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Peter Leko
Photo copyright © 2006 by Milan Kovacs (  

Number of games in database: 2,533
Years covered: 1989 to 2020
Last FIDE rating: 2663 (2710 rapid, 2738 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2763
Overall record: +389 -202 =1028 (55.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 914 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (435) 
    B90 B32 B33 B42 B80
 Ruy Lopez (248) 
    C78 C67 C84 C89 C92
 Sicilian Najdorf (122) 
    B90 B93 B91 B92 B97
 French Defense (119) 
    C11 C18 C10 C16 C12
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (118) 
    C84 C89 C92 C95 C99
 Caro-Kann (85) 
    B12 B17 B18 B10 B11
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (195) 
    B33 B30 B31 B65 B90
 Ruy Lopez (151) 
    C84 C65 C89 C67 C78
 Queen's Indian (133) 
    E15 E12 E14
 Grunfeld (105) 
    D85 D97 D91 D79 D82
 English, 1 c4 c5 (96) 
    A30 A33 A35 A37 A34
 Nimzo Indian (85) 
    E32 E20 E53 E21 E55
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kramnik vs Leko, 2004 0-1
   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004 1/2-1/2
   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004 1-0
   Leko vs Radjabov, 2006 1-0
   Anand vs Leko, 2005 0-1
   Leko vs E Ghaem Maghami, 2001 1-0
   Leko vs Radjabov, 2003 1-0
   Leko vs Kasparov, 2003 1/2-1/2
   Leko vs Beliavsky, 1998 1-0
   Leko vs W Heckel, 1989 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000)
   Kramnik - Leko Classical World Championship Match (2004)
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005)
   World Championship Tournament (2007)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Budapest FS04 GM (1993)
   Linares (2003)
   Corus Group A (2005)
   World Youth Championship (Under-14) (1993)
   Australian Open 1992/93 (1992)
   Dortmund Candidates (2002)
   ARG-World (1994)
   Balatonbereny Open (1992)
   Amber Blindfold (2006)
   Biel (2019)
   Tilburg Fontys (1997)
   Legends of Chess (2020)
   Dresden Olympiad (2008)
   Dortmund Open-A (1992)
   Istanbul Olympiad (2000)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Leko! by docjan
   Match Leko! by amadeus
   Exchange sacs - 1 by Baby Hawk
   Exchange sacs - 1 by obrit
   Leko! by larrewl
   2001-2007, 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 or 5.Nbd2, Rated 2700+ by cybermarauder
   maestro37's favorite games C89 Marshall by maestro37
   Lékó vs. Carlsen by Method B
   maestro37's favorite games C89 Marshall by nakul1964
   maestro37's favorite games C89 Marshall by nakul1964

   🏆 Legends of Chess
   Ding Liren vs Leko (Jul-29-20) 1-0, rapid
   Leko vs Ding Liren (Jul-29-20) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Ding Liren vs Leko (Jul-29-20) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Leko vs Ding Liren (Jul-29-20) 1/2-1/2, rapid
   Gelfand vs Leko (Jul-28-20) 1/2-1/2, rapid

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Peter Leko
Search Google for Peter Leko
FIDE player card for Peter Leko

(born Sep-08-1979, 44 years old) Hungary
[what is this?]

International Master (1992); Grandmaster (1994); U16 World Champion 1996; Candidate 2002 (PCA) and 2007; Classical World Championship Challenger (2004).


Péter Lékó was born in Subotica in Northern Serbia. When he became a grandmaster in 1994 at the age of 14 years 4 months and 22 days, he was the youngest person ever to have become a grandmaster (GM), and the first under 15, eclipsing the records previously set by Robert James Fischer in 1958 and then by Judit Polgar in 1991. In 1996 he won the World U16 Championship. Eight years later in 2004, he contested the Classical World Championship against the incumbent Vladimir Kramnik. He has been a regular participant in the World Championship cycle and in major tournaments since he was 15.

