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WHEREAS CARBON, in the shape of diamonds, is reputed to be a girl's best friend, silicon, in the mighty presence of Hiarchs 7.32, hit it off big with

Viswanathan Anand in Len in Spain last week.

This new version of Hiarchs, programmed by the Englishman Mark Uniacke, was the analytical engine Anand chose to help him in his crushing 5-1 victory against Anatoly Karpov in their "Advanced Chess" match from 11 to 13 June.

This was the successor to Garry Kasparov's hard-fought three-all draw with Veselin Topalov a year ago (Kasparov eventually won a humans-only blitz play-off game). The organisers had hoped to have Kasparov back, but had to find a replacement after a very public row. So eager were they to engage Karpov, it's been reported that they paid him Kasparov's fee - twice as much as Anand. But while Anand is utterly at home with computers (I've never seen anybody else operate ChessBase at anything like the speed), Karpov - and I guess that this is partly just a generational thing - is quite the opposite: a "Luddite" who reportedly prefers to play through forthcoming opponents' games from a computer print-out, rather than zapping through them on screen.

Each player had identical hardware in the shape of a Compaq 400Mhz PC and a large database for use with ChessBase: but they could choose between Hiarchs, Junior 5, Nimzo99 and Fritz. And given the disparity in computer savvy, not to mention raw playing strength (of the two human beings) nowadays, it's little reflection on Karpov's choice, the Dutchman Frans Morsch's Fritz 5.32, that he was so soundly thrashed. Indeed Anand got a plus score all three days, winning all three odd-numbered games when he was Black, and also his final White in game six.

This is the first game. Karpov somewhat inadvisedly sacrificed a pawn - machines are especially good at holding material advantages. 9 Ne5 is necessary but Anand and friend emerged with a small, pleasant advantage. I expected 16 Bg5!? though h6 17 Bxf6 Qxf6 18 Qxf6 gxf6 19 Rd2 Rfb8 20 Rb1 f5!? 21 exf5 exf5 is still better for Black.

19 f4 prevents ...Ne5 but is very ugly. Anand got a big endgame advantage and converted it smoothly.

White: Anatoly Karpov

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Catalan Opening