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LOSING to Nigel Short has not been an entirely bad thing for Anatoly Karpov, who has convincingly won both his tournaments since the accident. Freed from the burden of fighting for the world championship, Karpov has recovered some of the incisiveness that his play had lacked in recent years.

At the weekend he completed his domination of the Biel Grandmasters tournament to finish with points from 14 games. His only hiccup was to lose on time in a winning position at move 115 against Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria. Two pawns ahead in an endgame, Karpov seemed to forget about the clock entirely.

His best win was against Alexei Shirov, who is ranked fourth in the world, in an original attacking game.

With much of White's play apparently geared to obtaining an open diagonal for his bishop on b2, the move 21. Bxe5] is a surprise, but it is the key to the game. Since 22. . .6 would invite a sacrifice with Bxg6, Shirov had to weaken his white squares with h6; but 24. . .5? was an impatient move, cutting off his bishop on b4. The decisive attack with 29. Qg4] (29. . .Rxa7 30. Qe6+ Kh8 31. Qe8 mate) and 30. Rxb7] is most effective. At the end 32. . .Ra1+ 33. Kh2 Qb8+ 34. f4 leaves Black defenceless against the threat of 35. Ng6+ Kh7 36. Ne7+ Kh8 37. Qf5.