Leko's interview on
 the World Championship Tournament in San Luis, Argentina

8/21/2005 -  The 4th highest rated player in the world, Peter Leko gave an interesting interview  which was reported on at Chessbase. Each player is being interviewed before the 2005 World Championship Tournament.  When Leko was asked who the favorites where, he said:” This is a difficult question. Of course Anand and Topalov are the favorites if you just consider the ratings. But as I said: all players participating in San Luis are very strong. I think everybody has a decent chance to win this. You know, it is just one event and by the end of the day you need also a little bit of luck. But I am sure that we can expect a very close competition and the winner will be most likely decided in the last round only if not in a possible tie-break.”  


    I think Leko is making a similar mistake he made in his 2004 World Championship Match with Vladimir Kramnik.  Prior to that match, Leko said Kramnik had the deepest understanding of chess. This lack of confidence translated into Leko losing the first game of the world championship match. In game one Leko had a slight advantage. The middle game developed into Leko’s queen, rook, 3 kingside pawns and an outside a-passer versus Kramnik’s two rooks, bishop, 3 kingside pawns and an advanced c-passer. Leko played on in this position, even though he knew he had no practical chances to win. Leko said he felt the pressure of playing in front of the world.  As the game played out, Leko was forced to exchange his rook for Kramnik’s bishop. The endgame was transformed into Leko’s queen and three kingside pawns vs. Kramnik’s two rooks and 3 kingside pawns. Leko played inaccurately and Kramnik, the python, squeezed out a full point. Leko would take the lead with a win in game 5 and with an heroic drive in game 8. However, the loss in game one would come back to haunt Leko. Kramnik turned the pressure up the last quarter of the match. He finally broke thru to tie the match with a heroic effort in the final game.

    Ceding the advantage to Anand and Topalov is another serious mistake. Lets hope it doesn’t cost Leko another half point like it did against Kramnik in Brissago, Switzerland. I think if you are a world class player like Peter Leko, you must go into this tournament believing that you are the best of your kind. Of course talent, hard work, and great preparation must back this feeling. Leko started 2005 with a bang, he won Corus in grand style by defeating Anand. Since then, Leko has not been impressive at Linares, Amber, or Dortmund. However, while trailing by 3 points, Leko did make an incredible comeback to tie his match with Michael Adams.

 When asked 4. How are you preparing yourself for the WCC Argentina 2005?

Leko said: ”
In terms of chess there will be nothing special. I will have a more general preparation. You cannot compare a tournament with a match against one player as I had it last year against Kramnik. In a match it is necessary to dedicate a big part of your preparation especially towards him. But it is impossible to do the same with seven opponents. For San Luis you need to be motivated, fresh, full of energy, and very flexible.”

 Well hopefully, Leko has made special preparations to handle both Veselin Topalov and Peter Svidler. Both of these players have given Leko trouble in recent years.  Leko has proved he can beat all the players in this tournament. However Leko’s road thru San Luis will go thru Svidler, Topalov and Anand. Leko must have a plan to get past these huge obstacles.



Peter Leko - Chess Reporter
Chessbase report  http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2590
Anand vs. Leko Corus 2005 - http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1327794

Game one 2004 Chess World Championship
San Luis 2005 - Chess Reporter
2005 Major tournament results