Magazine article The Spectator

Open Weapon

Magazine article The Spectator

Open Weapon

Article excerpt

This article wraps up my coverage of the World Championship match. I give one of the more interesting draws, which also turned out to be significant for another reason. In game 8 Kramnik revealed what he thought was a devastating secret weapon against the Marshall, only to have it refuted by Leko over the board. However, by losing that game and revealing his line of thought, Kramnik may in fact have done himself a favour. As far as I can see there is a critical improvement for White buried in the variations, which may sink this particular line of the Marshall for good. Faced with that knowledge it seems from his very next game with Black (the topic of this week's article) that Leko's main defence against 1 e4 had suddenly become untenable. He resorted to a dubious line in game 10 and nearly lost, while in games 12 and 14 he took refuge in his 'B' defence, the Caro-Kann. As we now know, Kramnik was well prepared for this.

Kramnik-Leko; World Championship, Switzerland 2004; Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Bc5 Game 8 saw the Marshall Attack: 5 ... Bc7 6 Rel b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 c3 d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxe5 Nxe5 11 Rxe5 c6 12 d4 Bd6 13 Re1 Qh4 14 g3 Qh3 15 Re4 g5 16 Qf1 Qh5 17 Nd2 Bf5 18 f3 Nf6 19 Re1 Rae8 20 Rxe8 Rxe8 21 a4 Qg6

Here Kramnik played 22 axb5 and Leko went on to win a brilliant game. However, 22 Ne4 Bxe4 23 fxe4 Nxe4 24 axb5 axb5 25 Ra6 looks very strong for White. 6 c3 b5 7 Bc2 d5 8 exd5 Qxd5 9 a4 A new move, designed to increase his control of the light squares. 9 ... b4 10 d4 exd4 11 Bb3 Qd8 12 Re1+ Be7 13 Nxd4 Nxd4 14 Qxd4 Qxd4 15 cxd4 Bb7 The opening has not gone well for Black. …

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