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The Independent Culture
WITH THE attention of the chess world mainly focused on the Fide world championship in Las Vegas while we in England are also nearing the end of the British Championships, another major event is slipping away almost unnoticed: the Women's World Championship.

The 16-game match between the former champion Xie Jun from China and the Russian Alisa Galliamova is divided between the city of Kazan on the Volga in which eight games have already been played, finishing on 7 August at four all; and Shenyang in Manchuria where play will start on 15 August and end on 23 August.

With Anatoly Karpov already threatening to take Fide to the "Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne", the women's match too may lead to legal action, though I have infinitely more sympathy for Zsuzsa Polgar.

After her victory against Xie Jun in Jaen in Spain in 1996, Polgar delayed starting a family in 1998, since a title defence was due, but when the match did not materialise she went ahead. Her son Tom was born in February. She then requested that her defence be held for at least six months, but Fide refused, and stripped her of her title.

These two are closely matched in age and rating - Xie, who will be 29 in October, is rated 2,528, while Galliamova, 27, is 2,526. They have fought a tough and fluctuating match with Xie Jun twice taking the lead in games two and five and Galliamova equalising in the next game in both cases.

This nice positional game reiterates that while "opposite-coloured bishops" often lead to draws in the endgame, in the prosecution of middlegame attacks they can be utterly ferocious. After Xie created a deadpoint with 22 exd5 she was mercilessly crushed.

White: Xie Jun

Black: Alisa Galliamova

Sicilian Sveshnikov

With a victory against Zia Rahman from Bangladesh, Julian Hodgson brought his score in the Smith & Williamson British Championship to 8/9, extending his lead to a point and a half with two rounds to go. In Las Vegas the quarter-finals started yesterday, with Kramnik vs Adams, Movsesian vs Akopian, Judit Polgar vs Khalifman and Nisipeanu vs Shirov.

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 d4 cxd4

4 Nxd4 Nf6

5 Nc3 e5

6 Ndb5 d6

7 Bg5 a6

8 Na3 b5

9 Nd5 Be7

10 Bxf6 Bxf6

11 c3 Bg5

12 Nc2 0-0

13 g3 Ne7

14 Ncb4 Be6

15 Bg2 a5

16 Nxe7+ Qxe7

17 Nd5 Qb7

18 0-0 b4

19 c4 Rfc8

20 Qd3 a4

21 Rfd1 Bxd5

22 exd5 g6

23 Re1 Qa7

24 Rad1 Rc7

25 Qe2 Rac8

26 Bf1 Rc5

27 Kg2 Qc7

28 f3 f5

29 Qc2 Qd7

30 Bd3 Rb8

31 Qf2 Bf6

32 Kh1 b3

33 a3 Qg7

34 Rb1 Rf8

35 Qd2 Bd8

36 Rf1 Ba5

37 Qg2 Rc7

38 g4 Bb6

39 gxf5 gxf5

40 Qd2 Kh8

41 Rbe1 Rg8

42 Qe2 Qg6

43 h3 Rcg7

44 Qh2 Qh5

45 Be2 Qh4

46 Bd3 e4

47 Bxe4 fxe4 48 Rxe4 Rg1+