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YOU SLOW down as you get older - as Anatoly Karpov is discovering to his cost in his Rapidplay match against Judit Polgar in Budapest.

In the first game, Karpov drew with the white pieces, unable to make anything of a minute opening advantage. In the second game, he blundered into time trouble. In the third, he was half-way through a positional masterpiece - having improved slightly on his play in game one then manoeuvred brilliantly in a long endgame to reach a probable winning position - when he overstepped the time limit. Game four was a draw, leaving Karpov 3- 1 behind. He now needs to win both the last two games to salvage a draw from the match.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Karpov's great rival Garry Kasparov is doing rather better in his curious match with Veselin Topalov in which the players are allowed to use computers to assist their thoughts. It would be interesting to know just what Fritz 5 and Genius 7 whispered to Kasparov in the opening game of the match, but after this defeat, he seems to have been listening to them rather less. His play in the first game seems rather experimental, to say the least. With wins in games two and four, and a draw in game three, Kasparov now leads by 21/2-11/2.

White: Veselin Topalov

Black: Garry Kasparov

Game One, Leon 1998

Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 23 Bd5 Rbf8

2 Nf3 Nc6 24 Nf1 Ne7

3 d4 cxd4 25 Nce3 Nxd5

4 Nxd4 Nf6 26 Nxd5 fxe4

5 Nc3 e5 27 Qxe4 Qxe4

6 Ndb5 d6 28 fxe4 R6f7

7 Bg5 a6 29 Rxa5 Bg4

8 Na3 b5 30 Rda1 Be6

9 Nd5 Be7 31 Nfe3 Bxe3+

10 Bxf6 Bxf6 32 Nxe3 Bxb3

11 c3 Bg5 33 c4 Rc8

12 Nc2 0-0 34 Rc1 Rb7

13 a4 bxa4 35 Ra6 Rb4

14 Rxa4 a5 36 Rxd6 Ba4

15 Bc4 Rb8 37 Re6 Rb3

16 b3 Kh8 38 Nd5 Bb5

17 0-0 Bd7 39 Re7 Ba6

18 Qd3 f5 40 c5 Rf8

19 Ra2 g6 41 h4 Bd3

20 f3 Bh6 42 Rd7+ Kf6

21 Rd1 Qh4 43 Rxe5 resigns

22 Nde3 Rf6