THE LAST round of the Goodricke Open in Calcutta takes place today. It has been consistently exciting, with plenty of bloodshed - much of it, refreshingly, in clashes between the top players, who sometimes agree canny draws and concentrate their fire on weaker opposition.

The top seed Alexei Fedorov from Belarus started with three straight wins but was stopped in his tracks by the second seed, Victor Bologan from Moldavia. He then continued though with five further straight wins, to lead with a massive 8/9 with two rounds to go.

In an obscure side line, Bolgan was able to sacrifice a piece for no fewer than four pawns while forcing off the queens.

21 ...hxg6 would have been even worse because Black then has no potential play against the f3 pawn and White can still play h4-h5, intending to answer ...gxh5 with g5!.

Though an expert on the Dragon, Fedorov didn't know about the line, while Bologan with 23 Bc5! was in fact improving on a game between Topalov and Tiviakov in Polonica Zdroj 1995, in which after 23 Nb7 Bc8 24 Nc5 Rc6 25 h3 g5! 26 Rhd1 Ng8! 27 Rf2 Rh6 Black got counterplay and quickly drew.

23 ...Ng8 would lose to 24 Nf5! gxf5 25 Bxf8 Bxf8 26 Rxd7 but after 24 Nc4 Bologan was in time to force the rook from the dangerous file.

With 28 ...Bxa4, Fedorov captured a vital pawn but got his pieces in a tangle. In time trouble, Bologan forced repetition with 32 Kc1 and then moved in for the kill.

Of course, if 37 ...Rxb6 38.Nf7 is mate. Bologan took several minutes over the forced 44 Nf7+ to check everything. At the end, Black loses at least a rook.

White: Victor Bologan

Black: Alexei Fedorov

Sicilian Dragon

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 d6

3 d4 cxd4

4 Nxd4 Nf6

5 Nc3 g6

6 Be3 Bg7

7 f3 0-0

8 Qd2 Nc6

9 Bc4 Bd7

10 0-0-0 Na5

11 Be2 Rc8

12 Kb1 Nc4

13 Bxc4 Rxc4

14 g4 b5

15 b3 Rc8

16 Ndxb5 Qa5

17 a4 a6

18 Nd5 Qxd2

19 Nxe7+ Kh8

20 Rxd2 Rce8

21 Nxg6+ fxg6

22 Nxd6 Re6

23 Bc5! Bc6

24 Nc4 Rb8

25 Rd6 Rxd6

26 Bxd6 Rd8

27 Be7 Rb8

28 Rd1 Bxa4

29 Bd6 Rb7

30 Na5 Rb5

31 Bc7 Ng8

32 Kc1 Bh6+

33 Kb1 Bg7

34 Rd3 Rc5

35 Bb6 Rb5

36 Nc4 Rb4

37 Nd6! Nf6

38 Ba5 Rb8

39 Bc7 Rb4

40 Ka2 Bb5

41 c4 Bc6

42 e5 Nd7

43 e6 Ne5

44 Nf7+ Nxf7

45 exf7 h5

46 Rd8+ Kh7

47 Be5 Rb7

48 f8Q Bxf8

49 Rxf8 Kh6

50 h4 hxg4

51 fxg4 Rh7

52 Rg8! 1-0