South Africa's IM Kobese gives Hungary's Leko a scare!

South Africa

IM Watu Kobese has participated in three World Championship tournaments. In each encounter he faced formidable opponents and failed to win a point. However, this time it would be different. The South African IM (2396) was paired with Hungarian GM Peter Leko, seeded fifth and rated 2739. Watu knew Leko would be tough to beat and many simply chalked up an easy match win for Leko. However, in the second game of the match, IM Kobese shocked the chess world by totally outplaying the Hungarian phenom.

Word went around that this upset was only second to
GM Viswanathan Anand's loss in the first game to IM Olivier Touzane of France. The game started out quietly with a Caro-Kann before turning into a sharp battle. The ever-alert IM Kobese sacrificed the exchange with 23. Rxd7! That move sent Leko reeling and he never recovered. IM Kobese would get a bind on the light squares and tighten the pressure like a vice after which Leko's position collapsed.

IM Watu Kobese of South Africa

IM Watu Kobese

Perhaps Leko decided to take the determined South African more seriously and proceeded to win the tiebreaker and advance to the next round. Despite  losing the match, Kobese proved two things: (1) never count him out, and (2) that great things can happen if you play the board and not the opponent! See Kobese-Leko

Editor's note: André Schulz of has done an analysis of this game under the title, "How Peter Leko held Watu Kobese to a draw." The article is apparently a light-hearted attempt at chess humor, but it may be ill-timed. In no way should the hard-earned efforts of IM Watu Kobese be made a trivial matter. He played well and deserves to be commended.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 29 November 2001