Leko, Peter (2736) - Vallejo Pons, Francisco (2629)
Ciudad de Linares (Linares, Spain), 02/27/2003
Round 5 [Khalifman,A]
This game is quite important for both players. Peter has a chance to take sole lead
in the tournament and he had time to recover (day-off after 2 marathons with Garry and Ruslan was just
in time). Paco has shown very good play by now but does he have enough ideas to resist Peter's excellent
opening preparation after 1.e4? Let's see...
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qc7 Brave but risky choice by Paco. Leko has a lot of positive experience in Sicilian Paulsen.
5. Nc3 e6 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 Just according to tournament situation. This "kinda English Attack" is just a dangerous weapon against the line chosen by Black.
7. ... Nf6 8.
12. ... Ng6 13. Qg3 An interesting conceipt. Leko is very-very good in complicated endings.
13. ... Bd6 Fairly understandable. Queen exchange would lead to rather miserable ending for Black.
14. Qf2 Now the "Fritzy-move" is 14...Bxh2. Isn't it worth a try?!
14. ... Rb8 A human choice. However, it took a long time.
16. Bc5 But Peter has his own ideas about this position. He still aims for liquidation in order to demonstrate his technical superiority.
16. ... Bxc5 17. Qxc5 Now he forces the transposition to the complicated ending. It's still better for White but still what was wrong about 16.g4!?
[17. Qxc5 Qxc5 18. Nxc5
Rb6! is a good defending move. It protects
important square d6 and Black is close to equality.]
17. ... Qxc5 18. Nxc5 Paco
is losing more and more time... It's a bit risky! What's wrong about 18...Rb6?
18. ... Rb6 19. a4! White's best chance! He attacks queenside weaknesses.
19. ... Rc6 19...d6 was still worth a try...
20. Nd3 bxa4 21. Nxa4 Quite a natural move but intermediate 21.e5!? was very tempting.
21. ... d5! Good move but very bad itme on Paco's clock.
[21. ... d5 22. Nb4
Rd6 23. exd5
a5 24. Nc6
Bd7 25. Nc3 might
give White some advantage but will it be enough to win?
25. ... Bxc6 26. dxc6 Rxc6 ]
22. exd5 Nxd5 Now
White can be just very slightly better
23. Nc5 Ne5 24. Rd4 Nd7 25. Nxd7 Bxd7 26. Bc4 Slowly but surely... However, Black must be able to defend if not this terrible time-trouble...
26. ... Nf6
[26. ... Ne3 was very tempting but
who can play like this being so short of time?]
27. Re1 Now it might start getting
worse and worse.... Re1-e5-a5 is coming
27. ... Rc8 28. Bd3 Kf8 29. Re5 Rc7 30. Ra5 Bc8 Now Black is very passive - Leko can show his technical skills.
31. b4 Nd5 32. Kb2 g6 33. Kb3 Ne3 probably too late - White has now many comfortable ways to prove his advantage, like 34.c4!?, for instance.
34. Nc5 Ra7 35. g3 Ke7 36. f4 f6 37. Be4 Rb6 38. c4 e5 39. fxe5 fxe5 40. Rd3 Nf5 Leko has s hown his technical skills very convincingly - just some accurate moves are remaining, 41.Kc3!?, for instance.
41. Na4 Also good enough - White's position is not so easy to spoil.
41. ... Re6 42. b5 These pawns can't be stopped - good technical game by Leko although Vallejo didn't use all chances in the ending. Anyway now Linares has a sole leader - he fully deserved it!
42. ... Nd4+ 43. Kc3 Black resigned - just in time - he can't avoid massive material loss.
[43. Kc3 Rd7
(43. ... Ne2+ 44. Kd2
Nd4 45. b6
Rd7 46. Nc5)