Peter Leko, Hungary has been in the elite this decade with 4th as his highest ranking. In our encounter in the final round of Tal Memorial today, he played 1.e4 and I went for a Sicilian Najdorf variation as black. After the opening he had an initiative, but then passed up a couple of opportunities to develop the initiative further.
He exchanged queens and tried to exploit a slight initiative in the rooks and bishop endgame. After equalising I found an interesting rook move to test him in his ensuing time trouble. He made several less than optimal choices, and the drawish endgame turned into a winning position for me. Having lost three times with black to Peter in 2007 and 2008, the statistics has improved with my white win in Nanjing and today.s victory with black.
Prior to the tournament I was quite optimistic despite the strong set-up, but had to adjust my ambitions having had to struggle just to make draws in most rounds. Consequently I.m really satisfied having won the last two games and climbed to shared second together with V.Ivanchuk with 5.5 points. We ended half a point behind the winner V.Kramnik who deserves praise for his outright victory based on strong opening preparation and many good games.
I.ve also been informed that I.m back at the no 1 spot at the live rating list (2806). Things may change prior to the next official list (January 1st 2010) as both Kramnik and I will play in London in December. But it sure is nice to end the tournament this way.
Magnus Carlsen