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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Grandmaster Wins Against Hungarian Challenger

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Russian chess grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik wrapped up a 12 rapid-games chess tournament Monday, winning 7-5 against Hungarian challenger Peter Leko by drawing in the last two games.

"I knew at the start that it would be a difficult series, it was a battle of equally strong players," Kramnik, 25, said after the last game.

"Peter was as strong as (Garry) Kasparov," he said, referring to his match against the official World Chess Champion last November.

Kramnik then defeated Kasparov, although not under the auspices of FIDE, the International Chess Federation. Nevertheless, he's been widely regarded as the new world champion.

Both of Monday's games ended in a draw. In the first, Leko, 21, playing black, tried the Benoni defense, a novelty in this series, but, after a balanced play, they agreed to a draw in the 37th move.

In the second game. Kramnik played the Sicilian defense, in a slightly different way than Sunday. As there was nothing at stake, after 33 moves they agreed to a draw, and the battle was over.

"It was an excellent warmup for the super tournament in Wijk-aan-Zee in the Netherlands later this month, where the elite of the chess world will compete, including Kramnik, Leko and Kasparov," chess writer Peter Szilagyi said.

The two grandmasters played from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8 at the elegant Kempinski Hotel in downtown Budapest.

Each day they played two games, with an hour's break. Each player had 25 minutes playing time in each game. The prize money was not disclosed.

"Although classical chess is the real thing, where one can earn world list points, it's very important to practice rapid games," Leko said at the closing press conference.

"I'm very happy to have had the chance to play against the reigning world champion," he said, trying to ignore the fact that Kasparov is the official world champion.