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Levon Aronian vs Peter Leko
World Championship Tournament (2007), Mexico City MEX, rd 4, Sep-16
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation Spielmann Defense (A33)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-16-07  Marmot PFL: <DUS> 28...Be7 29.Ne4 Bxe4 30.Qxe4 Red8 is not good for black - white has space and the 2 bishops - but it has to be better than losing a piece.

Sep-16-07  DUS: Normally even a small + is enough for Aronian for a victory. Leko had less time also. Finally the commentator didn't single out any specific move of Leko as a mistake. It was a positional game and to lose the game you don't have to do an obvious mistake. Also, perhaps Leko was thinking he will get 3 pawns for the piece (I guess mentioned on this).
Sep-16-07  nikolajewitsch: Black was probably lost by then but 34....Bb5 seems odd to me; it allows White to exchange his worst, least active piece against a fairly active one.
Sep-16-07  ganstaman: <ganstaman: Ok, I don't get it. Why resign here? Is 45...Nxd4 not good for black?>

Oh, ignore me. There's an extra rook on white's side. Not sure how he snuck in there...

Sep-16-07  boz: It's hopeless for Leko.
Sep-16-07  Marmot PFL: When I counted the pawns he only got 2. Sometimes that's enough if they are mobile pawns that can advance & threaten sommething, but here the pawns are on f4 and e5, and what happens - 31.Ne4 (with the other knight on f3), just a textbook blockade. Meanwhile white has a mobile majority on the queenside, meaning the position is already resignable really. When Aronian writes his Best Games book you I bet you the price of the book you don't see this game there, simply because Leko played hundreds of points below his real level here.
Sep-17-07  notyetagm: <Marmot PFL: When I counted the pawns he only got 2. Sometimes that's enough if they are mobile pawns that can advance & threaten sommething, but here the pawns are on f4 and e5, and what happens - 31.Ne4 (with the other knight on f3), just a textbook blockade.>

Well said. If you get two extra mobile aggressive pawns for your piece, you might even be -better-, depending upon the board position.

But if your extra pawns just sit there like dead wood, then you are effectively down by a piece and lost.

Sep-17-07  scholes: 32 .. Bxe4 offered black some drawing chaces as it would have won aronian c pawn
Sep-17-07  dabearsrock1010: dang when do you see leko get killed like this, unbelievable crush by aronian...
Sep-17-07  AlfieNoakes: This is unbelievable from Leko, one of the finest defenders in the world. It's always good to see someone putting up a fight but he gets very little for his speculative knight sac. Disappointing after his strong play in the qualifiers.
Sep-17-07  attica: gives the variation 33... Bxe4 34.Qxe4 Bxc5 35.Kh1 Bxa3 36.Bc4, and remarks that black gets four pawns for the piece, but will be exposed to a dangerous attack. See the post by <DUS> above hinting at this.
Sep-17-07  percyblakeney: Nice to see Aronian win here, hopefully he is on the right track now and will keep playing better than in the first three rounds.
Sep-17-07  einneu: Leko's mistake was that he left the d7 knight unprotected.Played Re8 to prepare a rather difficult d5 and then 27....Bd8(?).After e5 probably was afraid of the continuation 28...Be7 29.e:d6 B:d6 30.Qd3 B:f4 31.Q:d7 B:c1 32.R:c1 White has two pieces for a rook and a pawn and seems to stand better in the middlegame.In this line I wonder what's happening if 30...Rc6, but black's position seems awful, maybe then 31.Nd4
Sep-17-07  Scarecrow: <einneu: Leko's mistake was that he left the d7 knight unprotected.Played Re8 to prepare a rather difficult d5 and then 27....Bd8(?)> Right! The commentators were surprised to see that move also. (Computer translation -- "mysterious motion") Their suggestion was 27...Rcd8 "and Black has everything under control".
Sep-17-07  kellmano: <Bad game by Leko. Moves like 28...dxe5? don't belong at this level.>

