After a ferocious battle, the struggle for first place eventually resolved itself into a straight fight between Leko and Viswanathan Anand, who started the last round on eight and 7.5 respectively, with Veselin Topalov on seven - the only other player who by that stage had an academic chance of sharing first.
Last rounds of big events often feature a number of tired and respectful draws. Indeed, here there was just one decisive game - a well-played win by Loek Van Wely against Nigel Short - while four of the games, including Leko's as White against Judit Polgar, were drawn in 24 moves or less.
Leko then had to wait for several hours while Anand, who had won a pawn against Ivan Sokolov at the cost of an extremely bad bishop, attempted to unravel his pieces. In the end, however, Sokolov forced the draw.
The final scores were: Leko on 8.5/13; Anand on 8; Topalov on 7.5; Polgar, Grischuk, Adams and Kramnik on 7; Van Wely, Ponomariov and Bruzon on 6.5; Svidler on 6; Short on 5.5; Morozevich on 4.5 and Sokolov on 3.5.
After his victory, Leko gave a very interesting press conference, at which he explained that "there is only one way to win here in Wijk aan Zee: you have to beat Vishy. He will win four or five games, so you have to win against him if you want to win here..."
Since Kramnik lost in 20 moves against Topalov the same day that Leko beat Anand, I failed to give the game at the time: but here now is the decisive moment:
Viswanathan Anand (to play) vs Peter Leko
After long thought, Anand blundered with 26.Ba6?. The game continued Bxg2 27.Bc4+ Kh8 28.Ra6 Qc5 29.Kxg2 f3+ 30.Kh1 Qxc4 31.Rc6 Qb5 32.Rd6 e4 33.Rxd4 Bxd4 34.Qxd4+ Qe5 35.Qxe5+ Rxe5 and, despite some technical problems, Leko converted 22 moves later.
Anand had seen 26...Bxg2! but believed that 27.Qb3+ was a defence, overlooking the fact that, after Bd5! 28.Nxd5 Rxa7, there is no good discovery.
If 28.Rxe7 Qg6, 29.Re6 Bf6! is curtains immediately.Reuse content