-06  you vs yourself: I saw this game around move 22 and went to class thinking it'd be a draw. Boy, was I wrong! Good game by Vishy.
Jan-19-06  Ulhumbrus: 30 c5! transforms Black's central pawns from an asset into a liability, a matter worth pondering. It brings a famous Fischer-Najdorf game (Santa Monica 1966) to mind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ulhumbrus> Nice call! Here is the game for anyone who is curious.

Fischer vs Najdorf, 1966

I am always glad to see the Najdorf beaten in positional style.

Jan-19-06  Whitehat1963: What's the finish? I can't see it. What happens after Leko moves the rook?
Jan-19-06  Brown: What is the purpose of 14...Na5 if black doesn't exchange knight for bishop?
Jan-19-06  Koster: Leko had easy opening then went completely passive. Black should play b5 and get active counterplay on b and c files, not make silly moves like Nc8 and h6. He played with no plan at all except to respond to Anand's activity. Anand looks to play just about perfectly from move 20 to move 36. I thought 37. Nxe5 was an easier win than Qxe6 giving up the b and c pawns but Anand sees that the passed d pawn must win.
Jan-19-06  hippatxu: <Whitehat1963: What's the finish? I can't see it. What happens after Leko moves the rook?> Black is in a virtual zugzwang, If now 49...Rh8 50. Rxa5 followed of 51. Raa8 winning.
Jan-19-06  SniperOnG7: The pawn structure from 23. c4 onwards is similar to a subvarition of the positional line of the Sveshnikov. EG
Kamsky vs Illescas-Cordoba, 1996
According to Dorian Rogozenko in his book <The Sveshnikov Reloaded> "The entire battle is around Black's two weaknesses: the d6 and e6 pawns. White must always keep pressure on them and at the same time try to transfer the knight to d3. The only real chance for White to break through is the advance c4-c5, therefore the knight tour to d3 is essential to chase the black queen away from c5." From this statement one can see that Anand's moves were very thematic and clearly show how Black's position is to be broken. In addition, it explains why Leko played 27...Qc5 though probably the move came too late as White was able to force through a c4-c5 anyway. It is interesting to note that Rogozenko said that Black can equalize in these positions though he has to work from a slightly worse position and therefore he has to play very accurately to keep a draw. Leko was not able to hold this difficult position though maybe he should of since he has played the Sveshnikov before :/ Sorry i cannot provide any analysis as i just started learning the Sveshnikov (and i dont play the najdorf) so maybe i should shut up and let a sveshnikov player (eg <aw1998> or najdorf player to do the talking. :D
Jan-20-06  mlotay: I'm not a very good player but I thought the idea here is to control d5 - whichever side does this has the positional adv., I think 23. c4 was the key move, after which Leko is really pegged back. The development of the queen from 25. Qe2 onwards I found quite instructive too.
Jan-20-06  csmath: Leko's problems start with

23. ... Nc8?! (overly defensive move)

26. ... Qb6 - 27. ... Qc5 - 28. ... Rc7

Meaningless manouvre just exposing the queen as a target. It seems Leko wants to shift his rooks to f-file but he will not have the time to do that because Anand dynamically attacks the weaknesses d6, e6, and e5 immediately with a tempo because of the exposed queen.

29. Nd3 ... Qc6

30. c5!

Here the game is already over!
This is where the positional game has been decided and there is no way out.

The manner in how easily Anand outplayed Leko positionally in the middlegame here is impressive, the game itself is not. Leko is not in a good form.

Jan-20-06  chessnewbie: couldn't 22....Nb2...that would fork both queen and rook there
Jan-20-06  chessic eric: No, <chessnewbie> the e2 rook captures the knight.
Jan-20-06  chessic eric: <Brown> the purpose of 14...Na5 was, with 15...Rc8, to control c4. 16...Nb6 was also devoted to controlling that square. The trouble for Leko was that after the piece exchanges on b6 and e6 and Leko's 21...Nc4 his control of that square could not be held once Anand began the slow advance of his queenside pawns with b2-3 (dislodging the knight) and c3-4-5. In effect what Leko had been playing for in the middle game - the restriction of Anand's queenside - was not achieved by his moves. Usually that will mean a loss...
Feb-12-06  Tariqov: <Ulhumbrus>if 11...Rc8?! then white gets the d5 square that is the reason of Bg5 to take the f6 knight.11...Nd7 protects d5 by a later Nb6 as in the game.
Feb-17-06  patzer2: Here's an analysis with the Opening Explorer, Fritz 8 and two online sources:

