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Peter Leko vs Alexander Morozevich
Morelia-Linares (2007), Morelia MEX, rd 2, Feb-18
French Defense: McCutcheon. Lasker Variation (C12)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-19-07  geraldo8187: man, i haven't seen such a good french game in a long time
Feb-19-07  Shams: some French player please tell me why 12...Nc6 isn't stronger than Nd7
Feb-19-07  HolyKnight: Why have you not seen such a good French Game for so long? I play the French as my main line defense the only time I regret it is when the exchange variation gets played by white. It's almost a relief to me, thank God he played e4.
Feb-19-07  ganstaman: <Shams: some French player please tell me why 12...Nc6 isn't stronger than Nd7>

Well, I attempt to be a French player. I tried to guess the moves before seeing them and I guessed 12...Nc6 (which was wrong :( ). At first I thought it had something to do with kingside defense, but I can't really see how that would work.

So, both Nc6 and Nd7 hit on the e5 square. Nc6 also gets d4, but black will have trouble controlling that square (as black has trouble in every variation of the French). I would still pressure that square though, so eh...

Nd7 also lets the knight go to c5. Perhaps posting the knight there was part of his plan from the 12th move?

So maybe I didn't really help, but if this was a test and I needed to answer now, I'd go with him wanting c5 more than d4.

Ok, so I wanted a mored complete answer, so I went to these games: Games Like Leko vs Morozevich, 2007

Seems like kingside defense and going to c5. At least that's what I got out of those.

Feb-19-07  Shams: <g-man> thanks. was just thinking that ...Nc6 hits e5 too, since white can't recapture on d4 with the queen as in the game. for the life of me I can't see how white handles his center here.
Feb-19-07  HolyKnight: Nc6 is the normal move. Looks like Morozevich had found something new with Nd7. In the French one of the strengths of the opening is the pawns on f7, e6, and d5. White is trying to bust up those pawns to take advantage of his better development.
Feb-19-07  Shams: HolyKnight, thanks.

follow-up question: 12...Nc6 13.?

Feb-19-07  HolyKnight: In the data base they have 8 games with 13. Qf4 if black played 12... Nc6.
Feb-19-07  ganstaman: <Shams> Oh, I see that now. Well, it seems that in those games I linked to, 12...Nc6 is met with 13. Qf4, protecting e5 and eye-ing the f6-square. Granted, the sample size I provided is quite small, but they seem mostly consistent amongst themselves.
Feb-19-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  jahhaj: Andrew Martin in a ChessBase broadcast was speculating what would have happened if Leko had played 13.Bxg6. 13...Rg8 loses to 14.Qxe6+, 13...fxg6 14.Qxe6+ Kd8 15.Qxd5 doen't look much fun for Black, that leaves 13...Nb6 a move which AM described as a joke when a listener suggested it (it's Fritz's move).

Any ideas? 13.Bxg6 seems the obvious drawback to the novelty 12...Nd7. Although I can understand why Leko didn't play it at the time, it seems quite strong.

Feb-19-07  bob000: Perhaps Leko was hesitatant to play an obvious, commital move immediately after Moro introduced his novelty.
Feb-19-07  percyblakeney: Already after a dozen moves or so Leko seemed to have a big advantage, but as in Aronian-Carlsen black somehow took over the game even if it ended with a draw. Well played by Moro after what looked like a dubious opening.
Feb-19-07  euripides: The last MacCutcheon I remember at the top level:

Leko vs Radjabov, 2003

Feb-19-07  ganstaman: <percyblakeney: Already after a dozen moves or so Leko seemed to have a big advantage, but as in Aronian-Carlsen black somehow took over the game even if it ended with a draw. Well played by Moro after what looked like a dubious opening.>

Weren't the first 12 moves or so mainline MacCutcheon?

Feb-19-07  Lt. Col. Majid: Moro could well be the next Topalov in terms of improving late.

His chess hasn't matured despite his experience. It all depends on how far he wants to go.

I believe he has what it takes to do better. He is far from solid at the highest level. He needs to be more dedicated, do a lot of work to improve his opening repertoire and he would be a real force to contend with.

Feb-19-07  percyblakeney: <Weren't the first 12 moves or so mainline MacCutcheon?>

Probably :-) Nd7 looked a bit strange though and I couldn't understand why Leko didn't play 13. Bxg6, but engines see Nb6 followed by Na4 as interesting for black, so Moro must have been prepared for that line.

Feb-19-07  TylerD: Lt. Col: I agree completely. Only Morozevich sets the limits for Morozevich. This is partly what makes him interesting.

Personally I still firmly believe that the day will come when he dominates a supertournament - and wins it.

BTW: I for one am NOT disappointed with his start in this tournament. The loss against Carlsen was OK in that it was a beautiful fighting game against a player that played a great game. And the Lekogame felt fine as well - Moro choosing an interesting, old and (nowadays) odd opening, true to his style. This tournament can still turn out great for Morozevich.

I bet he will have the most played moves of the tournament. He is always top3 in this regard, which reflects his great fighting attitude.

Feb-19-07  TylerD: Nb6 setting up a sharp counterattack, signalling a willingness to absorve White s initative on the kingside - seems like an interesting respond to 13 BXg6. Furthermore, there are psychological factors to be reckoned with. The game that would have emerged after such moves (bxg6, nb6) seems better suited to Moro s strengths and taste than Leko s... a sharp, dynamic game with threats and counterthretas and lots of tactics...
Feb-21-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: Leko's play in the first two rounds does not look very convincing. He should have lost against Ivanchuk and here he made a questionable pawn sac with 26.Rb1?!. In my opinion, 26...Bxa2 27.Rb2 Bd5 could be safely played for Black. The compensation for the pawn looks unclear.
Feb-26-07  beenthere240: Sinking a knight in at d6 (move 25) is usually very strong for white but here it led nowhere. however <mateo> if 26...Bxa2 27 Qf4 threatening mate might be stonger than your suggestion of 27 Rb2. And after the queens were exchanged, white's a2 pawn was still untakable because of the weak pawn on b6. After Rb8 of course, the a pawn did have to be defended. I think 26 Rb1 was an interesting offer, but black didn't have to accept it -- and didn't.
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