Game one 
Leko vs. Kramnik


     You could tell this was a serous contest, when the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov made the first move for Peter Leko. However it was Kramnik who welcomed Peter Leko to world championship chess. Kramnik from the black side of the board stunned challenger Peter Leko in the first game of the world championship. Kramnik, a super endgame player, slowly turned his vice on Peter Leko today. Kramnik known as the python used his precision play to out maneuver Peter Leko in a two rooks vs. queen endgame.

   Kramnik sacrificed his queen for a bishop and rook and headed into an endgame down material with both side having passed pawns. However it was Kramnik’s passed pawn that would dictate play.  Kramnik forced Leko to sac the exchange for a pawn in order to stop Kramnik’s passed pawn. Both sides headed into a two rooks and three connected pawns vs. queen and three connected pawns endgame. It was in the endgame phase where Kramnik again out maneuvered Leko; Kramnik used his rooks to take whites f-pawn and forced the rooks and queens off the board. The battle became a king and three pawns vs. king and two-pawn endgame. Kramnik had the reserve tempos to seize the opposition and the endgame was trivial. Faced with a simple endgame loss, Leko resigned on move 65.

   Kramnik also took the early lead in his match against Kasparov in 2000. Kramnik won game two with the white pieces. Kramnik kept the pressure up on Kasparov all match long, winning a 2nd game. Only in one game was Kramnik in any kind of trouble. Winning with the black pieces in the first game of the world championship match is an incredible start. However this match is far from over. There are 13 more games to be played. Those who think that with draw odds going to Kramnik that this match is over are completely wrong. When it is all said and done. The best player will have won this match. Lets not forget Challenger Bobby Fischer lost the first two games of the 1972 match and went on to win it. Karpov, with white, lost the first game to Spassky during the 1974 semifinal candidate match. Karpov then went on to defeat Spassky by a score of 7-4. Lets not forget that it was Anand who scored first in the 1995 world championship match, only to lose to Kasparov by a score of 10.5 – 7.5.

  This is a great start to the world championship; the first game was an exciting game. Should this trend continue, both players would dramatically increase their marketability.  I watched the 2000 world championship match on ICC.  I know what Kramnik is capable of. Peter Leko has a tough road ahead of him. Kramnik won the opening psychological battle today. Kramnik has white on Sunday. What does he have in store for Leko. This 2nd game will be a critical test for Leko, to see how he reacts to this loss. From what I saw of the video of the press conference, Leko did not seem shaken; in fact he appeared very confident. During the game, it was Leko who was in time pressure at each time control. It was a tense struggle through out.  Based on the post game photos, it appears that Leko looks the fresher of the two. Kramnik certainly looks drained. Well who could blame him, it's hard to win with black, and its very hard to win against Leko. I am looking forward to Sundays contest.

   At the post game press conference Leko's remarks were very interesting "if I take the pawn on a7(move 25 Qxa7), then black's bishop takes d4 pawn. It reminded me of a Grunfeld that I'd love to play with black. Maybe that was the psychological problem. I should have settled for a draw - It's always tricky. I was never winning.  I had the queen so I have to do something. But I had no chances."  Leko certainly feeling the pressure of the world championship. Leko also spoke of the time pressure before taking the c3 pawn (move 36 Rxc3) that he had at the end of the match, and he had no time to work out the subtlety of the position. Leko faced a similar endgame at Dortmund. Leko made an exciting save against Anand in the semifinal at Dortmund. Leko was on the two rook side of that game with and exposed king.

 Replay Game one   - Petrov -  classical attack - Jaenisch variation
  Critical Positions
  ChessBase coverage
 More 21 Chess Analysis

 Leko's incredible save against Anand at Dortmund

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