Kramnik vs Leko Mark Crowther Round 12 Report
The players in discussion after the conclusion of game 12. Photo © Mark Crowther
Game 12 saw one of the most interesting games of the match so far. It was a game rich in content where Kramnik looked at one point well on his way to a win.
Leko at the press conference at the conclusion of game 12. Photo © Mark Crowther
After the game Peter Leko admitted he was extremely worried but his cool head held the game without it being obvious where Kramnik could improve.
Kramnik said only analysis would tell whether he should be disappointed with the result. In mutual time trouble Peter Leko decided to secure his match position with a draw offer which Kramnik wasn't in a position to ignore and which in retrospect might have been generous in that the winning chances may have all been Leko's.
Leko at the start of game 12. Photo © Mark Crowther
Leko once again showed his resiliance and now either a win with white on Saturday or two draws will give him the title. His calmness under fire meant that this was a very big result for him.
Kramnik,V (2760) - Leko,P (2743) [B19]
WCh Brissago SUI (12), 14.10.2004
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 [ 10...Ngf6 11.Bd2 e6 12.0-0-0 Qc7 13.Ne4 0-0-0 14.g3 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Bd6 16.Kb1 Rhe8 is an alternate line.] 11.Bf4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2 Qc7 13.0-0-0 Ngf6 14.Ne4 0-0-0 15.g3 Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Bd6 17.Kb1 [ The following could have almost reached the same position as the game. 17.c4 Nf6 18.Qc2 c5 19.d5 exd5 20.cxd5 Rhe8 21.Bc3 Qd7 22.Kb1 Kb8 23.Bxf6 gxf6 24.Nh4 Qg4 25.Nf5 Re2 26.Nxh6 Qf3 27.Qf5 Rxb2+ 28.Kxb2 Be5+ 29.Kc1 Qa3+ 30.Kd2 Rxd5+ 31.Ke2 Qxa2+ 32.Kf3 Qb3+ 33.Kg2 Rxd1 34.Rxd1 Qxd1 35.Ng4 Qd5+ 36.Kh3 Qh1+ 37.Nh2 Qc1 38.f4 Bd4 39.h6 Qe1 40.h7 Qe8 41.Ng4 Qf8 42.Qh5 f5 43.Ne5 Qh8 44.Qxf7 Bxe5 45.fxe5 1-0 Coelho,L-Molina,J/Sao Jose de Rio Preto 2003.] 17...Rhe8 18.Qh7N
Leko knew of this variation but didn't know if Kramnik had prepared this or if it was an over-the-board inspiration. [ 18.Qe2 is the main line.; 18.c4] 18...Rg8 [ 18...Rh8!? Leko thought Kramnik would just play Qd3 here. 19.Qxg7 Rdg8 20.Qxf7 Rf8 21.Qg7 Rfg8 22.Bxh6 Rxg7 23.Bxg7 is a crazy alternative.] 19.c4 c5 20.d5 Kramnik thought for some time before choosing this continuation. [ 20.Qc2 Black will probably play Qc6 at some point attacking the knight on f3.] 20...Nf6 [ 20...exd5 21.cxd5 Nb6 22.Nd4 cxd4 23.Rc1] 21.Qc2 exd5 22.cxd5 Qd7!? [ 22...Be7 Fritz's suggestion wasn't even considered by Kramnik who thought it just good for white. 23.Bf4 Bd6 24.Bc1 ( 24.Be3) ] 23.Bc3 Rde8 [ 23...Ng4 24.Rhe1 and Black is already running out of moves according to Leko.] 24.Bxf6
Strategically winning, but maybe not tactically, according to Kramnik. 24...gxf6 25.Qd3 Kramnik called this a strange move after the game. It intends Nd2 next move. 25...f5 26.Nd2 b5!? This brave move cuts across Kramnik's intentions. [ 26...Rg4 27.f4 with Nc4 to follow looks close to winning for white.] 27.Rhe1 [ 27.a4] 27...Kb8 28.Qc3 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 c4 [ 29...Re8 30.Rxe8+ Qxe8 31.Qf6 Qe1+ 32.Kc2] 30.Nf3 f4! 31.g4?! Kramnik thought that, in retrospect, this move might be a little more than his postion can stand. [ 31.Ne5 Qf5+ 32.Qc2 Qxc2+ 33.Kxc2 fxg3 34.fxg3 Bxe5 35.Rxe5 Rxg3 would probably just finish in a draw.] 31...Bc7 After the game Kramnik admitted that he missed this. Now black is better. 32.Qd4 Qxg4 33.Qe4?! [ 33.Qc5 Leads to a clear draw. 33...Qxf3 34.Qxb5+] 33...Qxh5 34.Nd4 Qg6
on black's proposal. Leko believed that Kramnik had no choice but to accept. Nf5 would have followed when both players thought white should have enough to draw but surely black wasn't risking anything by playing on. 1/2-1/2