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Kramnik, Leko split point

BRISSAGO (SWITZERLAND), SEPT. 27. Defending champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Peter Leko of Hungary drew their second game in the Dannemann World classical chess championship here on Sunday. The Russian leads the 14-game match 1.5-0.5, riding on his brilliant win with black pieces in the opening encounter on Saturday.

Though the second game — a closed Ruy Lopez — lasted only 18 moves, it was not a drab draw, as Leko, the challenger trying to recover from his loss with white pieces on day one, opted for a double-edged line. Kramnik gave a pawn — a temporary sacrifice — on the 15th move before offering a draw three moves later, following the exchange of the light-squared bishops. White had no obvious advantage at the stage and the proposal to split the point was indeed the wise thing for him to do.

Kramnik, ranked No. 3 in the world behind compatriot Gary Kasparov and India's Viswanathan Anand, needs only to draw the match to retain the title he won in London in 2000. He could not have hoped for a better beginning to his title defence than the one he had on Saturday, as he sacrificed his queen in a 65-move victory from Petroff's Defence. — Our Sports Reporter

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