Sunday, October 03, 2004

Kramnik 3-Leko 3

Six games down in the World Chess Championship. Fans of Peter Leko, or people who just want to see an exciting match, received a gift on Saturday when Leko demonstrated some first-rate endgame technique to grind down Kramnik. Winning the game tied the match. After today's quick draw, there are eight games remaining.

Tired of banging his head aganist the brick wall of Kramnik's Petroff Defense, Leko switched to a queen pawn opening in game five. Persisting with his strategy of playing passive but solid openings with black, Kramnik replied with ye olde Queen's Gambit. Orthodox variation. Zzzzzzzzz.

About twenty moves in Kramnik sacrificed a pawn to reach a drawish endgame in which Leko was a pawn up. Patient but relentless play, coupled with Kramnik's passivity allowed him to bring about an endgame in which Leko rook faced off aganist Kramnik's bishop, with three pawns each. Even at this point some of the grandmaster cognoscenti felt that Kramnik could draw. But after defending tedioulsy for so long Kramnik was not up to the task.

Game seven is on Tuesday and Leko will have white. It's a crucial game, since if Leko can win it, or at least put Kramnik under some real pressure, it will firmly establish a psuchological shift in the match. Stay tuned!


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