Leko will start with 1.e4 and most likely Carlsen will response with the Sicilian. Will it be the Najdorf or Dragon? I expect this to be an exciting game.

Leko – Carlsen

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 (This is one of Kasparov’s old weapons. My sister Judit also plays this line.)

7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7 10. h3 Nf6 11. Qf3 Qb6 12. O-O-O Nc6 13. Nxc6 Qxc6 14. Be2 Qc5 15. Rhe1 (Both players were cranking out the first 15 moves in lightning speed. I am not sure if 15. Rhe1 has been played by top level players before I don’t remember seeing this move. Leko told me a few years ago that it is frustrating for him to draw that many games. He said that he is trying every game to play for win but not sure why he draws too much. The chess fans on Chessdom informed me that 15. Rhe1 was played once before between Lutz and my sister Judit.)

15…g4 (This is the strongest move. But Magnus spent quite a bit of time with this one. A possible line is 16. hxg4 Bxg4 17. Qd3 Bxe2 18. Nxe2 Nh5 and it will lead to an interesting endgame. 16. Qd3 is also playable but I prefer 16. hxg4 for several reasons: 1. It keeps his pawn structure together 2. It clears up the h file.)

16. hxg4 (The live video feed for this round is http://video.russiachess.org/browse/14/#session72.)

16…Bxg4 (Now the most obvious square for the Queen is on d3. White’s plan to make a play for the center.)

17. Qd3 Be6 (This is a surprise. I expected Black to trade Bishop. 18. e5, followed by Bf3 look strong for White. I still do not understand Be6. Too risky in my opinion.)

18. e5 dxe5 19. Bf3 (This is why I think Magnus should have traded the Bishops when he had a chance. Now 19…e4 20. Nxe4 Nxe4 21. Bxe4 O-O +=)

19…e4 (Magnus found the best shot at some counterplay. Now Leko is spending quite a bit of time on this move.)

20. Nxe4 Nxe4 (Well, White has 3 ways to recapture: Rxe4, Qxe, and Bxe4. All three are playable. I still prefer to recapture with the Bishop.)

21. Rxe4 O-O 22. Qe3 Rac8 23. Qxc5 Rxc5 24. Bg4 Bxg4 25. Rxg4 f5 26. Rb4 b5 27. a4
Rfc8 28. c3 Rc4 29. Rxc4 Rxc4 30. axb5 axb5 = (This is a safe continuation for Leko but not very ambitious. I think 21. Bxe4 makes things more complicated. If you look at Anand’s game, you will realize that these top guys are very close in strength. No one dominates like Fischer or Kasparov. I think Magnus will have a chance to be dominant in the future. However, it will depend on his work ethics in the next 5 years. Fischer is Fischer. He’s one of a kind. When we used to analyze games, he demonstrated to me that his knowledge was amazing. Kasparov was the same. You can see that they’re a league above others in knowledge and strength, even in analysis.)

31. Rd8+ Kh7 32. Rd7 (It is still even.)

32…Rg4 33. Bb8 Rxg2 34. Rxe7= Kg6 35. Bg3 h5 (35…Bf6 is another good option. After 35…h5, White must play Rb7.)

36. Kd1? (This is an error. Now Bf6 gives Black a strong advantage.)

36…Bf6 37. Re6 (This will be a tough position to defend now for Leko. After Kf7, he has to retreat his Rook to e2. Terrible position.)

37…Kf7 (This is a possible line: 38. Re2 h4 39. Bd6 h3 40. f3 Bh4 41. Rxg2 hxg2 42. Bc5 Ke6 and Black has chances.)

38. Re3 (It made things worse. 38. Re2 is a little better.)

38…h4 39. Bc7 Rxf2 40. b3 (This is now near hopeless for Leko in this position. The downfall all started with 36. Kd1? You have to give the kid credits. He came to play, even with the Black pieces. I have played when I am sick. It is not fun. So it is not fair to judge Magnus’ early results in this tournament because we have no idea how serious his condition was. It is amazing that in spite of his condition, he did not lose any game and his rating did not suffer either.)

40…Rf1+ (Magnus took time for this move and I think it is the strongest option. The rest is just a matter of technique and patience. This is a possible line 41. Ke2 Rb1 42. c4 bxc4 43. bxc4 Rc1 -+)

41. Ke2 Rc1 (A strong move but I like 41…Rb1 better. I think it is a little stronger option. But tis wins too.)

42. c4 bxc4 43. bxc4 Rxc4 -+ (Black has a BIG edge now. With this win, I believe Magnus will be #1 on the LIVE rating list by about 1/2 point over Topalov. BTW, during my commentary, I make it a habit NOT to look at the computer evaluation. I want to give you my commentary based on what I see, not what the computer says 🙂 That is why some of my lines may not be the strongest, just what I see right off the top of my head.)

44. Bb8 (The best move for Black here is 44…Rc2 check to pin the King on the back rank.)

44…Rc1+ 45. Kf1 (Now Black can simply march his King up to lend a hand.)

45…Kg6 -+ (Leko can prolong the game but I don’t think he can hold it.)

46. Re2 (Black must avoid trading Rooks here. The reason is once the Rooks are off the board, Leko’s chances to draw will increase because of the h pawn wrong color. Therefore, White can try to sac his Bishop for the f pawn = draw. Please not that even if Rooks are off the board, it is not a forced draw. Black still could win but it is a lot harder than if the Rooks are on the board.)

46…Rc8 47. Bd6 Rc6 48. Be7 (This is interesting. A test for Magnus’ endgame technique.)

48…Bxe7 49. Rxe7 (Now 49…Rc2 to cut the King off is a must.)

49…Rc2 (This is a win for Black but it will require a bit of work. According to the endgame tablebases, it is a checkmate for Black in around 31 moves. Good luck!)

50. Re3 Kg5 51. Kg1 Kg4 -+ (Magnus is on the right track.)

52. Ra3 f4 53. Ra8 (53…f3 = draw. Magnus must avoid this move.)

53…Rd2 (The strongest move.)

54. Ra7 Kg3 55. Rg7+ Kf3 56. Ra7 Rd1+ 57. Kh2 Ke2 (This is now a pretty simple win. The problem for White is he cannot check from the side and from the back at the same time.)

58. Kh3 (Now 58…Rd3+ and 58…f3 win handily.)

59. Ra2+ (Now simply 59…K1, followed by f2 and it is over.)

59…Rd2 (This wins easily too.)

White resigns. Magnus is now the #1 player in the world on the LIVE rating list!

Click here to replay the game.

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