Classical Tournaments:

Lékó’s first encounter as a participant in a super tournament occurred as a 15 year old in 1995, when he created a minor sensation by placing 3rd at the category 17 Dortmund event. Between 1995 and 1997, he capitalised on his success and started building his reputation by winning several GM tournaments in Denmark, Cuba and Columbia (Yopal (1997)). In 1998 he came in second behind Viswanathan Anand at the category 18 Tilburg Fontys (1998). Lékó’s first super tournament victory came at the category 19 tourney at Dortmund in 1999. The following year, he placed =2nd with 8/13, a point and a half behind Garry Kasparov at the category 18 Corus Group A (2000), and =3rd behind Kasparov and Kramnik at the category 21 Linares (2000). His form continued into 2001 when he came 3rd at Dortmund, a category 21 event that year, and then into 2002 when he took 2nd place at the category 17 Essen quadrangular, =3rd behind Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand at the category 18 NAO Masters in Cannes, and 2nd at the category 16 Borowski tournament behind Vadim Zvjaginsev, also winning that year’s edition of Dortmund, which doubled as a Candidates tournament to select a challenger for Classical World Champion Kramnik. He maintained his good form into 2003 and onwards to the extent that won the Category 20 Linares ahead of Kramnik and Kasparov, placed 3rd behind Nigel Short and Judit Polgar at the Category 17 “Talent and Courage” GM tournament in Hungary, and placed 2nd in the 2004 edition of Linares (also category 20).

Shortly after his near-miss at winning the World Championship match against Kramnik (see below), Lékó came 2nd at the category 19 Corus Group A (2004) behind Anand and then won the Corus Group A (2005) ahead of Anand, Topalov and Kramnik. Lékó thus became the fifth player to win what were then the "big three" annual super tournaments, namely Corus, Linares, and Dortmund. In 2004, he also won the Petrosian Memorial Tournament with 4/6 ahead of Peter Svidler on tiebreak, and half a point ahead of Kasparov, Anand, Etienne Bacrot and Rafael Vaganian. He experienced something of a hiatus in terms of results until 2006, when he won the 1st Tal Memorial (2006). In 2007, he placed =2nd behind Kramnik, while in 2008, he again won at Dortmund, and then came 2nd at Dortmund Sparkassen (2009). There followed a longer hiatus in leader board results, broken only by a medals winning performance at the Russian Team Championships (see below) and 2nd place in the Sigeman & Co (2012) behind Fabiano Caruana and =3rd at Dortmund Sparkassen (2012), a half point behind Sergey Karjakin and Caruana. More recently he placed 5th at the category 20 Tata Steel Group A (2013), =3rd at the category 19 Dortmund Sparkassen (2013) and =2nd at Dortmund Sparkassen (2014).

World Championship:

Lékó’s good form in tournaments did not carry over into his early assaults on the FIDE World Championship. The 19-year old was seeded directly into round two of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999) that was staged in Las Vegas. He won his first match against Christian Bauer, but lost in the 3rd round to Sergei Movsesian. His next attempt was a repeat of the first. Seeded directly into the 2nd round of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000) played in New Delhi and Tehran, Lékó defeated Sergey Volkov, but then lost in an extended tiebreaker to defending FIDE World Champion, Alexander Khalifman. He also lasted the first two rounds of the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001/02) played in Moscow, losing to then-six time Armenian champion, Ashot Gamletovich Anastasian, in the second round.

Under the terms of the "Prague Agreement" facilitated by Yasser Seirawan, and intended to unite the two World Chess Championships that had split in 1993, Leko's 2002 win at Dortmund qualified him to play a match against Vladimir Kramnik. It was intended that the winner of this match would play the winner of a match between Kasparov and the FIDE World Chess Champion (first Ruslan Ponomariov, then Rustam Kasimdzhanov) to decide the undisputed world champion. After several delays, the Kramnik - Leko Classical World Championship Match (2004) was held from September 25-October 18, 2004 in Brissago, Switzerland. Lékó came extremely close to becoming Hungary's first World Champion. Leading by one point going into the fourteenth and final game, he was beaten by Kramnik who thereby tied the match 7-7 and retained his title.

