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MICHAEL ADAMS completed one of the greatest triumphs of his career on Saturday from the sidelines, as Vladimir Kramnik not only failed to beat Veselin Topalov in the last round of the Dos Hermanas tournament near Seville and so catch Adams, but even went some way towards losing.

This extraordinary situation arose because the Fide world champion Anatoly Karpov, who, due to a no doubt immensely important simultaneous display in France, had arranged to play his last-round game in this, at an average of 2,698 the 10th-highest-rated tournament of all time, in advance on the last rest day - potentially disadvantaging not only himself but also his opponent, who was Michael Adams.

Still, all's well that ends well and many congratulations to Michael, who sailed through unbeaten with three wins and six draws for a final score of 6/9, ahead of Kramnik 5.5, Topalov and Illescas 5, Gelfand and Karpov 4.5, Korchnoi 4 and Judit Polgar, Svidler and (amazingly) Anand on 3.5.

Adams's admirably smooth play steered him clear of almost all danger except possibly in this chaotic game - his third win. In the opening 18 Qf3 was an attempted improvement over 18 a4 which Anand had tried against Adams in round two without great success.

Taking a second pawn with 19 Bxd5?! cxd5 20 Qxd5 Rb8 would be very risky. 24 Re6! induced Adams's unclear piece sacrifice. If 25 Rxf6 Bxd1 26 Rxd6 Rae8 27 Ne4 Bf3 28 Qh2 Qxh2+ 29 Kxh2 Rf5 30 Bxf4 Rxf4 31 Kg3 Ref8 looks fine for Black but 27 Nf3! may be an improvement when if 27 ...Ne5 28 Nxe5 Rxe5 29 Qh2!; or 27 ...Re2 28 Bd2 Nxf2! 29 Kf1!! (not 29 Qxf2? Qg4+ 30 Kf1 Rxf2+ 31 Kxf2 Qg3+ winning) 29 ...Rfe8 30 Re1 Nh1 31 Rxe2 Ng3+ 32 Qxg3 fxg3 33 Rxe8+ Qxe8 34 Kg2 White should win.

36 Qd1? was the crucial error. Instead after 36 Kg1! Black can force a draw with 36 ...Nf3+ 37 Kg2 Nh2 but the attempt to win with 36 ...f3 is dubious after 37 Nxg3 f2+ 38 Kg2 f1Q+ 39 Qxf1! Rxf1 40 Nxh5 Re2+ 41 Kh3 Rxb2 42 Rxf1 Nxf1 43 Rxc6 with good winning chances. If 40 Kf2 Ng4+ 41 Kf1 Ne3+ 42 Ke1 f2+ 43 Ke2 Nxd1 wins. At the end, White runs out of checks after 46 Rh4+ (or 46 Ng5+ Kh6) 46 ...Kg6 47 Rg4+ Kh5 48 Rg5+ Kh4.

White: Judit Polgar

Black: Michael Adams

Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit