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The Independent Culture
MICHAEL Adams will today contest the final of the Interpolis tournament in Tilburg, the Netherlands, against Boris Gelfand. For a player still three weeks away from his 21st birthday, Adams has a superbly calm temperament, ideally suited to the knock-out matches of this event. While all about him have been trying too hard to win, panicking, running into time trouble, and meeting only disaster, Adams has kept his head.

His success is no doubt helped by the fact that everyone is afraid of Adams's skill at rapid chess; they are over-eager to finish the match in two games, before it goes into quick- mode play-offs. But the Adams equanimity also works at a slow rate, as his semi-final victory against Ilya Smirin shows.

The opening was not entirely satisfactory for White: 8. a3 is a nice trick, ignoring the attack on the knight since 8 . . . Qxd49. Be3 traps the black queen; but when Adams played 9. Nb3 anyway, the pawn move looked redundant. With h6, h5 and Ng4, Black blocked the k-side and began preparations for his attack on the opposite wing, but Adams combined security and aggression in just the right proportions. Smirin's sacrifice with 24. Rxc3 was dangerous, but not quite good enough. At the end, it was his own king that fell.

White: M Adams Black: I Smirin 1 e4 c5 20 f5 Be5 2 Nf3 d6 21 Qxg4 Qe7 3 d4 cxd4 22 Na5 Ba8 4 Nxd4 Nf6 23 fxg6 fxg6 5 Nc3 a6 24 Bf4 Rxc3 6 f4 e6 25 bxc3 Na4 7 Qf3 Qb6 26 Bxe5 dxe5 8 a3 Nbd7 27 Rd3 0-0 9 Nb3 Qc7 28 Red1 Nc5 10 g4 h6 29 Rd6 Bxe4 11 h4 h5 30 Nc6 Qg7 12 g5 Ng4 31 Qg1 Na4 13 Bd2 b5 32 Rd7 Nxc3+ 14 0-0-0 Bb7 33 Ka1 Rf7 15 Kb1 Rc8 34 Rxf7 Qxf7 16 Be2 g6 35 Rd8+ Kg7 17 Rhe1 Bg7 36 Nxe5 Ne2 18 Qg3 Nb6 37 Qe3 Qf1+ 19 Bxg4 hxg4 38 Kb2 1-0