In October 2005, Lékó was invited by reason of his Classical World Championship match with Kramnik in 2004 to play in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005) in San Luis, Argentina. He accepted the invitation but only placed fifth out of a field of eight with 6½/14 points. However, this was sufficient for him to qualify for the 2007 Candidates Tournament to determine the final four qualifiers to the World Championship Tournament (2007). At the Candidates matches, he won the Candidates Match: Leko - Gurevich (2007) (+3−0=1) and the Candidates Match: Bareev - Leko (2007) (+2−0=3), to qualify for the eight-player championship tournament in Mexico City, where he finished fourth out of eight.

Lékó placed 7th in the 2008-2009 Grand Prix series, and as he did not compete in the World Cup (2009), he did not qualify for the Candidates tournament of matches that were eventually held in Kazan in 2011. There followed a disastrous result at the World Cup (2011), when he was eliminated in the first round – and from the 2013 World Championship cycle - by the young US GM Samuel Shankland. His 2014 campaign for the World Championship started modestly at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012) when he placed outright 5th with 6/11, starting his GP points tally with 80 points. In his remaining Grand Prix events, the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012), the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013) and the FIDE Grand Prix Beijing (2013), he scored totals of 5.5/11 (+1 -1 =9) (7th place), 5/11 (+0 -1 =10) (=7th place) and 6/11 (+1 =10) (=3rd place), adding a total of 200 GP points to make a best-of-3-event total of 230, ending his chances to finish in the top 2 and thereby qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. He had a chance to qualify for the Candidates via the World Cup (2013) for which he qualified by reason of his rating; he defeated Norwegian GM Leif Erlend Johannessen in the first round but in one of the shocks of the round, he lost to Peruvian #1 Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga in the second round.

For the 2016 World Championship cycle, Lékó qualified for the World Cup (2015) through his rating. He defeated Alexey Goganov and Wen Yang in the first two rounds but lost to Anish Giri in the third round to be eliminated from the Cup.

Other Matches:

<Classical>: In 2000, he defeated Alexander Khalifman in match play in Budapest by 4.5-1.5. In 2015, he lost the Leko - Li Chao (2015) match by 2-4.

<Fischer Random Chess>: In 2001, Lékó narrowly defeated Michael Adams in an eight-game match played as part of the Mainz Chess Classic.

<Rapid>: From 2005 until 2010, Péter Lékó has played a rapid chess match in the Hungarian city of Miskolc:

• In 2005, he drew Leko & Adams (2005) 4–4

• In 2006, he won the Leko - Karpov Match (2006) 4½–3½

• In 2007, he lost the Leko - Kramnik Rapid Match (2007) 3½–4½. In 2007 he also played the Ivanchuk - Leko Rapid Match (2007) losing by 6½-7½, and then lost the rematch, the Ivanchuk - Leko Match (2009), by 2½-3½.

• In 2008, he lost the Carlsen - Leko Rapid Match (2008) 3–5

• In 2009, he lost the Leko - Anand Rapid Match (2009) 3–5 and

• In 2010, he lost the Leko - Gelfand Match (2010) 3½–4½


Lékó was somewhat more successful in rapid tournaments. In 1999, he won the Rapid Grand Prix in Bordeaux (France) and two years later (in 2001), he won the Rapid Master Event in Nordhorn. In 2002, he won the Rapid Grand Prix in Dubai and managed to place 3rd at Monaco 2002. In 2007, he took first place at the ACP Rapid (2007) and =2nd at the 16th Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2007). In 2008, he was =3rd at the Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2008) and =5th, a half point behind the four joint leaders, at the Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2008). In June 2013, he placed =3rd behind Karjakin and Topalov at the Sberbank Rapid Open 2013 held in Ukraine. In December 2013, he was =1st alongside Wang Yue at the SportAccord World Mind Games (Men, Rapid) (2013) with 5/7.

