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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kramnik Leads Against Leko After Day 3

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Hungarian chess grandmaster Peter Leko narrowed the gap between him and his Russian opponent, Vladimir Kramnik, by winning the first match and drawing in the second Thursday in their battle of twelve rapid matches.

Kramnik, also a grandmaster, now leads 3.5-2.5 after the first half of the tournament.

Kramnik, who defeated Garry Kasparov last November, is regarded by many as the reigning chess world champion.

In the first match, Kramnik, 25, playing the white pieces, started with the hedgehog pawn formation of the English opening, but lost in the 44th move in what was an easy victory for the Hungarian.

"I was a litte slow, I overlooked a few things, and those, together with Peter playing excellently, added to my defeat," Kramnik said at a press conference after Thursday's matches.

In the second match, Leko, 21, playing white, started with the Vienna opening. However, it did not prove successful, and the two players agreed to a draw after the 40th move.

"Both openings were new in this tournament, and the Vienna opening has never been played between these two players before," chess expert Peter Szilagyi said. "Leko this time wanted to avoid opening with a well-known formula."

"It may have been a wrong idea to open with the Vienna opening in Budapest," Leko said tongue-in-cheek at the news conference.

Like Kramnik, Leko is regularly taking part in international chess tournaments

The Budapest series will be continued on Saturday.