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VLADIMIR AKOPIAN showed excellent technique in a hard rook ending to level the score against Alexander Khalifman at 1.5-all at the halfway stage of the Fide world championship final in Las Vegas on Tuesday before the rest day yesterday. Combat resumes today, as always, at 11pm London time.

Meanwhile, there has been plenty of action elsewhere, including the Mind Sports Olympiad at Olympia in London.

The Mind Sports, which started last weekend and runs until Sunday, features a whole gamut of different competitions of which the more familiar range from backgammon, bridge, Chinese chess, Countdown, creative thinking (set, incidentally, by William Hartston), cribbage, crossword solving, diplomacy, dominoes, Mastermind, draughts, Go, memory skills, mental calculation, Othello, poker, ouiz, Scrabble, Shogi, speed reading, chess problem solving - won by John Nunn - and chess itself.

The chess is divided into a variety of different competitions so that last weekend John Nunn won the 10-minute competition on Saturday and Julian Hodgson the five-minute competition; on Sunday David Norwood won both.

The main events are the Olympiad Championship, a 15-round quickplay (30 minutes a game) running from Monday to Friday in which Keith Arkell led with 5.5/6 rounds and later 7/8; and the MSO Masters, a 92-player nine- round Swiss, in which after four rounds Psakhis, Smirin, Ibragimov, Baburin, Golod and myself were first equal on 3.5.

In the absence of bulletins, I'm resorting to my own game.

Colin Crouch

Jon Speelman (white to play)

Black had just wrongly played 33 ...Ke7-f8?, probably the losing error - 33 ...Qd6 was tougher. The game concluded:

35 Kf3 was more sensible to keep some cover. If 39 ...Qf4 40 Qxc6 Qxf3+ 41 Ke11 escapes the checks or 39 ...Ke8 40 Be6! is murder. The bishop ending seems quite won. If 51 ...Bxc2 52 Kxc2 Kc6 53 Kd3 Kxc5 54 Kc3 White wins the pawn ending. 62 ...Kb7 was tougher though 63 Kd4 Kc6 64 Bc8 Kc7 65 Be6 Kc6 66 Bf5 puts Black into zugzwang, e.g. 66 ...Bf1 (or 66 ...Bd1 67 a6) 67 Bd3 Bh3 68 a6. At the end 67 ...Bg2 68 Bd7 Bf3 69 Bc6 is simple.

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34 Qc5+ Ke8

35 f3?! Kd8

36 g4 Qe8

37 Kf2 Qd7

38 Bf5 Qc7

39 Kf1 Be8

40 Qxd5+ Ke7

41 Qc5+ Qxc5

42 dxc5 Kd8

43 Kf2 Kc7

44 Ke3 Bf7

45 Kd4 Bb3

46 Be4 Bd1

47 c4 bxc4

48 Kxc4 Bb3+

49 Kc3 Bd1

50 Kd2 Bb3

51 Bc2 Bd5

52 Bxa4 Bxf3

53 Bd1 Be4

54 Bc2! Bf3

55 Bf5 Kc6

56 Ke3 Bd1

57 Kd4 Bb3

58 Kc3 Bd1

59 Kb4 Bf3

60 a4 Be2

61 a5 Kc7

62 Kc3 Bd1?!

63 a6 Bf3

64 Kd4 Kb8

65 c6! Bxc6

66 Kc5 Bf3

67 Kb6

Black resigns