Team Events:

<Olympiads>: He represented Hungary in the Olympiads of 1994, 1996, 2000, Bled Olympiad (2002), Olympiad (2008), Chess Olympiad (2010), Chess Olympiad (2012) and Chess Olympiad (2014), winning team silver in 2002 and 2014 and individual gold for board 1 in 2008.

<World Team Championship>: Lékó represented Hungary at the World Team Championships in 2001 and at the World Chess Team Championship (2011), both times on board 1. On the latter occasion he won individual bronze.

<European Team Championships>: He represented the Hungary 3 team on board 4 in the European Team Championships in 1992, when he was a 13 year old FM, posting a modest +3 =4 -2 result. He again played for Hungary in 1999, this time on board 1 and won team and individual silver. There followed a long absence from the competition until the European Team Championship (2011) when he lead his national team from board 1 to team bronze.

<European Club Cup>: Lékó played for Honved Budapest from 1995 until 1997, winning team silver in his inaugural year in the competition. Lékó’s absence from the ECC since then was also notable for its length as he did not resume until 2012 when he was recruited to play board 3 for DhSM-64 Moscow, winning team bronze. In 2013 he played board 2 for Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, which placed 6th, (1) while in the European Club Cup (2014) he played board 3 for Malakhit Ekaterinburg, helping his team to a bronze medal. (2)

<Other Team Competition>: He played board 3 for the Rest of the World in the Russia - The Rest of the World (2002), helping his team defeat Russia with a personal performance of +2 =7 -1. Lékó also played with his ShSM-64 Moscow team in the Russian Team Championship (2012) on board 3, winning individual silver and team bronze. Playing for Malachite in the Russian Team Championship (2014), he won individual silver for board 3 and helped his team to win the gold medal.


Lékó entered the top 100 in July 1995 and has remained in the top 100 since. He has been ranked as high as fourth on the FIDE World Rating List, that ranking first being achieved in April 2003 and from April to December 2005, when he also reached his peak rating of 2763 (April-September 2005). He was in the world’s top 10 for most of the decade from January 2000 until November 2009 and has been rated over 2700 since July 1999.


Peter Lékó married Sofya Petrosyan, the daughter of Armenian grandmaster Arshak B Petrosian, on September 2nd 2000. He currently lives in Szeged, Hungary. His hobbies are soccer, tennis, bowling and music.


Live rating list: Wikipedia article: Peter Leko Lékó’s official website:

(1); (2)

