Reports | August 30, 2010 20:44

Gelfand beats Leko 4.5-3.5 in theoretical rapid match

Gelfand beats Leko 4.5-3.5 in rapid matchThere was more rapid chess this week, as the traditional match with Peter Leko in Miskolc, Hungary was also held. This year his opponent was Boris Gelfand, who won a very theoretical match 4.5-3.5.

Peter Leko played his 6th rapid match in a row in Miskolc, Hungary. In 2005, he drew 4-4 against Michael Adams in a match where only the last two games ended in a draw. A year later, the Hungarian beat Karpov 4.5-3.5. In 2007 Leko lost 4.5-3.5 to Kramnik and in 2008 Carlsen proved too strong: 5-3. Last year Leko lost to World Champion Anand 5-3.

This year Leko played against Boris Gelfand, who came straight from the NH Tournament where he had performed very well. In general the Israeli has had quite a strong period lately, while the Hungarian hasn't found his best form yet this year. In Wijk aan Zee and Astrakhan Leko scored 50%, and in Dortmund even worse: minus two.

Again the rapid match took place in the National Theater of Miskolc, Hungary. Eight rapid games were played over four days; on August 25, 26, 28 and 29. The time control was 25 minutes for the whole game with an increment of 10 seconds at each move.


The match was a highly theoretical affair and preparation played an important role. In seven out of eight games the Semi-Slav came on the board; five of them saw the Anti-Moscow variation (all of Gelfand's white games and Leko's last white game) and three of them the Moscow variation.

It won't surprise you that especially the Anti-Moscow games led to interesting games. Let's have a look at what exactly happened there. After the moves 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5

we start with the last game of the match, where Leko copied Grischuk's recent piece sacrifice with 9.Ne5 Bb7 10. h4 Bg7 11. hxg5 hxg5 12. Rxh8+ Bxh8 13. Bxc4!? bxc4 14. Nxc4 Kf8

Here Leko deviated from Grischuk's 15.e5 (played at the Russian Team Championship in April this year) but instead played 15.Bd6. But, Gelfand wouldn't be Gelfand if he wasn't prepared for that move as well. He defended accurately and was even clearly better in the final position.

Gelfand himself played 9.Be2 in all his games. After 9...Bb7

he tried the move 10.0-0 once, in the third match game. For a long time the two followed a game Harikrishna-Sandipan played this year in the USA: 10...Nbd7 11. Ne5 Bg7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bd6 a6 14. a4 b4 15. Bxb4 Qb6 16. Ba3 Qxd4 17. Qc2 c5 18. Rad1 Qe5 19. Bxc4 Qc7

Here Gelfand played the novelty 20.Ne2 (instead of 20.Bb5) but Leko drew relatively easily.

Three times Gelfand went for 10.h4 and these games were theoretically most important, as after 10... g4 11. Ne5 Rg8 12. Bxg4 Nbd7 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. Bf3

Leko had prepared the new move 14...c5!? and he played it all three times. It's probably OK for Black, but practically speaking it proved dangerous, as Gelfand won this theoretical fight 2.5-0.5. Interestingly, Leko only scored a win in the one 1.e4 game of the match. He managed to beat his opponent in a Petroff.

Miskolc Rapid 2010 | Final Score

Miskolc Rapid 2010 | Final Score

Game viewer

Game viewer by ChessTempo


The players at the closing ceremony...


...where they received vases especially made for the occasion

Photos © Gabor Veroci, more here


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


tulasi's picture

hi chess lovers

Felix's picture

Hi Chessvibes team :)

I already wrote it, but again, why don't you use the diagrams from "Aquarium"? They don't need photoshop editing, are smaller in file size and look better...

Aquarium should run with Wine on a Mac, if you don't have Aquarium yet, I would trade it against a chess vibes openings subscription :)

Mauricio Valdes's picture

Has Leko ever won any of this matches?

Peter Doggers's picture

Check the second paragraph. ;-)

WGIFM's picture

Today an interview with Leko saw daylight at a Hungarian website. Leko pointed out that he played too many tournaments in the past years, and now he is in a dire need for rest and relaxation, which he will do after the Olympics.
So we will not see him at any tournaments till the second half of 2011.
He talked about his feelings dropping out from the top 10, and his GP experiences as well.

heddy's picture

The golden era of Leko has been over. We need another Hungarian hero.

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