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I AM commencing battle today in a 10-player all-play-all in the Swedish town of Katrineholm, about an hour west of Stockholm. What a joy! All-play-alls of 14, 16 or even more players used to be the norm. But nowadays suitable ones are few and far between, the more so, so close to home.

Play is taking place from today until 20 May with a single rest day, and the list I've seen gives in rating order: Alexei Fedorov (Belarus), Ulf Andersson (Sweden), Ildar Ibragimov (Russia), myself, Viktor Gavrikov (Lithuania) and five more Swedes: Pia Cramling, Lars Karlsson, Peter Laveryd, Patrik Lyrberg, and Emanuel Berg - which gives an average of 2,518.

Although the powerful Alexei Fedorov, currently rated 2,648, is clear favourite, much the most singular player in the field is Ulf Andersson (currently 2,623). The extraordinary thing about him is his extreme allergy to avoiding weaknesses by retreating - indeed Ulf often appears to have not just a back rank but one or even two behind!

Although he is more than ready to jump out at the right moment and has almost legendary endgame technique, particularly when there are rooks and knights on the board, Ulf's careful style leads to a high proportion of draws (against me he has one win and more than a dozen draws without defeat). But he is certainly not more than "Mostly Harmless." Witness this miniature.

12.Nd5 initiated a disastrous sequence and 15.b4? was a blunder - 15.Qxa5 was still fairly reasonable. 16...Nd4! refuted White's play.

1 e4 c5

2 Nc3 Nc6

3 g3 g6

4 Bg2 Bg7

5 d3 d6

6 Be3 e6

7 Qd2 Qa5

8. Nf3 Nd4

9. 0-0 Bd7

10 a3 Ne7

11 Bh6 0-0

12 Nd5 Nec6

13 Ne7+ Kh8

14 Bxg7+ Kxg7

15 b4 Nxf3+

16 Bxf3 Nd4

17 Bd1 Qd8

18 c3 Nb5

19 bxc5 Qxe7

White resigns