Kasparov(GM) (2847) - Leko(GM) (2736)
Ciudad de Linares (Linares, Spain), 03/05/2003

Round 10 [Khalifman,A]

Strange tradition - one more time Kaspaov's White game is the event of the day. And now actually He really MUST WIN. Otherwise only one remaining White make his chances to score another tournament victory really slim. However, he was not so eager to prove White's advantage in Sveshnikov lately... So 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 or what?
1. e4 c5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Nc3 Nf6  4. Bb5 Qc7  5. O-O Nd4  6. Re1 So Garry doesn't follow Anand's recipe 6.Nxd4 cxd4 7.Nd5 - maybe he knows it better
6. ... a6  7. Bc4 d6 A new one. In Jansa - Mrva, CSSR 1992 7...e6 followed.
8. Nd5 Nxd5  9. exd5
[9. exd5 Bg4 looks like the natural choice
10. c3!? Nxf3+
(10. ... Bxf3!?  11. gxf3 Nf5 )
11. gxf3 is aggressive and true]
9. ... g6 This is very solid (after long think) but Garry and Co must have thought about it.
[9. ... g6  10. Nxd4 cxd4  11. d3 Bg7  12. Bg5 and Black can't complete his development without some moral losses.]
10. Nxd4 cxd4  11. d3 h6 Rather unhappy choice but Bc1-g5 was too much a threat. Actually more I look at this position more I don't like Black. It's not for WCh match for sure!
[11. ... h6  12. Bf4!? Bg7  13. Qd2 still causes some problems]
12. b4 Bg7  13. Qe2 Another way to prevent Black's castle. Might be good as well - see previous comment.
[13. Qe2 Be5 and Kf8 might be appropriate defensive plan for Black.
(or 13. ... Bf6 )]
13. ... Bf6  14. Qf3 Step by step. However, after 14...Kf8 it looks a bit strange. Did Garry miss something?
14. ... Kf8  15. Bb2 No, he didn't! He just changed the object - now black pawn d4 is in danger.
15. ... Qb6 Resignation?!
[15. ... Qb6  16. Qf4!]
16. a3?! A bit sadistic
16. ... h5  17. h3 The same style.
17. ... h4 And now step by step it's getting harder and harder to make use of Black's weakness. Maybe Garry forgot about playing matches with defensive genius like Karpov? Bravo, Peter! So my previous assessment was probably caused by genius carma: still 12.Bf4 was required - pawn d4 didn't happen to be a real weakness.
18. Qf4 Bf5 So is White better? for sure! What can he do? Unclear.
19. Rab1 Rh5  20. a4 Be5  21. Qf3 Rc8
[21. ... a5!? Why not?]
22. a5 Qd8  23. Re2 Rc7 This battle of nerves must be decided in time-trouble.
24. Rbe1 Qc8  25. Rxe5 dxe5  26. Rxe5 Rxc4  27. dxc4 Qxc4 The situation has changed, the assessment hasn't. Black is slightly worse but must be able to hold.
28. Re2
[28. Re2 Bxc2!? This pawn can't be poisoned.]
28. ... Bxc2  29. d6 exd6  30. Rd2
[30. Rd2 Qb3 ]
30. ... d3 Aggressive move but not the only one.
[30. ... Qb3! was enough for a draw in somewhat better position.]
31. Qxb7 Rf5  32. Qd7 f6  33. Qxd6+ Kf7 Another good fighting draw but now Kasparov's chances to win Linares are very slim.