Chess: Hungarian youngster's astonishing maturity

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PRODIGIES are definitely getting younger. When Judit Polgar last year beat Bobby Fischer's record for precociousness by becoming a grandmaster at the age of 15, it looked as if that would stand for a long time. Yet it is already in serious danger of being shattered by another prodigy from Hungary.

Peter Leko, 13, has already secured two of the three norms he required for the grandmaster title. In a tournament in Leon, Spain, two months ago, he finished level with Anatoly Karpov, drawing with the former world champion.

Leko's latest result was less impressive, finishing in the middle of a relatively undistinguished grandmaster event in Lippstadt, Germany, but in one game he did display astonishingly mature positional judgment and technique.

In a main line of the Sicilian Defence, Leko followed theory into an endgame considered only marginally in White's favour. Black's 13 . . . Bc6 (when 14. exf6 Qxg5+ loses White a pawn) is supposed to take much of the sting out of 12. e5, leaving White's bishop pair counter-balanced by the vulnerability of his isolated e-pawn. But Leko's subsequent strategy was a perfect exploitation of his Q-side pawn majority.

With one rook defending the e-pawn, and the bishops supporting, at long range, the advancing pawns, while also keeping Black's rook from becoming active on the d-file, he combined restriction of his opponent's possibilities with exploitation of his own advantages.

At the end, Black is a pawn up but helpless. After 34 . . . Rd1 35. Rxd1 Bxd1 36. Bxa7, the two connected passed pawns decide matters, while other moves allow Rxa5, followed by the capture of the a7-pawn.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Leko ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: Brenke ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 18 Qxc5 Nxc5 2 Nf3 Nc6 19 Be3 Nd7 3 d4 cxd4 20 Bf2 Rfc8 4 Nxd4 Nf6 21 Bf1 Nf8 5 Nc3 d6 22 b3 Ng6 6 Bg5 e6 23 Rd2 Rd8 7 Qd2 Be7 24 c4 Rxd2 8 0-0-0 Nxd4 25 Kxd2 Rd8+ 9 Qxd4 0-0 26 Kc3 b6 10 f4 Qa5 27 g3 Rd7 11 Bc4 Bd7 28 b4 Kf8 12 e5 dxe5 29 b5 Bf3 13 fxe5 Bc6 30 a4 Ke8 14 Bd2 Nd7 31 a5 bxa5 15 Nd5 Qd8 32 Bd4 Ne7 16 Nxe7+ Qxe7 33 Ra1 Nf5 17 Rhe1 Qc5 34 Bf2 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------