COMING HOME on Wednesday to write this, I fear rather subdued, column, I stopped off to watch an "eruption" of the volcano at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. But the bangs and whizzes were as nothing compared to the bloodshed earlier in the day in the Emperor's Ballroom in Caesars Palace.

All five English players had had decisive results on Tuesday: Short, Adams and Miles won; Sadler and I lost. Tony Miles, who started with a splendid win as Black against Michal Krasenkow, lost as White, so they are to play off, starting at 3pm - 11pm London time - on Thursday.

Boris Gelfand vs Jon Speelman (to move)

My tournament started to unravel in this position where I played the planned and crass 18 ...Qe5?? The idea is that after 19 Bxe5 Rxc2 20 Bg3 Rxb2 - when 21 Rac1!? still gives good compensation for the pawn(s) - but, of course, as soon as my hand had left the piece I saw 19 Rd8+! Rxd8 20 Bxe5 Nxe5 21 Qxe4, and although I fought on for more than 30 moves, the end result was inevitable.

One of the matches of the round saw Alexei Shirov pitted against Bosnian Ivan Sokolov. Sokolov won excellently in the first game below but then Shirov fought back as Black so they also were playing off yesterday.

Shirov's rook jump to a5 turned out to be too creative and Sokolov massed on the e file then crashed through. At the end 48 Ke1 Nc2+ 49 Kd2 Bf4+ 50 Kd1 Re1 is mate.

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Ivan Sokolov

Las Vegas 1999

(Round 2 Game 1)

Petroff Defence

The Smith & Williamson British Championship, with three of its 11 rounds played, is taking shape. Emms, Lalic, Wells, Gormally and Ward had three points ahead of Hodgson, Conquest, Rowson, Pert, Lane, Turner, and the Indians Kunte, Saravanan and Thipsay, on 21/2.

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nf6

3 Nxe5 d6

4 Nf3 Nxe4

5 d4 d5

6 Bd3 Nc6

7 0-0 Be7

8 Re1 Bg4

9 c4 Nf6

10 Nc3 0-0

11 cxd5 Nxd5

12 h3 Be6

13 a3 Bf6

14 Ne4 Bf5

15 Qb3 Nb6

16 d5 Bxe4

17 Bxe4 Ne7

18 Be3 Nec8

19 Rac1 Nd6

20 Bb1 Qd7

21 Rc5 g6

22 Rec1 Rac8

23 Nd4 a6

24 Ba2 Rfe8

25 Qd3 Ne4

26 Ra5 Qd6

27 b4 Be5

28 Nf3 Bb2

29 Rc2 Bg7

30 Bc5 Qd7

31 Bb3 Rcd8

32 Be3 Qd6

33 Rac5 Rd7

34 Nd2 Nf6

35 Nc4 Nxc4

36 Bxc4 Ne4

37 Ra5 Rde7

38 Bb3 Be5

39 Ba4 Bh2+

40 Kf1 Ng3+

41 Ke1 b5

42 Rc6 Qe5

43 d6 cxd6

44 Rcxa6 Nf5

45 Bxb5 Nxe3

46 Bxe8 Qa1+

47 Kd2 Qb2+


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