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Peter Leko vs Viswanathan Anand
"Dark Knight of the Soul" (game of the day Jan-04-2013)
Morelia-Linares (2008), Morelia MEX, rd 5, Feb-20
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  0-1



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Given 25 times; par: 63 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-21-08  anandrulez: Kudos to leko to go for this win attempt ... with Rd5 , bxc4 was .So much for leko not trying to win games...when he tries he seems a bit unlucky though his judgement is correct like in this game .
Feb-21-08  Ulhumbrus: <arnaud1959: The master definitely deserves some respect. He deliberately enters into an endgame with + against + which is known as inferior and at some point he lets his opponent with 2 connected passed pawns while he has none. Would you do the same thing?> A R+B against a R+N counts as an asset,if other things are equal, and so can connected passed pawns count as an asset . However there are other assets which a player may possess as well. One other such asset is an advantage in development, and Anand after the move 19...Ke7 is no less than four moves ahead of White in development. Moreover it may be that White gains one of the two assets which you mention - two connected passed pawns- only because Anand takes action misguidedly on the Queen side, instead of on the King side where he has a King side pawn majority, with the result that Leko gains the advantage. If so, it doesn't take mush to turn an advantage into a lost game, and it may be that Leko accomplishes that by preparing to push the wrong passed pawn, the b pawn instead of the c pawn. The ending warrants further examination.
Feb-21-08  pinakin8: How can anybody call a chess player unlucky for failing to see correct move? By that token I am the unluckiest of all ;)
Feb-21-08  Ulhumbrus: <pinakin8: How can anybody call a chess player unlucky for failing to see correct move? By that token I am the unluckiest of all ;) > According to Capablanca, the good player is always lucky. According to Fine, when you get good, you will get to be lucky. This suggests that an unlucky player is one who is not yet playing well enough to be lucky.
Feb-21-08  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: 32 Rb6-c6 obstructs White's c pawn. Instead of this 32 c4 prepares to advance the c- pawn to c8.> On b6 the rook obstructs the b-pawn, which for some tactical reasons has an easier path to queening; and as quite a lot of analysis already posted here demostrates, White would have probably won with 34.Rc8, also made possible by Rc6. After 32.c4 Black has time for 32...Rd1+ 33.Kb2 Rd2+ followed by Rxg2, whereas after 32.Rc6 as played by Leko Black doesn't have time for that: 32...Rd1+ 33.Kb2 Rd2+ 34.Kb3 Rxg2 35.b5 and he would have to give up the rook for the b-pawn (with the rook on b6 and the pawn on c4, 35.b5 in this line would fail to 35...Rb2+!).

Position after 39.Kd3:

click for larger view

Engines indicate that 39...g5! as played by Anand is definitely the best move here, although at first glance it might appear a bit mysterious - the main point is to limit the scope of the white rook and prevent Rh4+ which might have been an important defensive resource for White in several lines; for example, 40.Ke2 Nd4+ 41.Ke1 Rd8 (so far as in the game - threatening Nc2+) 43.Kf1 e2+ 44.Ke1 Re8 - and without the possibility of the check on h4 the game is over. Later, the advance of the g-pawn to g4 would also help Black to deliver mate in certain lines. And 40.Bxf3 Kxf3 41.Rh3+ Kf2 42.Rxe3 would fail to 42...Rd8+ winning the white rook.

Position after 40...Nd4+:

click for larger view

Instead of 41.Ke1 as played by Leko, 41.Kd3 loses to 41...e2 42.Re7 Rxb7!

Feb-21-08  sheaf: g5 as well as e3 were both very good moves, sometimes people seem to undermine such moves just because white missed a winning continuation earlier.
Feb-22-08  Hesam7: I remember 38.c5 being mentioned during (or maybe shortly after) the game as a saving move:

click for larger view

Here Black has three moves: 38...e3, 38...Nd4 and 38...Re8 (other moves are bad). Here is the related excerpt from chessbase:

<38.c5 might have still saved half a point: 38...e3 (38...Nd4 39.c6 Nxb5 40.c7 Nxc7 41.Rxc7=; 38...Re8 39.b6 e3 40.Ba6) 39.Re7 Nd4 (39...Ne5 40.c6 e2 41.Kd2) 40.c6 (40.b6? Nb3+) 40...Nxb5 41.c7 Nxc7 42.Rxc7 with a draw.> -- GM Rogozenko

Now couple of questions:

[1] Why is the R+B+P vs R+PPP ending drawn?
[2] What is the evaluation after: 38...Re8 39.b6 e3 40.Ba6 Nd4 ?

