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The Independent Culture
Anyone who likes watching old men beating young women, or vice versa, should rush down to the Park Lane Hilton where the most civilised tournament in the chess calendar is currently taking place.

Every year, in a different country, the Dutch chess sponsor Joop van Oosterom runs a match between a team of veteran males and the best women players in the world. And to add to the general tone of jollity, he names each event after a national dance of the host country. Last year it was the "Polka tournament" in Prague, now it is the "Foxtrot" in London.

The women's team is missing the two best female players in the world - Judit and Zsuzsa Polgar, but led by the former women's world champion Xie Jun and Pia Cramling - who was perhaps the first woman player to prove that unisex chess can work - the women's team should be a match for the veterans.

The men are led by two world champions: Boris Spassky, now in his 60th year, and Vassily Smyslov, who recently celebrated his 75th birthday. The other three players are all former world title candidates: Lajos Portisch, Mark Taimanov and Vlastimil Hort who, at 52, is the baby of the bunch.

In the first round, the men, playing White in all the games, notched up two wins and three draws. One of the wins produced a real oddity - an illegal move that was not noticed until after the game was over. Under the laws of chess, such a move can only be retracted if discovered while the game is still in progress. So in this case it stood, as you will see if you play through the moves. Black's 28...Bxc8 left her king in check, but both players were so short of time, they continued rattling out their moves quite oblivious of the illegality.

White: Vlastimil Hort

Black: Nana Joseliana

Queen's Gambit Declined

1 c4 e6 19 Bxg6 hxg6

2 d4 d5 20 Nh4 Qc5

3 Nc3 e6 21 Rxg6+ Kf8

4 e4 dxe4 22 Qg3 Ke7

5 Nxe4 Bb4 23 Rg7 Qxc4+

6 Bd2 Bxd2 24 Kb1 Rf8

7 Qxd2 Nf6 25 Ng6+ Kd8

8 Nxf6 Qxf6 26 Nxf8 Nb4

9 Nf3 0-0 27 Qb8+ Qc8

10 0-0-0 c5 28 Qxc8+ Bxc8

11 dxc5 Na6 29 Rxf7 Ke8

12 Qe3 Qe7 30 Rxf6 Ke7

13 Bd3 Nxc5 31 Rf4 e5

14 Bc2 f6 32 Rxb4 Kxf8

15 Rd5 Na6 33 Rd8+ Kf7

16 Rh5 g6 34 Rxc8 a6

17 Rh6 Rf7 35 Rxb7+ 1-0

18 Rd1 Bd7

Today is a free day in the tournament, but it resumes tomorrow and continues every day until 26 August (except the 23rd). Play begins each day at 2pm at the Park Lane Hilton. Spectators are welcome and there is no charge for admittance.

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