10/16/2004 - Leko opened again with 1.d4 and 2.c4. Kramnik steered the
game into the Benoni Defense. I think Kramnik will go
all out for the win from the black side of the board today. The
players played the first ten moves in 20 minutes. Maurice Ashley and
Joel Benjamin were doing the ChessFm coverage. Ashley " Kramnik feels
he has to win today. Leko has to be nervous. He's had a few close calls in
the last few games."
On move 12, Leko plays 12 a4 to prevent Kramnik from
pushing with b5 and disrupting Leko's knights. Kramnik plays 12 f5.
Kramnik played this position from the white side back in 1995 against Ivanchuk.
Leko opens up the e-file with exf5. Kramnik take back with 13..
Rxf5. Leko has an isolated D pawn. Ashley " Kramnik playing dynamic
chess. He plays total amazing chess some times". Leko plays 14
Bg4, Kramnik retreats the rook to f1. Leko goes into a deep think on
move 15 . Leko is behind 40 minutes on the clock already. Leko plays 15
and Kramnik plays rxc8. Leko gets rid of the white squared
bishops. Leko plays 16 Qb3. Ashley points out that Leko has all his
pieces on the queenside. Leko's king is on the
other side. Kramnik could launch an attack. Ashley " Leko is playing
to win". Leko puts pressure on the d6 pawn with 17 Nb5. Kramnik
takes off the b5 knight with 17.. Nxb5. Leko responds by
playing 18 axb5. This opens the a-file for Leko, but it will saddle him
with two more isolated double pawns. I feel this is an over commitment by
Leko. Kramnik's rook pawn is under attack.
By move 19 Leko has under 40
minutes to Kramnik's 67 minutes. Kramnik doubles rooks on his half open f-file. Leko counters by playing 20 Bc3. This challengers Kramnik's bishop
on g7. It fights for the a1-h8 diagonal. Leko pushed 21 f3. Ashley
"Leko transforms his position into clarity". Joel Benjamin "
Kramnik opening was spectacular. Kramnik has lost too many opportunities
in this match." On Kramnik's 21th move g5, Ashley "
the house is going to burn down". Leko responds with 22 Ne3 to
prevent g4. Kramnik plays 22. Rf4. Ashley "we could be deciding
the World Championship today. Kramnik goes for it." Kramnik goes all
out for a
kingside attack with 23..h5. Leko has got weak queenside pawns.
Kramnik is going for a pawn storm on the kingside. Leko plays Qc2-
grabbing the b1-h7 diagonal. Kramnik triples on the file with Qf7.
25 Kramnik plays Dd4 attacking Leko key defender. By move 26 Leko
has under 17 minutes to Kramnik's 34 minutes. Leko plays Bxd4. The big
surprise move here is if Kramnik plays Rxd4 then Leko can force massive
exchanges with Nf5, Qxf5, Qxf5 Rxe8+. We have a double rook endgame. Ashley "both sides playing for the highest stakes".
Kramnik grabs a pawn with Rdxd5. Leko responds with Rxa7 check. On
move 36 Leko plays 36 Rh8. This threatens mate in one on Rh6.
8 minutes and Leko is down to 5. Kramnik plays 36 ..Rd2+ Leko still
has the mate in one threat looming. Kramnik has his own forced mating web
with Ree2. Both players reach the time control. We have a rook and 4 pawn
vs. a rook and 4 pawn endgame. Both will have off side potential connected passed
pawns. Leko has the tougher defensive tasks. Both ChessFmers say
the position is a mess. Ashley says Leko is like Houdini.
Kramnik plays 43.. re5 to hold his g pawn. Leko's problem is his king is
in a bad spot and out of play. Leko is doing a deep think on move 44. Leko has
46 minutes to Kramnik's 50. Leko plays 44 Rb7. Kramnik pushes 44
c4. Leko grabs the b-pawn and Kramnik moves Re2.
is on the move now. Kramnik has a superior king
position. Leko pushes his f-pawn with 46 f4. This will allow Leko to
get another passed pawn. He already has one on the b-file. Leko now has
two passed pawns. This position is getting hairy. Leko is putting up a
great struggle. You have to ask your self if Leko missed out on a
opportunity in game 12. Could he have won. That could be the main story
here if Leko loses today.
By move 51 Leko was able to protect his b2-pawn
with 51.Re2. Ashley says " this could be a draw now." The game is coming to a head
here. On move 53 both sides have two passed pawns. Kramnik gives it
his best with 55... Rb2. He tries to trade rooks, but Leko will not go for
it. Leko pushes his b-pawn. Kramnik snaps the b-pawn up. Leko grabs
Kramnik's other pawn. Kramnik will play to the last man standing. The endgame transforms to a king and rook (Kramnik) vs. King and pawn (Leko)
Normally this is an easy win. However Leko's king and pawn are very far
advanced. Kramnik's king is out of play. The game ends with just kings on
the board. You will not see that very often in a World Championship
match. This could be the first time. STANDING OVATION FOR BOTH PLAYERS. GREAT, GREAT GAME. THIS GAME
SHOWS US THAT WE DON'T NEED TO CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME. THIS WAS A
GREAT GAME REGARDLESS OF THE RESULT. I WOULD NOT CHANGE A
THING. The result is the Cherry on top.
Post game Press conference - both players did it from the playing
Leko' excerpts : it was a very tough game as everyone saw. In this
opening, I didn't know exactly how to play. It was a classical set
up. Vlad played f5, it was from Kramnik vs. Ivanchuk game.
During the game , I realized I had such a position before. I was not
felling confident with my choice. I did see how to continue in this
position. After a lot of time - I decide to make a move. Black has a
very nice game. As usual I had a tough time. I managed to
hang on. At the time control I saw it was a dead raw, but I
misplayed the rook endgame. I thought I was probably lost move by
move. I can't put my hand in the fire that it's a draw, but at least
I have reasonable chances. I managed to save the game.
Kramnik's excerpts: I wanted today's game. It was a more complicated
game than usual. My opening choice was right. It's a complicated game. This
a game I wanted to have today. It was complicated. I had certain
chances. It was difficult for both players to find a clear way on
what to do. I decided to go for a psychological advantage with g5
and h5. Nor sure objectively if this was the right way. I wanted
control and to get some complications. Bg4 not right move, but it's difficult
to find moves in this position. I saw my preparation was not working. I
went for this endgame. It looked drawish. There was a very clear way
to make a draw. I saw 3-4 ways to make a draw. Peter miss something and at
the time control it became very dangerous for Peter. I didn't know if I
miss a win during the game. Peter defended precisely. I will analyze
the game afterwards, at the moment I didn't see a win. I didn't find
any win. With Re7+ and Re2 it looks that by some miracle white escapes in all
lines. It saves the game. It was a good fighting game,
It was a draw.
It's time to think about the next game. Kramnik did not look
worried at all. He was very calm. In fact either did Leko. Maybe Leko
feels he can save any game. This could be a dangerous attitude.