Feb-22-08  Eyal: <[1] Why is the R+B+P vs R+PPP ending drawn?>

Black's connected passed pawns are very strong and seem to more or less balance out White's extra piece (in the 38...Re8 line, you can see that White will be happy to part with his bishop for the e-pawn after Ba6). My engine's evaluations of those lines seem to support Rogozenko - if anyone is getting a slight advantage it's Black, but the numbers are probably too small to be significant.

<[2] What is the evaluation after: 38...Re8 39.b6 e3 40.Ba6 Nd4?>

It's a bit tricky to evaluate - since there's a race between advanced passers every tempo may be crucial, and so the evaluation of some lines can change drastically with an addition of a single ply; but sliding forward a bit I also get the impression that it should be drawn - I keep getting lines where both sides sac their minor pieces for the other side's advanced pawn(s) and it peters out to a drawn rook endgame.

Feb-22-08  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: 32 Rb6-c6 obstructs White's c pawn. Instead of this 32 c4 prepares to advance the c- pawn to c8.> Rogozenko at chessbase gives a much simpler reason than I did earlier for why 32.c4 isn't good... 32...Nxc4! 33.Bxc4 Rc8 and black is immediately out of danger.
Feb-22-08  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: 32 Rb6-c6 obstructs White's c pawn. Instead of this 32 c4 prepares to advance the c- pawn to c8.> Rogozenko at chessbase gives a much simpler reason than I did earlier for why 32.c4 isn't good... 32...Nxc4! 33.Bxc4 Rc8 and black is immediately out of danger.> That seems a good enough reason to choose Rc6, if it can win instead of only drawing.
Feb-22-08  Timeline: Anand is just a monster in these unbalanced positions. More often than not he comes out on top against other top GMs.
Jun-17-08  savarkar19: my Fritz 9 cop analysis says 34...Rc4!and indeed at the end it turns out to be a draw....!
Nov-13-08  dramas79: <<dramas79>:-)... actually in some lines of bennoni (particularly in gambit variations ) its actually considered waste of a tempo for white to castle, black pieces develop too fast and white needs to catch up with that.. but i dont know any 'general' line in Sicilian or ruy lopez where white avoids or at least delays castling.. grunfeld, semislav have some lines (shirov shabalov gambit ..anti meran lines )where white doesnt castle.. i guess e4 is already too fast for white to avoid castling in order to gain tempos.> Ha ha! Wonder if Anand read this and was grinning in Bonn!
Jun-03-09  Makiavel: when u can force the exchange of queens early in the game most of the time there's no need to castle...
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Pun....the dark Knight was a killer here. It there a play or something named "Dark night of the soul"?
Jan-04-13  DanielBryant: <HeMateMe> It's a famous poem. The term is also used in Christianity to describe a time where somebody is feeling spiritually depressed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Thank you. D.B. Is your avatar a cubbies baseball?
Jan-04-13  waustad: While playing through this at around move 30 I thought, "You won from here against Peter Leko?" I could see what white could do, but had no idea that black gould get there first.
Jan-04-13  DanielBryant: <HeMateMe> No idea what the signature says; I'm a Royals fan though.
Jan-04-13  hrocca7: I just see the game:
46. h3 Rd1+ 47. Kg2 e2 48. Rxe2
(48. Bf3 Nxf3 49. Rxe2 g4 50. hxg4 fxg4 51. c5 Rg1+ 52. Kf2 g3#) 48...Nxe2 49. Bf3 Rd2 0-1
There are a few moves after 45...Nd4
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black can now force his pawn through.
Jan-04-13  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 19 c3, 19 Rd1! undevelops the rook but it also enables White to contest the d file without having to lose more time with the rook after ...Ke7 eg 19 Rd1 Ke7 20 Bd3 Rhd8 21 Bf5
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <waustad: While playing through this at around move 30 I thought, "You won from here against Peter Leko?">

my thoughts exactly. A vintage display by Vishy.

Jan-05-13  SuperPatzer77: The final position - see diagram below:

click for larger view

After 45...♘d4!, White resigns in lieu of 46. c5 ♘f3! (Δ 47...♖f2#), 47. ♗xf3 ▢ ♔xf3 (Δ 48...♖d1#), 48. ♔e1 ♖b2! Δ 49...♖b1#, 49. ♔d1 ▢ ♖xb5, 50. c6 ♖c5, 51. c7 f4 (Now White is in complete zugzwang)

A great game by Vishy Anand!!


Oct-21-18  SpiritedReposte: Very smooth wrap up.
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