<1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6> Entering the Sicilian, Najdorf (B90). <6. Be3> White plays for a positional advantage. The main alternatives are 6. Bg5 as in Naiditsch vs J Smeets, 2006. and 6. Be2! as in Adams vs Topalov, 2006. <6...e5 7. Nf3> This quiet move has been good for White, winning 41% and losing only 18% of 215 games in the Opening Explorer. More often played is 7. Nb3 as in Karjakin vs Anand, 2006. <7...Be7 8. Bc4 O-O 9. O-O Be6> Worth considering is 9...Nc6 as in Areshchenko vs E Ghaem Maghami, 2005. <10. Bb3 Nc6> The alternative 10...b5 is out of fashion and hasn't seen much play since Kramnik vs Topalov, 2003. <11. Bg5 Nd7> Double-edged is 11...Na5 as in Ivanchuk vs Kasparov, 1995 or Anand vs Gelfand, 1996. Also worth a try is 11...Rc8 as in Benjamin vs D Sellos, 1989. <12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Nd5 Qd8 14. c3 Na5 15. Re1 Rc8 16. h3 Nb6?!> This is a positional error. The exchange of Knights allows White to target and undermine Black's pawn structure. Instead, "16...b5= was fine for Leko," per the Corus tourmanemt report at <17. Nxb6 Qxb6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Re2 Rc6 20. Qd3 Qc7 21. Rd1 Nc4?!> "(Leko) drifts into trouble with this move...better was 22...b5," per the Corus tournament report. <22. b3 Nb6 23. c4 Nc8?!> Black's last chance of holding the position was 23...Nd7. After missing this move, the Corus report says Black is "structurally lost." The ChessBase report adds "after 23...Nc8?!," the Knight has "a nice view of Anand's structural demolition."

Feb-17-06  patzer2: <24. Red2 h6 25. Qe2 Kh7 26. h4 Qb6 27. h5! Qc5 28. Ne1! Rc7 29. Nd3 Qc6 30. c5!> After this strong move "...Black is picked apart by Anand's ruthless precision," per the Chess Base analysis at <30...Ne7> No help for Black is 30... Qb5 31. Qg4 Rf6 32. Qg3 . <31. Qg4!> Pressuring a second pawn and tightening White's grip on Black's position. <31...Rf6 32. b4!> This move anchors the pawn on c5 and tightens the bind on Black. He has run out of useful moves. <32...d5> What else? After 32... Nc8 33. cxd6 Nxd6 34. Nxe5 Qxe4 35. Qg6+!, Black is busted. <33. Nxe5 Qa4 34. Qg3 Rc8> No help for Black is 34... Qxb4 35. Ng4 with a winning discovered attack. <35. Ng4 Rf7 36. Qd6 Rcf8 37. Qxe6> Also strong and winning quickly is 37. Ne5! Rxf2 38. Qxe7 Rxd2 39. Rxd2 . However, Anand has another winning idea in mind involving a passed pawn. <37... Qxb4 38. exd5 Qxc5 39. d6 Nc6 40. d7 Nd8 41. Qe4+ Qf5 42. Re2! Qxe4 43. Rxe4 b5 44. f3 a5 45. Ne5 Rf6 46. Ng6 Rg8 47. Re8 Rf7 48. Rd5 b4 49. Ne7 1-0>

Black resigned in lieu of possibilities such as 49...♖h8 50. ♖e5 ♖hf8 51. ♘g6 ♔g8 52. ♘xf8 ♖xf8 53. ♖f5 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Anand's win is very convincing.
Apr-04-13  sorch: 49. Ne7 is lethal because it protects with tempo the d7 pawn. At 49...Rh8 50. Rxa5 Rf8 51. Rxf8 Rxf8 52. Ra8. Zugzwang. The single line 52...Rf7 53. Rxd8 Rxe7 blocks the black king. No way for 54...g5-> hxg6 and the pawn cannot be taken (Rg8+).
Apr-04-13  Abdel Irada: Black's endgame position was indeed quite wijk.
Apr-04-13  kevin86: Black's position is about to collapse,so he baled.
Apr-04-13  mira94: Yea, game of the week :)
Apr-04-13  Travis Bickle: Why would such a positional player, draw boy like Leko play The Najdorf?? He should play The French. ; P
Apr-04-13  Abdel Irada: <kevin86: Black's position is about to collapse,so he baled.>

That works well with hay; not so well with chess positions.

(Or are you saying his position was held together with spit and baling wire?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Abdel Irada>: Perhaps <kevin86>'s intended meaning was that Leko's mood became so <baleful> [in the somewhat archaic use of that word to mean wretched or miserable], he decided to <bail> out of the game.
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