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Sokolov, Ivan (2663) - Leko, Peter (2735) [E54]
Tata Steel GpA, Wijk aan Zee (10) 2013

Notes by Boris Schipkov

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4
The Nimzo-Indian Defence.
4. e3 O-O

5. Bd3
Ivan Sokolov preferred 5. Nge2 against Loek Van Wely in round 9, 5...d5 6. a3 Be7 7. cxd5 exd5 8. h3 a5 9. g4 c6 10. Bg2 Na6, Black had good counterplay in Sokolov, I - Van Wely, L, Tata Steel, Wijk aan Zee 2013. After his game Peter Leko said about the position after 7...exd5: "It's a very playable position".
Possible is 5...d5 6. Nf3 b6 7. a3 Bd6 (7...Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 c6 (8...Ba6!?) 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. Qe2 Nc6 11. O-O Na5 12. a4 Re8 13. Ne5, with a small edge to White in Ivanchuk,V - Wang Hao, Istanbul ol 2012) 8. e4!? dxe4 9. Nxe4 Nbd7 10. O-O Bb7 11. Nxd6 cxd6 12. Bf4 (12. Re1!?) 12...e5! 13. dxe5 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Nxe5 15. Qd1 Nxd3 16. Qxd3 d5 17. Rfd1 dxc4 18. Qxc4 Qc8 19. Rac1 Qxc4 20. Rxc4 Rfd8 21. Rxd8+ (21. Rcd4!?) 21...Rxd8 22. f3 Nd5 23. Bd2 f6 24. Kf2 Kf7 25. g4 Rd7 with equality in the endgame, Sokolov, I - Wang Hao, Tata Steel, Wijk aan Zee 2013.
6. Nf3 d5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6
The Karpov System.
10. Bg5 Bb7
A typical position with the isolated pawn on d4. Usually in such positions White tries to attack on the kingside, Black tries to change pieces to win the d4-pawn in the endgame.
11. Rc1

Black intends to trade White's dark-squared bishop after Bh4, ...Be7 and ...Nh5. A good plan! Other moves: 11...Nc6, 11...Nbd7 and 11...Bxc3. In the game Naiditsch, A - Leko, P, Istanbul ol 2012 Black played 11...Nc6 12. Re1 Rc8 13. Bd3 Be7 14. Bb1 Re8 15. h4 g6 16. a3 Rc7 17. Rc2 Nd5 18. Ne4, and White had a small advantage. Therefore after the Istanbul World Chess Olympiad 2012 Peter decided to study this line and before the FIDE Tashkent Grand Prix 2012 prepared the plan with 11...h6! and 15...Nh5!.
12. Bh4 Nc6 13. Bd3 Be7 14. Bb1 Rc8 15. Re1
The inefficient 15. Qd3?! is met by 15...Nb4.

A strong novelty. The alternatives are 15...Re8 and 15...Nb4. Peter Leko: "If Black can play ...Nh5 without getting punished it means then he solves all of his strategical problems".
16. Qc2
After 17. Bxe7 Nxe7 18. Ne5 Nf4 (18...Nf5) 19. Qd2 Nxg2 20. Be4 Nxe1 21. Bxb7 Rc7 22. Bh1 Nf5 23. d5 exd5 24. Rxe1 d4 25. Ne4 Re8 Black has preferable chances.
16...g6! 17. Rxe6
Sokolov pounces on Black's position as a falcon pounces on its prey. However Black can repel the attack.

A nice resource. The knight defends the g6-pawn and attacks the e6-rook. After the ingenuous 17...fxe6? 18. Qxg6+ Ng7 19. Qh7+ Kf7 White mates with 20. Bg6.
18. Rxe7
Worse is 18. Bxe7 Nxe7 19. Ree1 Bxf3 20. gxf3 Ned5 21. Kh1 Qh4 22. Rg1 Rfe8 23. Rg4 Qf6 24. Qf5 Qg7 25. Rcg1 Nxc3 26. Qxf4 Ne2, and Black wins.
18...Nxe7 19. Qd2 g5 20. Ne5?!
20. Bg3 is more stubborn, though Black is better anyway.
20...Ned5! is good, here after 21. Bg3 Nxc3 22. bxc3 Black can play the excellent 22...Qxd4!! 23. cxd4 Rxc1+ 24. Qxc1 Ne2+ 25. Kf1 Nxc1 26. Ke1 Rc8 27. Kd1 Bd5, winning.
21. Nxg6?!
Better is 21. Bxg6 fxg6 22. Bg3 Nxg2, with a clear advantage for Black.
21...fxg6 22. Bg3

Now Black has an absolutely winning position. Peter Leko quickly wins the game thanks to his home preparation.
23. Qc2 Qf6 24. Be5 Qf7 25. a3 Nh4 26. Ba2

The final trick of the magnificent game. After 27. Nxa2 Rxc2 28. Rxc2 Nf3+ 29. Kf1 Ba6+ 30. Re2 (or 30. Kg2 Ne1+) 30...Re8 all is over.
White resigned. 0-1

Peter Leko, after the game, round 10, Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2013
Peter Leko prepared the plan with 11...h6! and the novelty 15...Nh5! before the FIDE World Chess Grand Prix 2012 Tashkent tournament. After the game versus Sokolov Peter said: "Before Tashkent I took a serious look at it".
A frame from video by Tata Steel Chess.


Sokolov, Ivan (2663) - Leko, Peter (2735) [E54]
75th Tata Steel GpA/Wijk aan Zee (10) 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Rc1 h6! 12. Bh4 Nc6 13. Bd3 Be7 14. Bb1 Rc8 15. Re1 Nh5! 16. Qc2 g6! 17. Rxe6 Nf4! 18. Rxe7 Nxe7 19. Qd2 g5 20. Ne5?! Neg6 21. Nxg6?! fxg6 22. Bg3 Nxg2 23. Qc2 Qf6 24. Be5 Qf7 25. a3 Nh4 26. Ba2 Qxa2! 0-1


© 2000-2013 Boris Schipkov