Last updated: 2020-10-11 03:31:34

 page 1 of 102; games 1-25 of 2,533  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. D Seyb vs Leko ½-½311989Nuremberg opB22 Sicilian, Alapin
2. Leko vs U Jahr  0-1501989Nuremberg opC07 French, Tarrasch
3. Leko vs W Heckel 1-0251989Nuremberg opA07 King's Indian Attack
4. Leko vs R Leitao  0-1501989wch u10bA07 King's Indian Attack
5. D Indjic vs Leko  0-1511989Werfen Open-AD91 Grunfeld, 5.Bg5
6. Leko vs A Rotstein 0-1431989Werfen Open-AA07 King's Indian Attack
7. R Hanel vs Leko  1-0541989Werfen Open-AA27 English, Three Knights System
8. Leko vs A Labarthe 1-0411990Paris-ch opB01 Scandinavian
9. Leko vs M Meiser  1-0301990St IngbertB07 Pirc
10. Leko vs K Pytel  0-1341990St IngbertB10 Caro-Kann
11. Leko vs S H Grunberg 0-1411990Budapest Spring opB02 Alekhine's Defense
12. Leko vs T Souche 1-0401990Paris-ch opC44 King's Pawn Game
13. B Kusic vs Leko 1-0741990Nuremberg opD94 Grunfeld
14. Leko vs W Von Alvensleben  1-0341990Budapest Spring opB12 Caro-Kann Defense
15. Leko vs W Wirth  ½-½411990Nuremberg opB86 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
16. G Koschka vs Leko 0-1541990Nuremberg opB57 Sicilian
17. S Gorgievski vs Leko 0-1501990Paris-ch opA07 King's Indian Attack
18. M Gretzer vs Leko 0-1241990Nuremberg opD85 Grunfeld
19. Leko vs A Alawieh 0-1591990Paris-ch opC41 Philidor Defense
20. T Brionne vs Leko  0-1271990Paris-ch opD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
21. Leko vs R Leitao 1-0201990Wch U12B02 Alekhine's Defense
22. B Stein vs Leko  ½-½491991Dortmund-DA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
23. Leko vs S Buecker 0-1531991Dortmund-DC41 Philidor Defense
24. Leko vs G Mainka 1-0341991Dortmund-DC03 French, Tarrasch
25. V Bukal Sr vs Leko  ½-½371991Dortmund-DA15 English
 page 1 of 102; games 1-25 of 2,533  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Leko wins | Leko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 99 OF 99 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-16-16  john barleycorn: <perfidious> Karpov is one of my heroes.
Jan-28-16  Caissanist: Wrt "what happened" to keep him from returning to the world championship level after playing his first match at 25, let me trot back out the same thing I've been reposting for nine years, which still seems right to me:

<He's always had the skills that are more typical of an older player, so in hindsight it's maybe not surprising that he hasn't been able to improve since 2002, and now may even be in decline. He was 33 when he was 23.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Caissanist> Your post on Leko reminds me of baseball players who have possessed what writer and sabermetrician Bill James referred to, more than once, as old player's skills.

Of course, the peak in baseball is generally considered to be substantially earlier than that of the chess player (27 is generally accepted, due in large part to James' research, vis-à-vis ~35 in chess).

Jan-28-16  Caissanist: Perceptive man! I actually lifted my last sentence verbatim from an old piece of James writing, or at least from my memory of it.

From what I can tell, chess players don't really reach their peak much later than baseball players, at least not anymore, although they are capable of staying at their peak for much longer. Anand, of course, became world champion in his forties, but he was already #2 in his twenties, so it was more about him inheriting the mantle than getting better. I can't think of any other current top player who didn't reach his top ranking by age 30.

Sep-08-16  TheFocus: Draw, Peter?

Happy birthday.

Oct-05-16  cplyakap: His destiny is as same as Radjabov.Finally he dropped from 2700's.He's 2699 now.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Having thus fallen from grace, Leko is doomed for ever to grace top tournaments as cannon fodder--in such invitations as he receives--and duke it out in swisses for $10K first prizes; no more will he be mentioned as anything but 'Drawko' or the man who choked against Kramnik.

A bit of historical perspective would be most welcome, rather than dismissive horsebleep of someone who is a clearly stronger player than about every kibitzer on this site.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I decided to watch some British soccerball this morning. I watched Manchester City versus West Bromwich Albion.

To my surprise West Bromwich Albion had a player with the surname Leko. Jonathan Leko.

I do not believe that Jonathan Leko is Hungarian but the two look very similar. Perhaps distant cousins.

Here he is playing for West Bromwich Albion:

Feb-20-17  ex0duz: Can someone tell me just what happened to Leko? He used to be a staple 2700+ SuperGM(and not just 2700, but like comfortably over, like 2730-40 at least IIRC), same as Radjabov(but Radjabov was even higher at like 2790~ at one point for a long time.. no?)

What happened to these guys? Radjabov, i can understand if he just got married or had a kid etc, but hasn't Leko been married for a long time now? Did he have a kid in the last few years or something and wanted to spend more time with his kid or something instead of being pro chess player?

