Kramnik(GM) (2807) - Leko(GM) (2736)
Ciudad de Linares (Linares, Spain), 03/09/2003

Round 14 [Khalifman,A]

We were all hoping that the last round would be very interesting. However, now it's not clear at all. Vladimir's minimalistic strategy during the entire tournament tells very much in favour that this game will not take long. The only factor which can stop him doing so is that in this case Leko will be the first on tie-break. However, we can only hope...
1. e4 c5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Nc3 Will it be called "Linares variation" after this tournament?!
3. ... e5  4. Bc4 d6  5. d3 Be7  6. O-O Nf6  7. Ng5 O-O  8. f4 exf4 A traditional move. Radjabov played 9...Bg4 against Ponomariov some rounds before.
[8. ... Bg4 ]
9. Bxf4 h6  10. Nf3 Be6  11. Nd5 Bxd5  12. exd5 Na5  13. Nh4 Nxc4  14. dxc4 Highly top ical line tested a couple of times in the last Israel championship. So probably Vladimir is more aggressive than expected. 14...g5 15.Nf5 looks extremely dangerous. However, it might be the part of the opponents' preparation.
14. ... Nxd5
[14. ... g5  15. Nf5]
15. Qxd5 Bxh4 might be good enough for draw - however, might be not. White is definitely slightly better but is it much enough?
16. Rad1 Anyway it doesn 't look like the most clever opening choice by Peter. Now White can play for win without any risk. Long thought by Leko means that he's not happy at all.
[16. Rad1 Be7  17. Rd3!? with some attacking ideas on the kingside.]
16. ... b6 Might be a good choice. At least Black doesn't have to think about weak pawns b7 & c5 anymore.
[16. ... b6  17. Bxd6 Be7  18. Be5 Bg5!? and it's quite difficult for White to increase the pressure.]
17. Bxd6 Be7  18. Be5 Bg5 Good move. It seems like Black has solved all problems finally.
19. Bd6 Be7 See comment before move 1...
20. Bf4
[20. Bf4 Bg5!? doesn't change a lot]
20. ... Bf6 Well, well... What was wrong with 20...Bg5?
21. c3 Qxd5  22. cxd5 Rad8 Still a little better for White - still not enough for win.
23. Bxh6 Bxc3  24. bxc3 gxh6  25. Rfe1 Rd7  26. c4 a6  27. a4 b5  28. axb5 axb5 So Peter defend ed well (especially 16...b6!) and deservedly wins his first title in Linares. Congratulations to him and Vladimir as well although Kramnik's performance was high-class but too solid.
29. cxb5 Rb8  30. d6 Rxb5  31. Re7 Rbb7  32. Rxd7 Rxd7  33. Kf2 Kg7  34. Kf3 Kf6  35. Rd5 Finally!