Presumably Leko did not miss that the knight was hanging

Sep-17-07  euripides: Leko's sacrifice does seem strange. I assume it was deliberate, though it occurs to me that (as chesspro points out) 27.e5 had been deterred by the fork after 27...dxe5 28.Rxd7 exf4, and Leko might have simply assumed this still worked after Be1. It would be a bad blunder, but blunders do sometimes arise because defensive resources planned for previous moves have ceased to work - the 8th game of Spassky-Fischer 1972 is one example. Otherwise Leko must have foreseen dynamic play for Black in some line that didn't happen.
Sep-17-07  euripides: Chesspro's suggsted <27...Rcd8> defends against c5 because after a later Bxa6 the rook will not be attacked. But Black is under some pressure.
Sep-17-07  Ulhumbrus: 26...Re8 leaves the Nd7 undefended and turns the move e5 into a potential threat as the d6 pawn will then be pinned.

One question is whether Black can afford to wait for White to do something, or whether Black has to play for a pawn advance himself and to prepare...b5, ...d5 or ...f5.

On 31 Ne4 it may be that Leko gains insufficient compensation for the piece by starting a pawn attack both now and later eg 31...f5 32 Nd6 Bc6 33 Rxd8 Rc8xd8 34 Nxe8 Rxe8 35 c5 e4 36 Nd4

It is conceivable that Leko expected a pawn attack to give him at least enough for the piece because he overlooked something or saw something too late, something which changes the evaluation completely.

Sep-17-07  Marmot PFL: Leko said in his press conference "It was just a nightmare. I spent all my time in the beginning trying to understand what physically my opponent wants in this position and there was no need to think so long because probably he didn't want anything special and OK I just got a very comfortable position. But already spent quite a lot of time. That was also the reason I went for a repetition of moves because I think the position is already quite playable for black. But then since since Levon wanted to fight. He played this f4 which gave me a wonderful position and OK I had many choices but the simplest one was not to play Bd8 but to play Be7 and next move Nf6 and I think its much more easy to play with black. White has to play some g3, h3 but b5 is hanging in the air but it just looks like a dream. But somehow I played too quickly with Bd8 which might not be a blunder objectively but I was so angry that I missed something very simple. Not the move e5 but after e5 I thought I had many possibilities and suddenly I realised what I wanted to play was just a blunder. And then this piece sacrifice which was of course just the worst possible choice. But just one move before this Be7 and Nf6 just a dream."

Crowther speculated that this loss was caused by the strain of fighting for 100 moves to draw with Gelfand the day before. Could be, but that confirms that Leko is not in good form if he has to struggle for 8 hours to draw with white against the Petroff. Maybe the rest day will help.

Sep-17-07  acirce: Yeah, this was not exactly a great win by Aronian. His play was not entirely convincing but suddenly Lékó gave him a gift totally unnecessarily.

Also, Grischuk missed a win in their game, so it has to be said that Aronian's 50% is at least slightly lucky. Not a big surprise since he is often inconsistent, but perhaps this win gives him a boost from now on.

Sep-17-07  KamikazeAttack: I have to admit I find Gelfand's games very tedious to follow. Grinding on and on and on. Zzzzz.

100 moves? What was that all about?

Sep-17-07  acirce: Yes, certainly we must do something about the long boring draws. Imagine a soccer match going on for 7 hours and ending in 0-0. Who could stand watching that? No wonder chess can't find any sponsorship.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Such a great moment of hypnotism reminds me of Petrosian. After much shuffling White appears to be trying to play e4-e5 with the line g3-b8 exposing Black's ♕. However Black defends against it. Optically 27.Be1 gives up on the e4-e5 idea and Black falls right in with 27..Bd8?? a move he wouldn't consider if just shown the position fresh without the sneaky retreat Be1 to lull him.
Sep-17-07  Resignation Trap: Photo at start of game: .
Sep-19-07  Hot Logic: I wonder if the same people who complain about Gelfand playing on also complain about Kramnik (or others) not playing on.
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