But he still plays in tourneys these days doesn't he?

Or yeah.. did organizers just stop inviting him from all the closed SuperTourneys, and thus all his games(aka draws) vs lower rated players in opens etc no longer cuts it and that's why he can't get back to where he used to be? lol.

Apr-18-17  eyalbd: I like Peter's commentary very much. Excellent chess knowledge, excellent explanations on the human aspects of the game, vast experience, very good English and above all a nice man that does give credit to other players when due.
Apr-18-17  ozmikey: <eyalbd> Agreed. He's been an absolute joy to listen to on the Grenke tournament.

His English has always been very good - he played in the Australian Open in 1993 (I think it was) as a 13-year-old, and even then managed press interviews, chats with the local players, etc. very confidently. (His chess wasn't too shabby either...)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: Yesterday Peter Leko won on board one against Fabiano Caruana in the German Bundesliga. Leko refused to go for an early repetition which is already remarkable.

I looked at the statistics of the two, which has a noteworthy feature. Their previous games were played between 2008 and 2014. Leko scored 3-0 with seven draws. In these ten games he had nine times White! And yesterday he play White again.

Mar-03-19  Ron: The game that <Telemus> mentions is not yet in's database.

Analysis of the recent Leko-Caruana game here:

My comments: Leko opened the game with D4. Earlier in his career, Leko mostly played E4. I'm glad to see Leko playing D4, I think its conducive to his style of play.

Excellent game by Leko, his style of play at its best.

I hope this is a sign of a resurgent Leko.

May-29-19  amadeus: <Kain3: <He has +1 score against Carlsen.> Also +1 against Grischuk, and +3(!) against Caruana. He's tied with Nakamura.>

Well, good luck trying to play against Gulko or Lautier.

Aug-07-19  csmath: Leko-Morozevich rapid match 5-1 (+4 =2 -0), Leko practically annihilated Moro the first day, the second day Moro was able to get two draws but nothing more than that. the second draw Moro was really lucky that Leko overlooked perpetual and let Moro have it even though Moro was totally lost prior to that.

I have never seen Moro being so completely outplayed as it happened in this match.

Aug-08-19  csmath: Today They play 10 blitzes, nothing changed, Leko keeps on beating Morozevich like a dead horse.

In the first 7 games: +4 =3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Péter Lékó was born in Subotica in Northern Serbia.>

Yugoslavia, methinks. Subotica is a city with a large Magyar population, but when did Leko relocate to Hungary proper?

Dec-30-19  SChesshevsky: Think Peter Leko one of the best commentators around. Example during Salman Rapid Round 6 Mamedyarov-Duda game. Talking about why he stopped playing the Grunfeld.

"I gave it up around 2001 and 2002 period. Only faced players like Kramnik, Gelfand, Khalifman and Kasparov and they always hit me with the Rook b1 variation. Where there is zero fun at all. I mean you are always on the defensive and you have to have like a 100 pages of computer analysis back then when computers were not reliable. So you are never sure if what you analyzed is really holding. And I had this feeling that if I had 100 pages of analysis then my opponents had 300, if I had 300 already they have 800. So you went to the game like you felt you are going under the guillotine."

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: For those who saw this earlier today on the Chess24 commentary, you might want to watch it again. For those that didn't, you ought to:

<Chess Grandmaster Peter Leko talks Pro Wrestling for 10 minutes!>

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Oh, that is required viewing. 10 minutes, and he was so excited, so passionate, so animated, truly hilarious.
Mar-15-21  waustad: I can imagine people creating a drinking game based on how often Peter Leko says "control" in his commentary.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Bill>, same as when Maurice Ashley was playing sidekick to Danny King at the New York Grand Prix in 1994 and all he could muster up for those of us in the viewing audience was 'indeed', one time after another as a response to King's remarks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Banter Blitz with Peter Leko>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: Happy 44th birthday to the venerable GM Leko.
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