Marathon Man
 stumbles out of the block and falls
Adams takes a 2 lap lead

6/2 - Marathon man, Peter Leko stumbled out of the block today at the start of the race against Michael Adams. Game one saw Adams with white pushing his e pawn to e4. The players debated the Ruy Lopez. Game one seemed to be headed for a draw. By move 33 only one pair of pawns had left the board and it was a queen and knight vs. queen and knight middle game.  With less then 3 minutes left on the clock,  the super solid Leko took a big gamble with his 34th move Nxd5. Leko sacrificed his knight to get two outside, connected, passed pawns.  This was risky because it left Adams with the deadly queen and knight combination. By move 44 Adams' queen and knight were bearing down on Leko's king. Adams seemed to be able to force a perpetual check draw had he wanted to. However feeling the pressure of this deadly combination, Leko unexpectedly moved into mate with 45... Ke8. Adams. who missed a winning move against Kasimdzhanov in the FIDE KO final and with it missed a chance to become the FIDE KO champ, did not fail to deliver here. He mated Leko on move 46 with Qd8 check mate.

 Game two saw Peter Leko push his queen pawn up to d4. The players debated the Queens Indian Nimzovich exaggerated fianchetto defense. Peter after stumbling out of the gate in game one, also stumbled here as well. Leko is well known for his theoretical knowledge of the opening. Today he was outplayed in the opening and found himself in trouble early. By move 17 black was saddled with an isolated queen pawn, but he had great compensation in the form of the bishop pair and control over the half open e-file. By move 18 Adams's bishops were controlling the key diagonals a6-f1 and a5-e1, attacking both the e2 pawn and Leko's e1-rook.  White e2-pawn was under double attack by Adams' bishop and rook. The pawn was soon be lost when Adams exchanged his black bishop for whites knight at d4. This enabled Adams to put a wild pig on Leko's 2nd rank with tempo with move 22.. Rxe2. Adams then played 23.. Qf6 threatening Leko's f2 pawn and mate. Leko countered with 24 Rf4, however Adams created a queen-rook battery, with tempo, on the open e-file with 24.. Qe7. This forced Leko to move his king off the back rank with 25 Kg2 to prevent skewering Leko's queen. Adams finished Leko off with 25.. Re1, threatening both Leko's queen and Bf1 check.  Forced to consider the loss of material or mate, Leko resigned on move 26. 

An outstanding start by Michael Adams, but there is plenty of chess to be played in this 8 game match.

replay the games -

chessbase full report -

Leko vs. Adams - Chess Reporter - full report of the entire tournament