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THE TOP group in the Biel Chess Festival finished on Thursday 29 July in victory for Jeroen Piket after a tremendous struggle.

After Viktor Bologan first broke from the pack with 2/2 there were no fewer than four changes of clear leader before the close. The final scores were Piket 7/10, Avrukh 6.5, Onischuk 6, Bologan 5, Pelletier 3.5 and Bunzmann 2. Unusually for such a strong event - average 2,594 (category 14) - 17 of the 30 games were decisive, with everybody losing at least once and everyone except Piket at least twice!

In a trendy line of the Ruy Lopez, Bologan's 10 Re1 was unusual and I already don't greatly like his game after 12 Nxd4. If 13 Nxc6 Qd7 14 Bxf6 Qxc6 15 Bd4 Rb8! is unpleasant. 15 f3 looked safer, though perhaps Black will get in ...d5.

18 ...Nd5 was splendid but White certainly shouldn't have taken the queen, after which Black, with a completely safe king and huge pressure against the centre, looks almost winning - and Piket soon crashed through.

White: Viktor Bologan

Black: Jeroen Piket

Ruy Lopez

Harriet Hunt held Julian Hodgson to a well-merited and hard-fought draw in round two of the Smith & Williamson British Championship at Scarborough. Those players with two points include John Emms, Stuart Conquest, Bogdan Lalic, Matthew Turner, Peter Wells, Daniel Gormally, Chris Ward, Akhijit Kunte, Keith Arkell, Ziaur Rahman, Robert Shaw, Simon Williams and Venkatachal Saravanan.

There were mixed British results in the first game of round two in the Fide Knockout World Chess Championship at Las Vegas

Nigel Short won with white against Daniel Fridman; Tony Miles won with black against Michael Krasenkow; and Michael Adams, also black, won against Mihail Kobalija; while with black Matthew Sadler lost to Karen Asrian and I lost to Boris Gelfand.

One surprise was from Alexander Shirov, who lost to Ivan Sokolov with the white pieces. In the round, White won 14 and lost five of the total of 32 games.

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bb5 Nf6

4 0-0 Bc5

5 c3 0-0

6 d4 Bb6

7 Bg5 h6

8 Bh4 d6

9 a4 a5

10 Re1 exd4

11 Bxc6 bxc6

12 Nxd4 Re8

13 Nd2 c5

14 Nc2 Bb7

15 f4?! c4+

16 Nd4 Rb8

17 Re3 Ba8

18 Qc2 (see diagram)

18 ...Nd5!!

19 Bxd8?! Nxe3

20 Qb1 Rbxd8

21 h3 f5

22 Qa2 Bxe4

23 Nxc4 Bd5

24 b3 Bxd4

25 cxd4 Nxg2

26 Qf2 Re6

27 Nxa5 Rde8

28 Nc4 Rg6

29 Kh2 Nxf4

30 Rg1 Rxg1 0-1